I’ve noticed a new theme in my conversations with other young mothers lately. Whether working at the office or working at home, it seems like no mom feels like they are doing the whole “mom” thing as well as they should.
They either feel guilty that they are somehow NOT DOING something a really good mom would be doing (like teaching their children their addition at age 2) or DOING SOMETHING a really good mom would not be doing (like letting their child eat a processed food for lunch). Then they worry that by doing or not doing these things, they will end up creating some major problem for their child in the future.
I’m worried that if I let (fill in the blank) watch Disney princess movies, she will grow up with a warped body image. I’m worried that if I don’t make sure (fill in the blank) eats everything organic and homemade, he will get sick and die of cancer at age 30.
And then sometimes, they don’t even know what the problem will be, they just assume it will end up a problem. “I probably shouldn’t let Jett play with superheroes because….well, I’m not sure why, but it probably isn’t good.”
And the worst part is we all look at each other and say, “How do you do it? I couldn’t do what you do.” And I think, “No, how do YOU do it? You’re such a better mom than me!”
It seems as women, we’ve all got this antiquated, fantastical, inhuman idea of what or who a mom should be. For me, if I’m realistic about what I subconsciously think, mine goes something like this:
Definition: Good mom (noun): a fit and healthy lady who is always happy and full of energy. A women who is able to wake up with children at the crack of dawn and not be cranky. A woman who is able to be up in the middle of the night with a child crying out to you because they wet the bed and feel more than happy to get up and selflessly meet their needs without noticing you are tired (or better yet…not even feel tired in the first place.)
A good mom has the intelligence and desire to be teaching her kids throughout the day, never getting bored with the sometimes monotonous moments of motherhood, and always having a joyful heart even when their child is having their tenth meltdown of the week while their other child is teething with a 103 degree fever.
A good mom is someone who is fine if their whole day doesn’t allow for a moment of alone time and doesn’t ever crave it to start with. A women who always has a clean house and healthy meals on the table. A women who is able to read her bible and exercise before the kids are up then have breakfast hot and ready on the table.
A good mom is someone who can balance work and motherhood without getting stressed. A good mom is someone who is able to remain up-to-date in her profession without starving her kids of attention they desire. blah, blah, blah!
As I write it, I laugh. But in my daily life, I am trying to attain it and feeling guilty when I don’t. And so are all of my friends.
Where in the heck did I develop this definition? I have no idea! But I can tell you something, ladies. It isn’t happening. It’s not realistic. And even if it was, I’m not sure it should be.
So…I encourage all moms to develop their definition of what their ideal super mom looks like then take that piece of paper and go and light a torch to it. Because…if it isn’t realistic, it isn’t doing anything for you.
I am always a person that will desire growth. I am always a person that will like productivity. But what that will look like throughout my life may be different on a day-to-day basis. And I desire to be okay with that. And the same for my friends.
I choose to give myself grace. And be good with offering my heart and mind to God on a daily basis and saying something like this. “Today, Lord. You have my heart and mind. Use my energy to accomplish the things you believe are worthy of my time. Let everything else fall into place when the time is right. Amen.”
So seriously, go out and find your blow torches, and torch those silly ideas. Then kick back and just for practice at letting go of the guilt today…Turn on Spongebob for the little one and hand them at least two different processed foods. Or just enjoy this pic of me spoon-feeding my son ice cream.