Monday, August 15, 2011

I know who I am.


The Fun Mom looks around her messy house, surrounded by piles of laundry beckoning to be cleaned, bills waiting to be paid, and dishes to be washed. Instead of succumbing to the chores, she shrugs her shoulders and thinks to herself, “Later. Summer isn't forever.” Then she shouts to her kids, “Let's go to the pool!”

The Cranky Mom feels the familiar tug of a whiny toddler pulling on her leg, begging to be carried. Again. She first ignores, and then she snaps, “Go play! Mommy is busy!” She doesn't mean these words, but she is cranky and overwhelmed, and the Cranky Mom is perpetually in need of a break.

The Overwhelmed Mom is packing for a family road trip, but instead of soaking in the joy of the impending vacation, she yells at her kids to get their stuff together. She moans over piles of laundry that need to be folded and packed. She strives to get the house clean before departing. She breathes fire if a child happens to casually ask her, “Um...Mom? My Nintendo DS is lost. Can you find it for me?”

The Joyful Mom relishes the ordinary. She knows that despite the chaos and the hard days, these precious moments with her children will not last forever. She looks at her family and her heart fills with joy, because life is good. She knows that she is exactly where she is supposed to be at in this moment in time.

The Selfish Mom buys a few boxes of the expensive, organic crackers and granola bars just for herself, and she stores them on the top shelf of the pantry, out of the reach of the grabby hands of her children. She knows that in a family, things are shared, but she this is one time that she is not willing to share. She wants something that belongs only to her.

The Selfless Mom buys a few boxes of the more expensive crackers and granola bars just for herself, and stores them on the top shelf of the pantry, out of the reach of the grabby hands of her children. But she knows her son is worried about a test at school that day, and she wants to make him smile. She writes, "Good luck! I love you! Love, Mom" on a napkin, and tucks it into his lunch box, along with one of "her" coveted granola bars. After all, in a family, things are shared.

The Martyr Mom looks around the messy kitchen and starts filling the dishwasher for the third time in one day. She looks out the window at her husband and children, who are running around the backyard and playing a pick-up game of baseball, and thinks to herself, “Sigh. Poor me. Everyone else gets to have all the fun while I do all the work around here.” She doesn't ask for help, however, because she would rather whine about the unfairness of the situation and carry all the problems of the world on her shoulders.

The Tough Love Mom knows that it is a beautiful, sunny day, and she would love nothing more than to let her children run around outside with their friends for a few hours before dinner. Alas, homework must be completed, and math facts must be practiced, so for now, the outside must wait. Her children whine and cry about her decree, but she sticks to it. She is tough, but loving.

The Nagging Mom asks her children to kindly hang up their backpacks and their coats. Then she asks them again. THEN SHE ASKS THEM AGAIN. THEN SHE ASKS THEM AGAIN. And repeat. She is a broken record that nobody seems to hear.

The Silly Mom cranks up the music on the iPod on the speakers in the kitchen and yells to her family, “DANCE PARTY TIME!” as The Black Eyed Peas remind her to get it started. She gets low. She backs it up. She walks it out. She pops it. She locks it. She shakes what her mama gave her. And her family joins in the fun.

The Worrier Mom bites down on her lip in apprehension after her son begs to ride his bike around the block. She knows her neighborhood is safe. She knows her son is responsible. But he is only 6 years old, and a neighborhood block feels like miles to her. She has visions of men in vans with tinted windows stopping her boy and asking him to help find a lost puppy. She wants to tell her boy, "No," and keep him in her protective fold forever. But she sees the longing independence in his eyes, and instead, a "Yes, but be careful!" escapes her lips. She sits on the front porch and watches her heart ride off down the street and disappear out of sight. She waits. And waits. And waits. In what seems like an eternity later, she spots a smiling 6-year old pedaling toward her. Her fears are allayed. For now.

The Overprotective Mom checks her teenage daughter's Facebook account. She gets to know her son's friends. She asks questions. She requires that bedroom doors remain unlocked. She gets to know the parents of her children's friends. She asks questions. She knows that she is not a friend to her children; rather, she is the mother. She limits computer access for her children. She tells her tweener, "Absolutely not, you may NOT have a cell phone." She asks questions. She knows when to say, "Yes," but she is never afraid to tell her child, "No." She asks questions.

