I don’t have to be the best mom. I just have to allow my kids to be the best they can be.
Sometimes my mind gets ideas in it that need to be adjusted. Like that having a totally clean house all the time makes me a better person. Or that paper plates every night means I am a lazy mom. In reality, my kids are happy, healthy, kind to others and doing well in school. The truth is, I don’t have to be the best mom out there. I just have to allow my kids to be the best they can be!
I see it all day on Facebook and Twitter. Moms struggling to fit into the Carol Brady mold that should have been cracked when the show went off the air. I read comments about how lucky moms are who post their meals, crafts and smiling kids from people who are struggling to make it day to day without pulling their hair out. I always want to say, “This is one moment in their day! Don’t think it is their whole life!’
The truth is, I post positive stuff because I think my kids are so beautiful when they smile, so endearing when they do something funny and I am so humbled when they do something kind. I also think that when a mom is in the depths of spit up, diaper explosions, temper tantrums and new math, they might want to be reminded of the good times.
That being said, I think social media and the images of motherhood can distort our reality. And not in a good way.
Behind every smile is one kid hitting another, a mess that I JUST cleaned up that was made again, and behind every staged photo of food is a microwave box thrown in only when the kids start to say they are hungry.
I have decided that this ‘I am the best’ motherhood thing is not about us. Not even a little bit. I mean, the struggles are real and every single mom – and dad – on this planet deserves a HUGE pat on the back for taking care of the little personalities around them. Lord knows I am truly deserving of every gripe and brag I have. But I think when it comes to being better than someone else or the ‘best’ at it, those qualities and comparisons should be reserved for how we allow our kids to grow.
My kids deserve something better than the best mom on the block. They deserve the chance to be the best person they can be. They deserve to accomplish what they want, to be as happy as they can be and to thrive on a daily basis. My showcase house and perfectly applied lipstick will not help them with that at all. Though it might make me feel better, it has nothing to do with raising an independent, kind, generous child that has enough self confidence to buck the doubts and follow her dreams.
My real job as a mom is to allow them, even when they are young, to have opinions and thoughts and to converse with them to a solution. To allow them to be themselves, no matter how I think it might look to others. I need to allow them to wear that striped shirt with the polka dotted pants and just accept that they fact that they don’t match will be a mark against me instead of support of their own self image. I need to understand that if they want to read Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 instead of books I read, like Ramona the Brave, it is OK. At least they are reading and forming independent thoughts that I have not fed them.
I need to shut my trap and let them spend that hour in their room just being alone with themselves instead of trying to draw them out, afraid it is a sign of some psychological disorder. I have to let them cry, help them learn, adjust to the things I may not like, but they need to experience.
I have to accept that I can not fix every hurt feeling, take every insecurity away and that, one day, they are going to be too big to sit on my lap while I comb their hair.
The best think I can do for my kids is to allow them to be the best they can be. Even if it is not the best I think they need to be.
Last time I checked, dishes in the sink had nothing to do with that.