November 7, 2014

Free to be Whatever Sort of Mom You Want to be

This isn’t about mommy wars. I have no desire to write about them or participate in them anymore. It’s been a handful of years since I made decisions about how I’d feed a baby or diaper them or vaccinate them. You realize as time passes that those decisions that once seemed so massive really don’t mean a lot in the scheme of things. Breastfeeding won’t help your child be a good student (yes, I know about the IQ thing, that’s not what I mean), cloth diapers won’t help your child memorize multiplication facts and vaccinations won’t pay for college. I know that keeping a baby alive seems like a pretty big problem, but in reality, when faced with issues like dating and drugs and sex those early days decisions seem almost blissfully easy.

I’m on social media. Of course. And, articles about parents make the rounds among my friends. For a few months last year there was a cycle of odes to parents on iPhones/smart phones. Anonymous parents were being maligned for being on the phone while their child played at the playground.

“Pay attention to your KID” those articles screamed.

Then, came the rebuttals.

“You don’t know that person! You can’t tell me what to do!”


Recently, I wrote about a blogger who wants to know “what your excuse” is regarding fitness.

Lately, I’ve come to an interesting conclusion.  This is my life, too.  It’s the only one I get.  And, while I chose to be a mother and love being a mother, I don’t get a chance at another life after my kids are grown.  This one, regardless of length, is all I get.

It’s all you get, too.

I’m not saying this to be morose. I’m not telling you to carpe diem. I’m not saying to seize every moment because OMG you could be dead tomorrow.  What I’m saying is that you need to remember that this life is your life, too.

Go ahead and say that out loud for a minute.

This life is my life, too, and it matters as much as my child’s and as much as  my spouse.

That’s right.  Your experience is just as important as your child’s and just as important as your husband’s.

Do you hate going to the playground?  I do.  I detest it.  I still go, but I find a safe place the kids can play without my having to follow them around like a hawk and I browse the Internet or play Candy Crush.  I understand that someone who doesn’t know me might be watching me and judging me or thinking I’m a lazy bugger and maybe you reading are thinking this too, but what I’m telling you is this is my life, too.

And, I get to be whatever Mother I want to be.

I’m a Flylady drop out, but there’s one thing that I took from her that I actually still use.   I guess I’ve kind of bastardized it, but here it is.  “If it doesn’t bless you, don’t do it.”  Too small clothes in your closet that make you feel guilty?  Toss them.  Hate baking?  Buy cupcakes and send in with the kids.  I don’t really do the “blessed” thing, but more of a “If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.”  Now, of course, I don’t like cleaning toilets.  That doesn’t make me happy, but I do it because, well,some things you have to do, but you know what I’m talking about.

If it makes you happy to wear sweats and yoga pants every day, do it.  Who are you hurting?  If you like dressing up every day?  Do it.  Crafty?  Rock on.  Not crafty?  Buy it.  No one cares.  Love cooking?  Embrace it.  Hate cooking? No one every died from eating spaghetti three nights a week.  Feeling judged on Facebook?  Block them.  Overwhelmed by Pinterest?  Don’t visit.  You don’t need banners and perfect little flags for your child’s birthday cakes, but if you want them?  Do it.   There’s no need to be miserable, personally.  Be the Mother you are.  Your kids and partner will thank you for it.



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