I am wife to the Nerd, who needs me to make his dinners, do his laundry, and make him happy. I am mom to the Drama Queen, who needs me to teach her, talk with her, and listen to all her chatter. I am mom to the Beast, who needs me to hug him several times a day, talk slowly and directly to him, and anticipate his needs that he has trouble expressing. I am mom to the Spud, who needs me to pay attention to him frequently, feed him, and clean up his messes. I am artist and crafter for my customers, who need me to create custom items in a timely manner. I am Peewee Club teacher to my little group of 3-5 year-olds, who need me to teach them and be patient with them. I will be Spanish teacher to a rowdy group of teenagers, who need me to exert my magic and somehow make them pay attention and pass the class.
The list goes on, and in all my busyness, I am often caught in the trap of second-guessing my parenting skills or the swamp of dragging through "mommy-guilt." You all know the feeling. It usually happens because I've been talking to another parent, who manages to work it into the conversation that they've spent X amount of quality time with their off-spring this week and isn't motherhood just the best thing ever?
Well, the truth is that it's not - not always, anyway. Don't get me wrong - motherhood is a noble calling and IS wonderful in so many ways, but it ain't always pretty. And it isn't always fun! I used to feel guilty about thinking that, but now I know it's just reality. It doesn't make me a bad mom! Look, when my kiddos were spreading poop all over their room last year, I was not rejoicing in the fact that I was a mom. People told me that later I would look back on the incident as a fond memory and laugh. I'm still not laughing, folks! All I remember are the hours of back-breaking carpet cleaning and the smell that lingered forever...
A few weeks ago I was waiting in line at the post office and struck up a conversation with the lady in front of me. She also was a mom of three littles, who were gathered around her, kicking and whining about being bored. She apologized to me for their behavior, telling me that it was HER fault because she hadn't spent enough quality time with them that week. She went on to explain that they had only been to the zoo, the library, and two mom/child events that week; and normally, she did a lot more with them. I suppose in some mommy circles that would have made her super-mom, but in her mind, it was not enough. I went home that day pondering what really constitutes being a good mom.
Society today, especially with the plethora of mommy blogs out there (yep, I know, a little tongue-in-cheek for you there), turns the pressure up on moms to perform at what they deem an acceptable level for being a "good mom." Your daughter is three and you haven't enrolled her in ballet yet? She's already behind and has lost all hope of becoming something great. You don't sit on the floor and spend hours playing trains and cars with your child while trying to engage him in meaningful conversation? Later in life he'll accuse you of being a "distant parent" while lying on a couch across from his therapist. You don't plan educational activities every day for your two-year-old? She is destined for failure, or at the very most, community college. You told your five-year-old not to bother mommy right now but to go and find something to do? Well, apparently you just told your child that you don't care about him or his feelings...
So if these things are really not qualifiers in making someone a "good mom" (in my own humble opinion of course), what does? What are the core values and characteristics that make up a good mom?
I don't like my blog posts to be tremendously long; so this topic is going to addressed in more than one post. I will definitely share what I am learning are the real things that make up a "good mom" in the posts to come, and I welcome your comments, advice, experiences, and so on.