I've had several classic mom moments lately.
...we all got ready to go somewhere (a feat in itself). Bundled, ready, and eager we stepped out into the pouring rain and I pulled the locked door closed. Immediately I felt (like a gut feeling, I promise) that my keys were on the kitchen counter. Great.
...I reached into my pocket and pulled out my chap stick, and was surprised by its Tinkerbell cover and glitter gloss. Not exactly my thing but OK.
...I was feeding Tessa a bottle, talking on the phone to my mom, and trying to help Ella go potty when I pulled down her pullup and stuck my hand directly into her poopy diaper. "Uh...gotta go, mom..."
Let's face it, these are every days events (at least for me!) for people who set out on the life changing journey of motherhood. Sleepless nights, feeding battles, potty training horrors- there is so much to try and challenge and sanctify in the daily grind. But lately I've been challenged by a different thought, one that is more about WHO I AM as a mom and less about what I do (or don't do) as a mom.
Sometimes I feel this pressure, this unseen voice whispering in my ear that what I am doing (or not doing) is wrong. Personally, I'm pretty OK with a high level of chaos. Books scattered on the couches, a sheet thrown over the dining room table because little people have inhabited it as a fort or rocket ship, every pillow and blanket in the house amassed in The Pile on the living room floor, impromptu crafts and games that leave the house more than a bit piled up. But then that voice nags in the back of my mind, telling me that maybe if I were a better mom I wouldn't be so OK with this. I hate that voice and the feeling it creates that our playfulness is too costly, too disruptive to be allowed to rule the day.
There is a fine art to learning who you are as a mom. That is one reason why (I know I beat this idea to death- but it's true!) that I think the internet is not always helpful. There isn't a lot out there that is dedicated to you being more you as a mom. There is a lot out there about things you should be doing as a mom.
But in these almost seven years of being a mom, I'm beginning to learn my 'mom' personality. There are things that totally stress me, things that fill me up, and things I simply will not do- and that's OK. My 'bread and butter' is being flexible. I like to seize moments and go with the creative energy it brings. This results in fun projects and adventures that weren't planned but are discovered and enjoyed. We have birthday parties for stuffed animals. Build castles out of grocery boxes. Eat popcorn whenever the mood hits us. The flip side? It also results in a to-do list that can gather dust faster than anything can be crossed off. And then one day I hit a level of crazy that is too high for even me and I tend to freak out. So I have to know that my love for the moment has to be met by a discipline to keep our house functioning. It's a reality I am learning to embrace.
What do you bring that is unique for your family? Maybe it's your love of music, literature, Chinese food, square dancing, comic books, or travel. Maybe your planning makes your home run like a well-oiled machine, providing structure and stability for your family (I know very little about this but I hear there are people like this out there!). Maybe your adventuresome spirit has you all outdoors on nature walks, bug hunts, and picnics galore. Maybe you plan killer vacations. Maybe you are one craftastic mom, and your kids could decoupage before they could walk.
What is it? This is not a hypothetical question but one that I want you to seriously consider, answer, and celebrate!
Be confident in this: God has made you in His image, given you special qualities and gifts that only you bring to your family. So bring 'em! Don't sit around lamenting what you aren't, let who you are bubble out of you and bless those little souls that are right there next to you.
What's that? You said your friend bakes all her bread fresh and mops her kitchen floor twice a day? To that I say, "Good for her. You be you."
What's that? You said your friend takes all her kids to the zoo and children's museum at least once a week? To that I say, "Good for her. What does that have to do with you?"
What's that? You said your friend keeps her playroom spotless, laundry always done, and is never late? To that I say, "Find a new friend." JUST KIDDING! To that I say, "Great. Give her a big high five and move on with your day."
If God had wanted your kids to grow up with a mom like her, He would have given them her as a mom. But He wants your kids to grow up with a mom just like you.
So whatever that means, whether you like to play go fish, feed your own fish, or just find yourself picking up a lot of goldfish crackers in between your car seats, find a voice and a rhythm that is yours. Don't obsess over what to change about yourself- that is the Holy Spirit's job. He'll tell you what to work on, what to nix, what to tweak about how you live.
So live! Live like a mom who loves her family and Father with all the heart He gave her. Find what brings you life and do it...a lot...especially when you get cranky (hence our popcorn habit!) Celebrate the mom you are and the mom that God will help you to become.
Whatever you discover, I hope it will bless those you love, encourage your friends, and help you wade through the ups and downs of motherhood.
You'll have to excuse me now- I think our popcorn is almost done...