The Patient Mom sits quietly on her 4-year old daughter's bed as her daughter attempts to read her first book. The words struggle to come out of her small mouth as she sounds them out with hesitation: “...aaaannnd...the...dogggg....r..rr...rrr....ran...” The Patient Mom strokes her daughter's hair and offers gentle encouragement, not caring or noticing that it takes her sweet girl almost 10 minutes to read one page. Learning takes time, and the Patient Mom has plenty of it.

The Regretful Mom tosses and turns in her bed one night, unable to sleep because of the negative thoughts and regret that plague her overloaded brain. She remembers the moment during the day when she tripped over yet another shoe that her children forgetfully left on the floor of the kitchen. Again. Overcome with frustration, she shouted at her children, “SERIOUSLY?!? SERIOUSLY?!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU KIDS?!? HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO PUT. YOUR. SHOES. AWAY. ?!?! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?!” Her diatribe continues as she scolds her children on their lack of responsibility, and she yells a little too loudly. She notices the fallen look in their eyes, but plows forward, leaving crying children in her wake. The regret of her tirade washes over her as she lays down to sleep, but sleep doesn't come.

The Proud Mom looks at her children in amazement and thinks, “How is it possible that my husband and I made such amazing human beings?” Her heart soars when she thinks about the people her children are becoming. She knows that despite the tough days and the self-doubt, she is doing something wonderfully right.

The Persistent Mom takes her son to the doctor because she is worried about the behavioral problems that he has been having. The doctor tells her not to worry, and that it's probably just a phase. But her instincts tell her she that it's not. His struggles have been going on for too long for it to be a phase. Her instincts tell her that something is up with her boy, and even if she has to switch doctors, she will find him the help that he needs. She is her child's best advocate.

The Appreciative Mom is on Facebook one evening when she comes across a page for a 6-year old boy suffering from neuroblastoma. His situation is grave, but his parents remain hopeful and prayerful. She offers up two silent prayers: one for the boy and his family, and another in thanksgiving that her own children are healthy. She is mindful of the preciousness of life and health and how fleeting it can be. Suddenly the messy playroom doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

The Busy Mom feels like she sees the inside of her minivan more than she sees the inside of her home. She daydreams of leisurely home-cooked meals with her family gathered around the table as she drives her children to and from yet another practice or lesson.

The Sentimental Mom chokes up when her 6-year old walks through the kindergarten doors by himself. He turns around and waves at her with a huge smile on his face, and not a single tear in his eye. His stature is confident, she knows that he is excited to begin this adventure. He no longer needs her with him every second of every day, and he is craving the independence that a full day at school will bring. The Sentimental Mom wonders at what point her newborn baby turned into this walking, talking, beautiful, independent human being.

Over the years, I have come to realize that I am the Fun Mom. The Cranky Mom. The Overwhelmed Mom. The Joyful Mom. The Selfish Mom. The Selfless Mom. The Martyr Mom. The Nagging Mom. The Tough Love Mom. The Silly Mom. The Worrier Mom. The Overprotective Mom. The Patient Mom. The Regretful Mom. The Proud Mom. The Persistent Mom. The Appreciative Mom. The Busy Mom. The Sentimental Mom.

I am okay with this.

I own it.

I am what I am.

I am all of these, rolled into one person that my children simply call, "Mom".

What I am not?

The Perfect Mom.

The Perfect Mom does not live here. 

4 comments:

  1. So true!! As I was reading this, I thought to myself, hey, I'm this mom! But I'm also that mom! Heck, that's me too!

    I read this quote somewhere (and I've been quoting it to everyone!): "There is no one way to be a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a good one."

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  2. This was really great Clare just great! I enjoyed every word, really related; because I too have been all those Mom's myself!

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  3. This is so true! I found myself in all of these, but you're absolutely right. There is no perfect mom here!

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  4. No perfect mom here, either!

    Love this! Motherhood is such an emotional rollercoaster.

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