The internet is a tricky world because it is so easy to show the highlights, but what about all of the lowlights? Occasionally, I can find a way to pop one in, but rarely do I think about getting my camera out to capture the times I am being immature or have no idea what the heck I am doing as a mom.
I had a request for a friend-to-friend on what to do when you feel like a ‘crap mom’. I’ve been parenting for almost eleven years now, and I’ve heard so many tips on this topic. There has been one thing that truly resonates with me, and it has changed everything about the way I look at motherhood….
I grew up in an area/culture that focused a lot on the ‘duties’ of a mother. A lot of attention was placed on doing many of the things that I am terrible at—> cooking… I’m pretty sure Brooke ate Cafe Rio every night for the first 5 years of her life;). Craftiness. Being at everything/always available for my kids (divorce, working, etc), being selfless all of the time (yeah, I am going to get my run in and have time with just Andrew and my friends, ha)… And the list could go on and on.
A lot of times, I would get into bed at night thinking about all of the ways I wasn’t what I was told a mother is and/or feel guilty about everything I was doing wrong.
I came across this from Julie Hanks, and it opened my eyes to what actually matters:
Motherhood is a relationship, not a role.
Why in the world are we focusing on the tasks or personality characteristics of what we think a mother should be? We are all so different, so why would we expect one way to be the right way? None of those silly checklist items matter. What matters is that there is a connection. We get to define what good motherhood is, nobody else gets to tell us that, and I’m defining my motherhood as a relationship and forgetting all of the other stuff.
So, when the guilt kicks in about not being a good mom, I tell myself to think about how I connected with each one throughout the day.
-Looking them in the eyes while they tell me about their day at school.
-A long hug before they left for school.
-Telling them stories about when they were a baby (my kids LOVE this).
-A walk we took together.
-A back scratch while we are watching Bluey (how is this show so funny?!) together at night.
-Telling them that I love them just the way they are.
-Remembering their favorite snack at the store and eating it with them at the counter while chatting.
-Listening to their problem and empathizing with them.
-Kicking the soccer ball around with them (even though they are all better at it than me;)
-Deep talks during a car ride to drop them off to wherever they need to be.
I don’t know if this answers the question I was asked, but I find the more I focus on the relationship I am building with the child, the better I feel about what I am doing. If you feel like you are failing, think about something you did that day to connect, and boom… In my opinion, you are a good mom.
Focusing on ways to connect and make sure they know that they are loved throughout the day rather than what I ‘should be doing’ (stop shoulding yourself) makes me love motherhood and feel like I am doing it right.
What about you? What do you do when you feel like you are struggling with parenthood?