Friday, May 2, 2008

Just a Mom?

What a beautiful day today. Gorgeous. J and I spent the better part of the afternoon in the park. While we made our laps around the pond, I decided to take a chance and call one of my best friends (we'll call her Ms. May . . . it is MAY after all). We try to talk as often as possible, but with her two little ones and my one, it is a challenge. You see, if we could talk for a quick five minutes, we would. BUT, that is impossible. Oddly enough, neither of us is one for talking on the phone that much. But, put the two of us together and it is near impossible to tear us apart . . .

In between the street sweeper, wind gusts, and motorcycles, Ms. May and I had one of our typical thought-provoking and riveting conversations (seriously, we could talk about the variety of generic cereals or the fact that NKOTB is making a comeback and it would be thought provoking--to us anyway). One of our topics was this whole idea of mommyhood. Oh, I hear your groans. Dear Lord, it is a mommy blog and she actually wants to dedicate a post to this?!?! Yes, yes I do. For good reason.

I'm still sorta new to this whole mom thing.

We talked about the perfect mother. You know who she is. Her children are the center of her universe. Her world revolves around them and everything they do. Everything she does focuses on being a mom. She's the one who leads mom clubs, organizes school activities, schedules the best play dates, plans the most awesome parties, makes the most healthful and creative snacks/treats, bakes and cooks from SCRATCH, wears "cool" mom clothes, her hair is always perfectly coiffed, and she is always, always full of energy! She is EXHAUSTING. Besides, we all know that NOTHING is as perfect as it seems. I have no doubt that she struggles as well.

I never had actual aspirations to be the PERFECT mother. That simply was not going to happen--and I'm OK with that. I just wanted to be a good mom. BUT, alas, the pressure to be the perfect mom, the cool mom, the mom who has it all together is ever present, even when we don't want to admit it. Heck, have you ever paged through some of those baby or parenting magazines? Sometimes it looks like the models in Vogue got pregnant and jumped onto the pages of American Baby or Parents. Yikes!


There's got to be a balance, right? This was the heart of our conversation . . . so many women define themselves as a mom. I know that I do, to some degree. But many define themselves as only a mom. Just a mom. That being said, it is easy to understand the pressure to do it PERFECTLY when that is ALL you believe you are. At least in your eyes.

Ms. May and I discussed how vital it is for a mom to have something along with her identity as mommy. Something that shows her creativity, her intelligence, her confidence, her tenacity in a different light. (A quick conversation flashback. When we first got on the phone we talked about our passions. What drives us. What motivates us. It was kinda fun to think about what we want to be when we grow up--even if we are in our 30s.) We both agreed that when the day comes we would love for our children to not only feel that we were the best (not necessarily perfect) moms we could be, but that we were also the best people we could be.

I want J to appreciate his momma's love for literature and the power of words. I want him to see that I took pride in my health (hopefully he'll forget seeing me dip a spoon into the Betty Crocker butter cream frosting and will only remember me jogging in the park--but if not, no biggie.). I want him to appreciate my sense of humor (even though he'll be sure to remember my corny knock knock jokes he'll never forget my awesome ability to mimic farm animals). I want him to know the little girl and young woman I was before he arrived. I want him to be proud of me for following my dreams and accomplishing my goals.

So, I don't know if I'll be leading any mom's groups. And, I tell ya, Goldfish crackers and Fruit Roll Ups are perfectly fine snacks. I will try to get it together more often than not, but some days, I WILL spend the better part of my day in my PJs (like on rainy ones where snuggling is much more preferred than going anywhere!). We may not have huge parties with clowns, celebrities, and fireworks (we'll opt for pizza and s'mores and scary stories in the tent out back), I won't be the perfect mom. Perfection is overrated anyway. But I hope I'll be the "perfect" mom for J.

I want him to know he is the center of my universe. A universe where you can be anything you want to be. And that means mommy, too.

A few moments from today . . .


Right now, our little universe is a pretty cool place to be . . .

43 comments:

Kristen said...

I LOVE it! LOVE IT I tell you!

I agree, I want to be the best mom I can be for my kids too. Not perfect, but my best.

What a perfect post!

noble pig said...

Great post. And the balance is tough. It's hard to be everything to them especially as their needs change, you change and then another little one comes along. A good Mom is just fine with me too.

tulipmom said...

Great post! And I love your photo collage. Little J. is such a cutie!

Rachel H. said...

