If you’re like me, for right or wrong, I compare myself to other moms. A lot.
Much of what I read is written by moms or to moms, and their stories give me cause for pause. They do daily devotions with their husband and kids? After dinner? (How do they keep those wild banshees at the table?…my kids barely sit to eat…) Photos by moms doing yoga with their little ones strapped to them or sitting on their stomach? What? How? (I go to work out simply to leave my children behind for an hour!)
But here’s the real truth. The real deal. As a mom, I CANNOT BE GREAT AT EVERYTHING. AND THAT IS OKAY.
Mama, I’m going to free you: stop trying to be super mom and do it all! You weren’t created to do it all!
If I try to keep up with what every mom exclaims is the way she parents best, I am exhausted before I even try. The mom who do yoga with their kids? That works for them and they enjoy it. The mom getting the kids together for devotions? That is their sweet spot, something important to them, a tradition that adds value to them.
I want you to watch your parenting today. Pretend you’re a reporter taking notes. Watch what tasks you enjoy most. Pay attention to the areas in which you excel. Maybe it is playing school with your young son, and you let him be the teacher and you the student. The game goes on and on as he enjoys giving you assignments (aka telling you what to do), but you gladly relinquish the boss role as you play the young pupil. Maybe you enjoy teaching, and you home school your kids, and that is your jam. Preparing the daily assignments is life-giving to you, and accomplishing those projects is exhilarating. Maybe you are an outdoor person, and you could hang out in the backyard exploring and throwing the ball and laying on a blanket in the sun all.day.long.
Let me tell you what my jam is. I love reading, and I love reading to my kids. I have read entire series aloud to each of my kids, creating memories (I hope) of laying in bed together soaking up the Chronicles of Narnia, Mysterious Benedict Society, Flora and Ulysses, and many more. Those times are precious and sweet to me. I hope I nurtured a love of exploring new worlds through words on a page.
But there are other areas in which I flat-out struggle. I can play Barbies…I mean, I can dress Barbies and set up their house, but having them plan a party? And talk to each other? I’m done. I will be the dresser, okay?
I’m also not an outdoorsy person, and I have come to grips with that. That doesn’t mean I don’t go outside with my kids; but it’s not what makes me come alive.
So when other moms tell you about what makes them come alive, and how they love doing art projects all over the kitchen, and you’re secretly cringing inside… celebrate the gift in them, that they are giving their family. But don’t take it as pressure that you too must create art in your kitchen; that is THEIR joy, their gift.
I’m reminding us all, all the moms, that it is okay if we don’t do everything. It’s okay that I’m not good at everything. I’m really good only at a few things, and then there are lots of things I’m decent at. I’m choosing to focus on WHAT I BRING TO THE TABLE that is uniquely mine and I will celebrate that thing.
I want you to think of this thing as a GIFT you are giving to your child(ren).
- You are giving them a love for volunteering.
- You are great with animals and you’ve passed that love to your children (trips to the zoo and humane society are life to you!)
- You love to cook, and you periodically let your children each help you make dinner. You love that they know how to make some simple dishes, and that makes you grin.
- You love to explore your city with your kids, wander the farmers’ market, try the latest restaurant. Maybe you will inspire your children to be adventurous and travel and try new things.
- You’ve played sports your whole life and now your son and daughter love nothing more than a pick-up game of kickball or whiffle ball in the back yard. Mom’s the pitcher!
- You are an organizer and a cleaner, and you have taught your kids how to to do laundry and clean virtually anything in the house. You are excited because you know you have prepared them for adulthood. Well done, mom!
What is your unique gift you are giving to your kids? Stop comparing someone else’s gift to something that is not a gift for you. Don’t tell me you don’t have a unique mom-gift! We all do! We each bring our unique selves to being a mother, and it’s not going to look the same for everyone! We cannot undo our unique God-given makeup. Don’t be bashful! Celebrate your gift!
And give freedom to the other mamas. Stop expecting them to do the thing you do so well. Maybe it’s not even on their radar! Instead, look and learn and see what they do well…and celebrate them!
Tell me in the comments what you think your unique Mom-gift is! I’m going to celebrate each one!!!