In many ways I feel I can confidently mother my children. I use a combination of instinct, trial and error, and research. In fact my oldest son teases me that my favourite literary genre is parenting. This isn’t true, but I do read a variety of parenting books to glean bits and pieces that may work with my children. However despite all the resources that help me be successful, I also have a really big saboteur. Comparison.
You meet a lot of wonderful parents along your own journey. Sometimes we cross the line from appreciating someone else’s ability to feeling badly about ourselves that we don’t measure up. Even worse: sometimes those feelings of inadequacy lead to bitterness and criticism. Unfortunately when we cut each other down we all lose.
No one parent is perfect. With our combined interests and abilities, however, we can lift all children. I could never do what some of my friends do, but I wouldn’t dream of stifling them because of my own envy. After all, the world is a better place because she can do things I can’t. (And it’s a whole lot less boring!)
I have one friend who possesses the innate ability to make childhood absolutely magical. Whether she is designing bedrooms or costumes, whatever it is she is doing, she takes everything to a whole new level. She has honed her skills both as a seamstress and a shopper so that she can achieve the look she envisions. It’s amazing.
I could never do what she does, but her work gives me and my children (not to mention her own, of course,) so much joy to see her creations.
I have several friends who are such consummate educators that they make me with I could be a student in their homeschool academies. Others revel and thrive in what feels to me like endless years spent on cold metal bleachers. Children of my more althetic friends can perform feats of stamina that leave me in the dust. I like to try my hand from time to time with crafts I find on pinterest. But I have crafty mom friends who can whip something up any time, anywhere, and have it come out perfectly the first time and every time.
As for me, I am an adventurer. I have aspirations to be more like my friends but I’m not good with the follow through. My children and I are happiest when we are on field trips or exploring some place new. It isn’t for everyone, and I admit we fail sometimes, but that’s where we are most likely to find our groove. I also find it effective in busting up funky moods and attitudes.
I’m not super-in-tune with my children all the time. I’m not always patient. I don’t serve up healthy, wholesome, delicious meals three times a day. Nor do I make instagram-worthy snacks. I definitely do not keep a tidy house. I don’t sign my kids up for all the things, and devote my days to chauffeuring them around. There are so many things my friends do that I don’t. And I’m fine with that.
I’m done feeling inadequate when I see my friends succeed. I will always try to incorporate some of their successes into my routine. However I refuse to compare my weaknesses to the strengths of others. I want to celebrate all mothers and all of the different ways we parent. Each of our children is different as is each mother.
How do you mother?