You are such a wonderful mom!! And lets be real--is there HONESTLY a mom THAT perfect? I've come to the conclusion that even if there WAS, she wouldn't know about it!! :) You think?? I think MOST of us are always going to be trying to be and do our best--and won't feel we've reached that "point" of perfection. At least I don't! :)

You are such a wonderful writer. Thanks for your thoughts. Totally wish we could hang out and chat up all this learning and growing and mom/individual kind of stuff. :) You're one amazing woman!

Lori said...

I couldn't agree more. Being a SAHM you quickly get sucked into the I'm a mom first mode... you're not a mom first you're you first. I know I say it all the time but the best gift you can give your child is time away from them when you can reconnect with yourself and remember who you are!

Strive to be the best mommy you can be while still being the best you, wife, friend, etc...

Pam said...

that is the best post ever!

Sandy C. said...

Such an amazing post! I can relate on so many levels. Most days I feel so far from that "perfect" mom mold that I can't even imagine what it encompasses anymore. What you described is what many of us "real" moms strive for :)

ConverseMomma said...

This was the best blog post I have read in awhile. I may have to link it and respond later in the week on my own blog. Balance is hard, as a working mom I really get that. But, even tho I am a messybun wearing, have no problem with them eating dirt at the park, work full-time, pretty laid-back kind of momma, my kids own my heart. They are always the center there. I think that is what makes me perfect.

jakelliesmom said...

I wrote about this exactly when I was MOMS Club President - I posted all of my newsletter messages on my blog when I was off the board. It is true - being a great mom involves more than just caring for your baby. I'll find the link and post for you.

MommyTime said...

I love this post so much. There is far far FAR too much pressure to be perfect -- and there are far too many moms playing high school popularity contest at the playplace for my taste. I think that Conversemama's words are right on: no matter how we achieve balance or what choices we make, as long as our kids know that we are doing the very best we can by them, and as long as we are really PRESENT in their lives when we're around, then we are "perfect" in their eyes.

Thank you for this. I, too, might have to think about this some more and write a response later this week.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I have to say I don't know any of those moms, most of my friends are pretty real, pretty wonderful but none of us are even attempting to approach that perfection.
I think those women have something missing inside that they think can be filled with busyness and creating a perfect mom persona.
The rest of us are stuck with the real world, and I think mine is pretty wonderful too.

Aliki2006 said...

Oh, perfect--just perfect. We can only try to be the best we can, and enjoy it while we're at it!

Misty said...

"Something that shows her creativity, her intelligence, her confidence, her tenacity." - I don't have to go outside of motherhood to find that.

I have found, as a young mother of three, that during this stage of parenthood, being mainly "only a mom" is a role that I can be content with.

That isn't to say that I don't have other interests, but at this point in time..... my children take up 99.9% of it.

The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Where do you live? We could totally hang out. I think we are a lot alike. I agree, the balance is tough. Some days I feel like super Mom, while others I wonder if my children are going to be talking to their friends about how we screwed them up. LOL. Goldfish crackers don't have any preservatives in them!! That's a plus! :)

Karen MEG said...

First of all, I love that picture, your universe is absolutely perfect!

As was this post! You've described it so eloquently and it is bang on. Yeah, you're new at this, but you're a SUPER quick study!

The perfect mom is a myth...I struggle with that a lot myself, but as my husband tells me time and again, I am THEIR perfect mom. As long as I'm there for them, and they know it, and they know that they are my "universe", then that's all that matters.

Heck, I still try to have a life "beyond" kids, but we had quite a few years of that before they came along. And it's a different, more wonderful (albeit stressful sometimes) world having MOM as my number one job.

And hey, Fruit rollups have fruit in them don't they (honestly, I do, I really do have a degree in nutrition LOL!!!)

Tracey said...

They change so quickly... enjoy your little universe through every change and try to relish it ALL!

FYI? "Perfect Mom" is a myth. She may be really good at SOME things, but will flounder in others. It's not necessary to aspire to be like someone else. It's only necessary to aspire to be the best YOU that you can be.

Colleen said...

Sounds like you already are a Perfect Mom for J.

Meanwhile, I hope that I can just be a passable mom. I call it "Survival Parenting"...as long as everyone survives through the end of the day, I consider it successful...otherwise I start getting caught-up in the whole working mom thing that guilts me to no end.

Colleen said...

oh, and cute pics! :)

Kami said...

What you say?

Exactly how I feel too but I could never express it so eloquently.

Amazing post!

And I have a couple of friends like Ms. May too... L-O-N-G conversations we have - friends like that are a rare commidity:-)

Blessings From Above said...

Great post! I couldn't agree more with all you said.

