The mom I want to be, but Never will be

93 days down, 272 day to go!

Dear Jennifer,

I often feel inadequate as a mom and when I feel this way I  become preoccupied thinking about all the ways that I am not the mom I dream of being, all the ways that I am not the mom I used to be when I had just 1 child vs 4, all the ways that I am not the mom that I think I should be. This preoccupation takes over leaving me mentally unable to focus on my kids in the way they deserve. In other words, when I am in a twit over not being a good enough mom, I quickly become more impatient with my boys which most certainly doesn’t  make me be the mom I want to be. You asked me what some of my triggers are for yelling? Well this preoccupation with being inadequate? It’s one of my biggest triggers.

Thoughts?
The Orange Rhino

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I want to be a mom who wakes up and has time to shower and make herself look not just presentable, but pretty. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never look pulled together with blown dry hair and fashion forward outfits because while I wish to look that way, it isn’t truly that important to me. I will always have my hair in a braid, a hole in my jeans, a two seasons ago shirt and a belt that is well, more than 2 seasons old. And that is OK. Because my kids think I am pretty just the way I am.

I want to be a mom who puts aside her to do list to get down and play on the floor with her boys. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never rough house with them or play freeze tag as much as they like because I much prefer, and take great joy, in watching them play and have fun with each other. And that is OK. Because I will still hug them, kiss them, and tell them how proud and happy I am to see them playing together.

I want to be a mom that knows how to make crazy Lego buildings, how to chase after Dragons, how to play Star Wars. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never build a Lego creation the way my husband does, I will never spontaneously chase after Dragons with a laser or think to build a fort. And that is OK. Because I will make ice cream cones out of play doh with my boys and chase after falling leaves and snowflakes with them.

I want to be a mom who feels like she knows how to be a mom to boys, who doesn’t think that if she had girls she would know how to be a better mother because she would know how to play tea and dolls and do all things girlie. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never be a mom who truly feels she knows how to be a mom to boys and I don’t think I would feel like I knew how to be a mom to girls either, because being a mom is not just about knowing what kind of activities my kids like to do, it is about knowing what makes my boys happy, what makes them sad, how I can help them, how I can protect them. It is a daily learning process and I’ll never know everything about being a mom. And that is OK. Because I do already know how to love my boys, that is one thing I don’t need to learn.

I want to be a mom that plans fun outings ahead of time, that plans playdates, that plans period. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never plan ahead because it overwhelms me and because well, I am not good at managing my ­time. And that is OK. Because I love to stay home and just talk with my kids. I love to ask them questions about their day, to answer their questions, to hear their little conversations.

I want to be a mom that cooks well balanced meals that my pediatrician would approve of. Scratch that. I want to be a mom that cooks anything besides Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken Nuggets. But I will never be that mom. I will probably never consistently cook healthy meals like my mom and my Nana used to. And that is OK. Because someday I will learn how to cook beyond the basics and until then ’ll keep teaching my boys how to bake the “yummiest cookies ever,” remembering the key ingredients are always love and patience.

I want to be a mom that does cute arts and crafts projects more often and remembers to send them to the grandparents. I will never be that mom. I will most likely never do lots of arts and crafts projects that would make Martha Stewart proud because I am too scatterbrained to remember to buy the art materials in the first place. And that is OK. Because when my kids bring their art projects home, I praise them and hang them proudly up on the kitchen wall.

I want to be a mom that reads books more, practices ABC’s more, sings more, dances more, laughs more. I will never be that mom. I will most likely never be able to do all the extra’s because there aren’t enough hours in the day. And that is OK. Because I will do my best and I will enjoy the moments when I do read, dance, and laugh. And as long as my kids feel loved, and have learned what love is and how to love, I am okay if they learn their ABC’s late.

I want to be a mom who doesn’t feel inadequate. Who doesn’t look at her friends and strangers and say, wow, they are great moms, why aren’t I like them? But instead looks at them, and says wow, they are great moms and so am I.

So am I.

I am a good mom.

I might never be the mom I dream of being, but right now I can be the mom that I am. I might not be a lot of things I wish to be, but at the same time, I still am a lot of good things. I didn’t cook a perfectly balanced dinner tonight, but I did manage to not yell at my kids today and I am going to keep trying not to. I didn’t take my kids to the park yesterday, but I did talk with them while on a spontaneous family walk this morning.

You see, I find it so easy, too easy, to look in the mirror and see ALL the reasons why I am not a good mom, why I am not living up to my ridiculous ideal of what a mother should be. This Mother’s Day, as a gift to myself, I am going to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am a good mom, that I might not be the mom that I envision, but that I am still a good mom. And I hope you do the same.

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7 thoughts on “The mom I want to be, but Never will be

  1. Beautifully written! I am often wracked with guilt because I’m not this perfect mom (especially when my oldest prefers my mother over me hands down and cries for her). Thank you for sharing.

  2. your most important point is to feel proud of who YOU are.  Kids learn by example.  If you are not happy with yourself, how will your children ever learn to take themselves for who they are?
    You are on your way.  Stop being so hard on yourself……….so your kids won’t be so tough on themselves.

  3. I loved this post.  I spent the first several years of mommyhood wishing I was a better mom, until I had a lot of therapy 🙂  Then I realized I am never going to be a perfect mom and that is ok.  I apologize for my mistakes and celebrate when I accidentally get it right.

    • 🙂 I love the line “celebrate when I accidentally get it right.” So true!!! This mommyhood thing is definitely hard and I only make it harder by putting pressure on myself to be perfect! I am okay trying to be a better mother, just not a perfect one. Curious if I’ll remember to tell myself this now that I wrote it!

  4. As a perfectionist, I’m pretty hard on myself so it’s easier to see “great” on other moms than myself.  So let me tell you … you are taking the MOST important step of all to make a happy home.  Happy (and patient, proud and loving) trumps neat, stylish, and crafty any day.  You’re a great mom!  Accepting yourself and finding ways to be happy are the best things you can do to help raise your kids to know how to accept themselves and be happy.  Turn off (or turn down) that inner critic and celebrate who you are (… and “when you accidentally get it right”!)  Happy Mother’s Day!  PS, your blog is fun, entertaining, and very inspiring!  Bravo!

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