Today I was a good mom.
I woke up at my usual 6:30 so I could get my hair and makeup routine out of the way. When the kids woke up, I greeted them each with a big hug, kiss, and cheerful “Good morning, sunshine!” I asked them how they slept and what they dreamed about. We chatted about what we were going to do today, and we sat down and ate breakfast together. Nothing fancy- just cereal- but they were thrilled to have me sitting with them instead of bouncing around the kitchen trying to pack lunches, unloading the dishwasher and wiping down the counters.
When I got home from work, I purposely left my phone in the kitchen and went to greet my babies. I asked them about their day and they told me every detail. I listened with my full attention and showed I really cared and was interested in what they had to say. Then we spent the next hour having uninterrupted play time. When I got in bed at night, I felt really good. I knew I gave my kids the best version of myself that I possibly could and that they felt loved.
Yesterday I was a bad mom.
I woke up grumpy from a restless night’s sleep. The kids woke up before I finished my makeup, and instead of greeting them with a big hug and kiss, I simply said, “You guys are up early. I have to finish my makeup, so come sit on the couch and I’ll put Mickey on.” There was no chatting about our plans for the day, no snuggling, and no real conversation. I gave them each a bowl of cereal and busily made our lunches and straightened up the kitchen.
When I got home later, my phone came with me. I was exhausted from a long day at work. (Of course, being 7 months pregnant makes even the easiest days seem tiring.) I said hello and asked them about their day, but only gave them half of my attention. I plopped down on the couch, looked through my emails, and scrolled through Facebook while the kids played on the floor in front of me. When I got in bed I felt like crap. I knew I had failed them as a mom, and I told myself I’d do better tomorrow.
And you know what? I did.
I think all of us moms are way too hard on ourselves. We’re constantly looking around at what other moms are doing, and it either gives us an ego boost or it makes us feel inadequate. Who cares if Suzy’s mom packs a lunch worthy of a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. My specialty is rolling up pieces of turkey. Brenda’s mom perfected the French braid? That’s awesome. I mastered the sideways ponytail. Tim’s mom got store-bought valentines? That’s great. I made something crafty for Chloe to hand out. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.
You know what our kids see? Suzy and Chloe see that their mom packed all their favorite treats for lunch. Brenda and Chloe rocked their hairdos and were just happy to have it pulled back out of their faces. Tim and Chloe will be equally excited to pass out their valentines to all their friends, regardless of who’s is “fancier.”
My point is, none of these things make us any better or worse as parents. We need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and start focusing more on being the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be- because at the end of the day, we’re mom. There’s no one in the whole universe who could possibly love our babies as much as we do. There’s no one who could make a better mother to our own children than we could. This is a fact. Don’t believe me? Go ask your child right now who their favorite person in the whole world is. I guarantee they’ll respond with an enthusiastic “Mommy!” Unless they’re older. Then they may be too cool to say that – haha.
For now, I’m just taking this parenting thing one day at a time and working on meeting my own personal goals. For me, that means trying to be more present. It’s so easy to run on autopilot when you’re going through the, sometimes monotonous, routines of everyday life. I don’t want my kids to have a zombie robot for a mom though, so lately I’ve been trying to stay unplugged until I get them in bed. This is something that makes me feel better about my parenting, so I’m making it more of a priority in my life.
Today I was a good mom. I hope I’ll be a good one tomorrow too. One thing’s for sure- I’ll never stop trying.