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The Mom I Am Not

I love to listen to podcasts and audio books. They make scrubbing a toilet used by two kids with terrible aim much more tolerable. One of my favorite podcasts is “3 in 30: Takeaways for Moms” by Rachel Nielson. The podcasts are just 30 minutes and talk about tools we can all use as moms. She recently did an encore of one of my favorite episodes, and it made me as thoughtful as it did the first time I heard it. In episode 16 (and the encore in 74), she and her guest talk about being the mom you are instead of feeling guilty about the mom you are not. This is a beautiful episode for any mom who has ever felt guilty. Oh wait. That’s all moms. I swear! The second that plus sign appears on the stick, the guilt sets in. Ugh!

After listening to this episode again, I really thought about the mom I am and the mom I am not. I realized I need to accept that I am not the perfect mom and that’s okay. There are things I just don’t do as a mom and accepting that has been really freeing. So I thought I’d post my musings here about the mom I am not.

I am not…

  1. I am not the field day mom. This is timely as field days is this week. I HATE field day. All those kids running around getting sunburned and dehydrated stealing each other’s fox tails! It’s more anxiety than I can handle. I volunteer regularly at my kids’ school so when they asked, “Mom! Are you coming to field day?” I accepted that I’m not that mom and said, “nope.” Guess what. They still love me and know I love them.
  2. I am not the playground mom. When my kids were tiny, I went down the slides with them and pushed them on the swing because they needed me to keep them safe. They don’t need that anymore. I hate playing on the playground. I love to get outside and play soccer or ride bikes with my kids. I’ll play basketball with them and run. But I do not enjoy playing on playgrounds. I still take my kids to parks so we can meet up with friends and I can have adult conversation, but I really don’t want to slide, swing or climb monkey bars. And so I don’t.
  3. I am not the doll mom. This actually surprised me because I loved playing with my Barbies as a child, but at this point in my life, I’d rather mop the floors than get on the ground and play dolls with my kids. I love to play games with my kids and that’s how we spend time together. But it’s okay for me to say, “I’m not going to play dolls.”
  4. I am not the spontaneous mom. This makes me sad, but it’s just reality. I’m not the mom that can decide out of the blue to go on a fun outing or have 10 friends over for a Nerf war. I wish I was, but I’m not. I love to schedule fun things and to invite people over with some notice. It takes me time to let things set in, so doing things spur of the moment gives me more anxiety than enjoyment.

That said, I’m still a good mom. My kids are taken care of physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Though I have shortcomings as a mom, there are also things I do well. If I’m going to decide what kind of mom I’m not, I should also talk about the mom I am.

I am…

  1. I am the reading mom. Seriously. This is my favorite thing to do with my kids. I’ll read them books any time, anywhere. It’s been that way since they were babies and had no idea what I was saying. I’d sit and read to them for hours. This is also how I volunteer in their school. I go in every Friday to each of their classrooms and read with a group from their class.
  2. I am the outside mom. I love walking, bike-riding, playing outdoor games, or just sitting outside with my kids. I love talking to them while we sit on the porch swing. Again, if it’s an outing, it needs to be scheduled, but I love to be outside with my kiddos.
  3. I’m the baking mom. I’ll always bake or cook something for and with my kids. My youngest loves to cook and we spend time in the kitchen together often. Though I suppose being a nutritionist is a big part of that…
  4. I’m the game mom. When I say games, I mean a game that comes in a box and usually involves cards and/or a board. We love games in our house and whenever we have down time, I suggest we read a book or play a game. We laugh, talk and connect. That’s really the point.

I encourage all moms to make a list like this. Rather than trying to change yourself ask, “Can I still be a good mom, even if I never (insert the mom you are not here)?” The answer is likely, “YES!”

And here is the new rule. For every failing you acknowledge, think of two ways you succeed. Don’t be so hard on yourself as a mom. You’re doing better than you think.

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