We went to the mall the other day (for the first time in months, because I really don’t like shopping), and I saw so many cute outfits and accessories that would look darling on my children. Later that night, I went into the blogosphere, and my eyes were opened to a whole world of fun extra-curriculars I think my children would love. Then I heard about some beautiful vacation spots that provide ideal backdrops for family bonding, and I thought, “Oh, we should figure out a way to go there together!” By the end of the night, I was crying into my husband’s shoulder–asking him if I was being too much of a slacker and denying my children the “perfect” childhood they deserve. Of course, he knew I was just exhausted from the day, so he told me I was doing an excellent job, kissed me, and sent me to bed.
Well, I woke up this morning with a much clearer perspective and started back into the routine of things…hugging my children “good morning,” helping them get their breakfast, encouraging them to eat carefully so they can be up for the “chewing-with-mouth-closed-award” I’m presenting on Sunday, telling them how much I adore them while I brush their hair and do “finishing touches” on their teeth-brushing, praying with them before they leave for school, and taking care of some household work while they’re gone. I’m mentioning all the nice things I do, but of course I’m also trying not to lose my patience as I call out random things like, “Ten more minutes!” and “Get your backpacks!” and “How am I supposed to know where your library book is?” (We’re all human.)
When my son got home from kindergarten, we ate lunch together and then started to play with some new silly putty we bought last week. I knew you could use silly putty to pick up the ink from a newspaper, but I didn’t know it worked with penciled drawings on plain old paper. Ethan and I started writing phrases to each other (backwards) and then revealing the message with the silly putty. Oh, did we have fun. I wrote his name, some funny notes, and finally, “Want a fudge pop?” His face lit up when he read the message, and we sat there together, enjoying our dessert, giving little Spencer some bites, and laughing about all the messages we’d written for the silly putty.
It was at that moment, I realized that being a mother doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s okay if my children don’t have the latest clothes or a ton of extra activities. In a few years, shopping and after-school classes won’t be as difficult for me to juggle, and perhaps we’ll do more of those things. Vacations are great, and we’ll make sure we have plenty of family-bonding moments before our children grow up, but again, an exotic vacation isn’t critical to family success. When I look at life clearly and identify what really matters, it’s the love we feel inside the walls of our own home. Tomorrow I’m going to stock up on silly putty and fudge pops.
QUESTION: Do you ever feel like you are not measuring up as Mom?
CHALLENGE: Start noticing the things you do every day that show your children how much you love them. That’s what really counts. And go have a fudge pop.
Image by Caesandra at www.flickr.com.
I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost impossible.