Keri is back today – sharing another insightful look into motherhood and parenting.
by Keri Siemens
Let Me Tell You What I’m Great At Doing
I’ve mentioned it before, but I really enjoy having birthday parties for my kids.
They let me know what they want (Ariel!) and I run with it (Under the Sea theme!). I search for creative ways to tie in the food with the theme and come up with fun decorations. I have enjoyed improving my cake-decorating skills over the years.
We’ve had a Pinkalicious party with a huge buffet of pink desserts, a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party with a “hot-diggity-dog bar,” and an Angry Birds party with pizzas decorated as Angry Birds. I get all kinds of compliments when I post the party pictures on Facebook.
Best mom ever, right??
But There Are Even More Things I’m NOT Great at Doing
Well, I only have to throw these parties a few times a year. And you know what I DON’T do?
- I don’t wash my kitchen floors. (Well, hardly ever. Thank goodness for wood floors that hide dirt.)
- I don’t play cars or trains or dolls with my kids.
- I don’t make elaborate crafts with my kids.
- I don’t bathe my children more than once a week. (It’s true. I admit it. Okay, maybe I do in the summer, but not if I can avoid it.)
- I don’t feed my children all organic foods. Sometimes they even eat (gasp!) pizza rolls.
- I don’t garden.
- I don’t sew.
- I don’t homeschool my children.
- I don’t exercise on a regular basis. At all. (I know I should. I will. As soon as my kids turn 18.)
- I don’t make homemade valentines with my kids.
Shall I go on?
You Don’t Have To Be Good at Everything, Either
The truth is, moms, we can’t do it all. I know we’ve all heard it before. But do we believe it? Like, really really believe it? I want to believe it. I really, really want to. But I definitely need to be reminded every once in a while.
I firmly believe that every mom has her “thing”–something she is really good at. Or something she makes a priority in her life. Or something she feels strongly about including in her children’s lives. Or something she makes a daily effort to teach or instill in her children. Or something she is working toward accomplishing. Or something she just likes to do.
I like to have birthday parties for my kids. I don’t have to do it, but it’s fun for me. And I’m kind of good at it. And it makes my children happy.
I have a friend who can’t stand the thought of making a homemade birthday cake.
But you know what? She is volunteering in her kids’ classes every chance she gets. I have another friend who is blessed with the gift of hospitality and is constantly opening her home to others. (And you know what? Her house isn’t spotless. I love that!)
I also have a friend whose house is so clean and organized that it makes my order-loving heart want to cry. (Seriously, is it possible to lust after kitchen shelves? Someday my house will look like that. As soon as my kids turn 18.)
I have a friend who believes strongly in the education of her children and has decided to homeschool them.
I have a friend who cares deeply about the health of her children and has committed to serving them nearly all organic and homemade foods. And I have another friend whose attitude toward parenting is so laid-back and “go with the flow” that it’s like a breath of fresh air just to be around her.
But the problem, it seems to me, is that despite knowing in our hearts that we can’t do it all, something in our head tells us that our thing just isn’t as significant or as important or as meaningful as someone else’s thing. Why do we do that to ourselves?
We all know how important it is that our children believe their abilities are unique and special, and yet we don’t believe it about ourselves. When I look at my friends I see so many amazing moms. And at the same time, I see these women questioning their parenting, comparing their abilities and downplaying their skills.
I have an idea.
Can We all Commit To Just Being Ourselves for a Little While?
Let’s see how it works out!
Parent how you want to parent.
Discipline how you want to discipline.
Feed your kids what you want to feed them.
Teach them what you want to teach them.
Buy them what you want to buy them.
Dress them how you want to dress them. (Or better yet, how they want to dress!)
Be the Mom That YOU Are
Not the one that your best friend is or the one on that parenting blog you read or even the one you wish you were.
Don’t get me wrong- there’s nothing wrong with striving to improve. But can we agree that sometimes it gets a little overwhelming? I feel like it can’t hurt to take a “time out” every once in a while- to step away from the parenting books and blogs and set aside the mental list of self-improvements and new skills to acquire and plans to implement… and just BE.
If you are taking the time to read this, then trust me- you’re doing fine. You love your kids and you want to be the best mom you can be. So keep it up!
Let’s cut ourselves a little slack.
Let’s admire the amazing parenting skills we see in each other without allowing it to detract from how we see ourselves. Let’s appreciate the uniqueness of every parent. Let’s love our fellow moms for who they are. Let’s refuse to judge out of petty jealousy. Let’s strive to be the best parents we can possibly be while remembering that we can’t do it all.
But if these seem like lofty goals, maybe we can start simply. Maybe just take a time out to figure out what your thing is. And try to do that thing well. After all, we need to start somewhere, right?
So tell me, what is your “thing?” And if you’re feeling brave, what is NOT your thing?
See Keri’s other articles on modern day motherhood: