Time spent playing on the floor with kids . . . B-
Time spent working on homework with Ashtyn . . . C+
Time spent cleaning the kitchen . . . . A
Time spent not yelling . . . um, let's not go there.
Honestly, I have these rollercoaster moments where I sometimes feel like a good mom, and sometimes feel like a not-so-good mom. And there are all these voices in my head (that sound like women I've talked to) telling me all the time that "This stage passes quickly! Enjoy every minute!"
I'm trying. It can be hard to remember that piece of "precious truth" when my 4-year-old is having a tantrum and not sharing toys during a playdate or my 18-month-old has just thrown his truck in my face and my lip is bleeding. Those days are going to come (pretty regular at my house) along with those days where my kids are adorable and sweet and melt my heart. And time is passing quickly. And I am trying to enjoy the journey. Some days "enjoyment" comes easier than others.
The point is, do you ever feel like you're just not measuring up? I would be afraid to see my mothering report card, honestly, and I'd probably hide it from Jeff!
There are days when I've probably spent more time on my phone than I should have. There are days when I've let the dishes pile up. There have been many days when I've felt unsteady, like I can't handle one more thing on my plate.
The problem with women is that we suffer from comparison. Some women seem to have it all and juggle a million and one things and do it well. Some of us tread water.
I'm the treading sort.
I've been practicing being comfortable with "me" ever since I joined the motherhood club. You know:
"Yes, I had an epidural. I wanted all the drugs they would give me."
"No, I didn't breastfeed. And really, I'm okay with that."
"Yes, I went back to work part-time after my daughter was born. Actually, I think that was the best decision for me."
"Yes, my kids watch TV. We like TV at my house."
"Yes, my kids eat sugary cereal. That's the kind we like."
"Yes, my kids are picky eaters. I wish they weren't, but they are."
"No, I'm not always consistent with discipline. I'm working on that."
Moms are different. Being comfortable with how we do things is pretty easy when we only hang out with women who do things like us. It can be a little more tricky when you're friends with people who do things differently than you do. I don't like the comparison trap. I don't like feeling like I'm not good enough or I'm not doing things right. Honestly, motherhood comes with a lot of pressure. (Confession: I wish I could be as creative as the Pioneer woman and make culinary masterpieces while my children are helping with the chores.)
Here's the truth: I can't be "good enough" all the time. I get frustrated. I get upset. I get tired and decide to have pajama-and-movie days with my kids. I'm probably running a 'B' right now on the mom scale. (Can we grade on a curve?) I'm enjoying this journey but it's wearing me out.
Last night, after I finished cleaning the kitchen and the kids were in bed, I looked around at my relatively clean and quiet house. (That only seems to happen after 8 pm.) And I felt happy. Because this is my home and this is my family and my kids love me and Jeff loves me. And I took a minute to thank God for what I have. I've mentioned before that I feel more content when I'm intentionally being grateful. I am so thankful for my kids. I am so thankful that my house is warm and comfortable. I am thankful for my job, for my car, for my family, for my faith.
I encourage you to take a breath after a very long day. If you're struggling with contentment, thank God for at least one thing. If you're struggling with comparisons, remember that no one will love your kids like you do. You don't have to be the perfect mom. It's okay.
There's a verse that talks about God's mercies being new to us every morning. That's refreshing since I need mercy every day. You know what else that tells me? That God knew we'd need mercy every single day.
Accept that mercy when you feel like you've had a rough day on the mom scale. And start fresh the next morning.
Happy thoughts to you, loveys!