And, goldfish snacks are YUMMY!

tommie said...

Great post. I think that is all most of us want...to be a good mom. On days that I mess up royally, I know I can start all over the next day.

The collage of J is simply adorable. Looks like a great day to be at the park.

Erin said...

how sweet. show him this post some day nad he will know!

krissy said...

Nobody's perfect. Not one single person. I think you come pretty darn close though.

Love the pic. You need to find a way to come visit me too or meet up somewhere. could you imagine the fun we would have????

Elaine A. said...

Wonderful words. Thanks for bringing me back down to earth (even if just for a little while...)

Xbox4NappyRash said...

magic.

Family Adventure said...

If we all just allowed ourselves to be a little less than perfect, I think our kids would actually have better parents. Certainly parents who were less stressed out about not being perfect...

This was a great post - you are definitely on to something here!

Heidi

Pregnantly Plump said...

I think that's a great goal. The pictures are so cute!

Susiewearsthepants said...

This was a great post. I am raising my two daughters alone. I often worry what I will focus on when they grow up and fly the nest. My oldest is 16 and the day is fast approaching where she will head off in the world to make her way. I know in my head that I need to still be my own person, as well as a mother. It's easier said than done. I see those "perfect moms" and know that I will never be one of those. I am the mom who forgets about the school activity until the night before. I am the mom that can't go on field trips because I have to work. I am the mom who skips cooking sometimes and declares it's "every man for himself". Thanks for this post.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Please don't try to be a perfect mom--try to be a "good enough" mom. Good Enough Mom's make sure they're well taken care of but not so much so that the children don't have to develop resilience and independence. Some people think perfect means removing all the bumps in the road for your children. Noooooooooo! It is the bumps that allow them to grow.

I served on all sorts of committees and led Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts--because I truly enjoy that kind of thing. Not really for my kids specifically, but more for kids in geneneral.

Perfect for you son is just right, perfect for your family, but please, not perfect.

Lindsey said...

I'm loving all those sweet shots of that precious baby.

And just a mom??? No such thing. There are many hats you wear as a Mommy. Balance is definately hard to achieve. Let me in on the secret if you find out how to do it well.

cyndy said...

WILD applause from this not-so-perfect mama!!!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

You were so totally describing just how perfect I am until you got to the whole cooking healthy snacks thing. I guess I'm not perfect, but my kid is the center of my universe. It's a good universe, too.

Great post!

Lindsey said...

Ahhhh so cute!! I'm sure you are the best momma and J will know that in everything you do:)

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Great post. My children just request that I not embarress them to much... ;-)

Forget about perfection-- it is to dang stressful. Plus, you'll have more friends! Hee!

McMommy said...

Ohhh...can we come to your birthday parties??? Those are exactly the kind of parties we love!! Smores and tents in the backyard--Matty would be in HEAVEN!!

I just love this post. Real moms rock. Perfect moms make me shudder!

Laura said...

Awsome post! It got my chains turning. I needed that on a Sunday evening. :)

Lori said...

great post & I love the picture collage...I don't think there is such a thing as a perfect mom. I think we all do the best we can and those who seem to be the perfect mom's, well, it's all a cover. They just don't admit their insecurities and mistakes to the rest of us. That's my theory anyway! ha!

HRH said...

No groans here. This was very sweet. I only hope that you pull out the Betty Crocker butter cream frosting and hand HIM a spoon as well...I can't think of a better snack if shared with mom.

Wendi said...

Awesome post!
You sound like a great mom!
I once strived to be the "perfect" parent...then I realized it wasn't going to happen. I am happy with mediocre.
I love my little universe too!

Kellan said...

What a great post - WOW! I loved it and totally agree!

Nice to see you today - I have missed you. Hope you are doing well. See you soon - Kellan

Huckdoll said...

To be honest, I tried to be the "perfect" mom for the first year of my girl's lives and then I realized that I was losing myself in the process.

All of those parties, play dates and perfectionisms were turning me into a crazy, miserable mama. I can spot these ladies from a mile away now and go out of my way to avoid them because they're really no fun at all. Even some of my best friends from high school are merely shadows of their former selves after having children - unrecognizable. It's sad.

Kimmylyn said...

This was a HOME RUN.. how is it that so many moms feel like this?(I have had similiar conversations with my best friend)

It is too much work to be perfect.. and seriously life if always coming at you.. who has time to stop and have coiffed hair?? :)

LOVED THIS POST!!

Kathryn said...

So beautifully and perfectly said. Wow.

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