During the past 10 years, I have constantly doubted myself. This feeling comes from being just a mom. I wasn't bringing in household income on a consistent basis. Yes, I would do something here and there to bring in a little money, but it was never anything substantial.
As the years passed, the feeling that I “should” be doing something other than raising our two children and taking care of the house pulled at my heart strings. Then something magical happened. I let it all go.
Last week I pulled up one of the many videos that people post. This one hit home. This one registered in my heart and in my soul. A number of moms talked about what they viewed as their shortcomings in being mothers. Then they saw videos of their children talking about how their children viewed their mothers.
One of the mothers had expressed her feeling that she tended to focus on the negative, what she was doing wrong as a mom. This is so true for me. You may think that because I am not being assessed by someone in HR, that I don't evaluate my job performance. Wrong. I do it constantly. I reflect on situations and how I could have handled them better, worrying that because of my failure my child will be on Dr. Phil later in life. I constantly try to find a balance, not only for myself, but also for my children. I don't want their existence to be driving from one activity to another, although that sometimes does seem to happen.
As for the activities themselves, I constantly debate what they should be doing. Should it be lacrosse, dance, soccer, basketball, Boy Scouts, art, spanish, or some other club? I really don’t have the answer, and I really don't think that there is one. I just pick what they seem interested in and enjoy. And yes, I have had to quit some that my kids liked and enjoyed, for my own sanity. Boy Scouts got the proverbial boot this year, after I missed a gajillion emails and therefore we missed a gajillion meetings. My son liked it, but for some reason I could never seem to keep up with it. We are already balancing Brain Balance (a subject for a future blog entry or two) three times a week, Brazilian Jiujitsu twice a week, and basketball twice a week with the kids. Add any meetings that my husband and I have and we are a scheduling nightmare.
When there are too many activities, dinner can become an afterthought. I know some moms just drive up to the next fast food window they see, but I love to cook dinner. OK, let’s rephrase that to say, I enjoy cooking dinner when my family enjoys it. What I don't love is the face from my son if I serve zucchini or kale or by my daughter if I offer meat other than fish or London Broil.
Anyway, my point is that I love dinner time at our house. We actually all sit down together and talk. We all must say “What's the best thing that happened to you today?” because no matter how crappy your day, there is something good that happened. Then we all say, “I am awesome because (fill in the blank).” We are trying to teach our children to see new and unique things about themselves that are admirable. It is much easier to tell someone else why they rock, and sometimes harder for us to do this about ourselves. Just ask the grown-ups, many times our kids are calling out good stuff about my husband and me as we sit there not realizing our own true awesomeness.
Our own true awesomeness somehow gets lost in the shuffle of the day. If you watch the video that I was talking about, all of the mothers talk about what they needed to improve on as moms and all of the children talked about how amazing each one of their moms was and is. Since viewing this video, I have come to appreciate what I do every day for my family and my kids. I am raising our children to be personally strong. I am teaching them the responsibilityof being part of a family and eventually an adult.
Each day I am feeding their little bodies with healthful food so they learn about how to treat their bodies and that it does matter what you put in them. The other day, my daughter came in to our bedroom and said, “Momma, Daddy come here. Want to see me flex my muscles?! Look how strong I am!” She is strong in so many ways. And so is my son. The things that he has gone through, many kids would have given up by now, but not him. He continues on (mostly) smiling and continuing to conquer those things that he struggles with.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't tell them that I love them many times. I hug them and kiss them and reassure them when they need it because we all need it. And there are certainly times that I put them in their place when they try to take an attitude with me. I make them do chores. I make sure that they do their homework and help them with it as well. We break out in spontaneous dance parties because why not? It's fun! Sometimes we sing loudly in the car. Other times I have nothing on and simply listen to what they talk about.
I have learned that you can learn a lot by simply listening. Like that some of their top ten music artists are Bob Marley, Michael Martin Murphy, Lady Gaga, and ACDC (yes, there is a wide variety of music in their portfolios). I also learned what teachers they like and why. But sometimes I hear things that I could care less about, like some TV show that they like but I would rather stick forks in my eyes than watch. Even though I am not saying anything, I am taking it all in. I am there.
Being there means I get to be the first one to see their sleepy faces in the morning and hear about their
I am many things. I am a taxi driver, a cook, a maid, a teacher, and a counselor. I know now that all of this matters, truly matters. It matters more to me than a few dollars here and there (although, trust me, we could certainly use them). I can only hope that if my children were asked about their mom they would have positive things to say. And I know now that when someone asks me about my job as a mother, that I will not be embarrassed about it because it is my calling. It is one of many things that I was meant to do. And I do it so well. It means everything to me.