What makes a good mom? Or a good wife? To be in progress, there has to be an end goal, right? I believe my problem is that I hope for too much. Now, I know that may sound like a lazy excuse for failure, but there are many other moms I look up to, and each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. For me to want to be what’s best in each of them is admirable, but probably not possible. So I need to figure out what I need to do to feel like I’ve reached my goals. Let me talk about these amazing moms I know…
Mother #1. She is amazing. She has four children, whom she homeschools. She also cultivates a nice garden full of vegetables, which she manages to use and preserve. She cooks her meals from scratch–no fancy mixes, or even unhealthy food. She’s an organic-bulk-buyer. She manages to teach her children and to entertain them. And she blogs about it all daily. Did I mention she has the sweetest personality? I mean, she’s able to look at the bright side of everything. I am constantly amazed by her.
Mother #2. She is adorable. She has 3 children, only one of which is in school a few days a week. She is an artist. She has a beautiful home, which is spotless every time I’ve seen it, and her children obey her. She is gentle, always wanting to help others. And she always looks cute. She even manages to find time for exercise in her day.
Mother #3. She is fierce. She has 2 children (and is, incidentally, the closest in age to myself). They are home with her every day, as they are 3 and 1. She keeps her home immaculate. Those carpets see the vacuum at least once a day–usually more than once! This alone impresses me. And her kids have a long history of ejecting fluids, so it’s amazing her home has stayed as nice as it is! She does cute things, you know, like repainting her living room in her spare time. And she blogs about her kids for their family. She also has taken to striving toward healthy eating–so she cooks, too! She has her kids in bed early each night so she has time for herself–which she frequently uses to exercise. She does not waste a minute.
So, now we come back to me…
In my mother-fantasies I am never tired. I never look worn out, chubby, or like a stressed-out adolescent. Every word that comes out of my mouth is used to encourage and display love. I rise early to get in some quiet exercise and a peaceful shower before lovingly feeding my two children breakfast–a healthy, breakfast, too. I manage to look fabulous, as do my children, as we head out early for an errand; perhaps a trip to the library or grocery store. I buy, and consequently cook, with mostly organic foods, and dinner is always ready when my husband comes home from work. During the day I’ve managed to scrub the floors, or shine the windows, and the house looks spectacular. I’ve spent time blogging, uploading photos, and working on writing a book. I’ve also worked on household projects, like making curtains, or painting my bedroom. And of course I have spent quality time with my kids, reading and playing. In short, my fantasy is a 50’s television show–except I’m not wearing a dress!
What I’ve come to realize lately is that I just can’t do it all. Not with a 3-year-old and a very needy 4-month-old anyway. Unfortunately, instead of accepting that I can’t do it all and moving forward, I’ve become stuck. Depressed over what I can’t do rather than focusing on what I can do. So most days very little gets done. I waste my time stalking people on Facebook, or reading about how to organize my home, without actually taking any action. And I think a clean house is important. Eating is definitely a priority. But reaching this level of perfection I have in mind is a bit prideful. I want it because it looks good. But when I snuggle on the couch with my little girl, wasting time watching Hannah Montana, and she looks up at me and says, “You know what? You’re the best mommy in the world,” then I know I must be doing something right. If I were to die today, I know there is love in my family, and no one’s going to be talking about the grease splatters on my stove.
So my daily goal is to accept that I can’t do all things, but each day I can do something. Instead of being overwhelmed by my desire for perfection every morning, I will love my children (much easier to do when I’m not exhausted from being kept awake all night by crying), and I will stop comparing myself to these other moms. Maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t. But I can always be the best mommy in the world anyway.