I have found that in the past few years I have made the most changes, internally. I am not sure if its because of motherhood... or my thirties... or maybe just a mixture of both. But I have changed, my thoughts have changed, and my feelings have changed.
Today, I wanted to talk about the biggest change I have noticed. The unwillingness to compete. I feel like mom's are so hard on each other. When did motherhood turn into this huge competition? And when did moms start continuously judging each other?
Now I will start out by saying... I am guilty of judging other mom's. But within the past year... I have come to the realization that that its exhausting... and really doesn't do me any good... or that person. Its mean.. its cruel... and just plain wrong.
I will be honest with you... as a mother ... most days... I have NO IDEA what I am doing. I am really just giving my best guess on most situations. Most I relate back to my childhood and my parents... a lot of it was learned thru them. But other things... I am just winging it. But I am doing my best. Like all of you. Simply... doing our best. And really not knowing if I am doing it right... or wrong. And well I think most of us know... we are doing quite a few things right... and quite a few things wrong.
I do not claim to be a perfect mom. I will tell you I am far from it. I could use more patience... more one on one time.... I could learn to slow down. I could stand my ground more... make him eat his vegetables... not let him sleep in our bed almost every night... and not give into whining as I am guilty of doing sometimes.
But sometimes, I just don't want to. Even the things I know I should do. I have read online that I should do... people have told me I should do... I just... don't. To be honest, I love the fact that our son climbs into our bed almost every single day around 3am. I am in no rush for him to sleep independently throughout the night. And to be honest... its for selfish reasons. Because I know he is only this little for so long... and quickly he will not need me. So I soak it up right now. I soak up being his protector... the person he needs.
Sometimes... I don't want to fight with him to eat his peas. I just ... am tired. And its not worth it for me. I know I should. My parents made me eat my vegetables and I wonder how they managed to win. Because my son is stubborn. And I am not willing to have a 4 hour stare down after work. I don't get the privilege of staying home with him during the day. So the last thing I want to do is fight with him over peas at night. So some nights I choose not to. And I justify it... by thinking well he likes carrots, broccoli, and corn. So he eats some... whats the big deal if he doesn't eat his peas?
But the thing that kills me after becoming a mom... is other moms. It is almost like we need validation in our parenting from other moms. And when we realize that someone does it differently we find it necessary to point out why our ways are "better". When really... we don't know. None of us know. I think being a mom... you have to have insecurities. I mean... this is my most important job. Raising this little boy. And its stressful. You question yourself... am I doing the right thing? And when someone does something differently than you... it instantly hits your insecurity and we become defensive. The thing I have realized more and more... that just because they don't do it my way... does not mean they think my way is wrong. I have picked up so many tips and tricks along the way of just listening to other moms. They have ideas I never thought of... and some of it is ingenious.
I have found that competition among moms is not only in the way we raise our kids and those choices... but also financial competitions. Which seems absurd. People want to tell you what they spent on every single item they bought their kids. Tell you how much they make a year ... and etc.
The competitive factor among moms has gotten to a point of being exhausting. I have no willingness to compete on any level. Sometimes as a mom... I make bad choices. Sometimes I take the easy way out... Sometimes... I am a lazy parent. I am not perfect. I am not a mom that makes a crazy salary and that is why I work. I work to get by. To give my kid a better life. A life we would not have without that extra pay check. Being a working mom...there is no glamour in it... It is real, hard, exhausting... yet the most rewarding experience of my life.
I refuse to let other's peoples needs of self validation tamper with the most rewarding experience of my life. Being a mom... its hard. None of us are doing it right. Not a single one of us. But we are all trying. And rather than seeing each other as competition, maybe we could learn a thing or two from each other.
I refuse to compete. I have made a vow that when I feel like I am in a situation of competition to back down. Give them what they need. Because I have realized that most likely that person is not trying to convince you of how great their life is... their kids are... their job is.. They are actually convincing themselves. And the best thing I can do... is be supportive. Listen... and encourage them.
I have decided that because of this perfect image we have in our heads of how we need to be the mom that has the perfect career, the perfect wardrobe, the perfect home, the perfect children... the perfect wife. The wife that holds a full time career, comes home .. makes a three course meal... her children sit at the table and talk about their day... while eating all of their vegetables... after dinner sitting down and playing some family board games... never once turning on that TV... then tucking kids in at night.. where they willingly fall asleep without temper tantrums or holding their breathe until they almost pass out... after bed time... cleans the house... until it is sparkling... gets in a workout so that she can burn the calories to maintain her size 4 figure... etc.
Well I do not have that life... I have a child that rather than eating his peas will "accidentally" knock his plate off the table so that the dog eats it... A child that fights bedtime from 8-11 almost every single night... a child that cannot function without watching at least 1 hour of Ben 10 a night. And I am a mom... who realizes its okay. It's okay that I am not perfect. That we are not perfect.
Who has realized in the past year... as come to find that this quote hit me so close to home that it honestly changed me.
That embracing imperfections gives me a happier life. So what if I don't have a three figure career. because I get to leave my job at 5 pm every single day and go home to my family and be stress free for the night. So what if I haven't mopped the floors for almost two weeks ... because... I have been to lazy to muster up the energy in order to do so. So what if I haven't been to the gym in over a week because... I just think it is too cold to go outside and drive to the gym. So what... that I decided tonight I would lay on the couch and watch 2 hours of Ben 10 cuddling with my little boy...
I have decided to embrace my imperfections
Let go of the mom competition. not care if someone doesn't like the way I am doing something... because truth is... they don't know what they are doing either.
And as long as I am happy with my choices...
And I have a happy kid at home...
and a loving husband who makes me smile...
Life could not be anymore perfect.
** so next week I will begin my series on all the ways I do it wrong.