There’s definitely a level of perfection we must strive towards as mommies. There’s this quiet competition amongst us that we all know about…yet none of us actually talk about.
How much did Sam weigh at his nine-month check-up? Oh really? Brandon is at the top of the chart as far as height. He’s going to be so tall!
Sally’s talking? Well, Kara has been saying full sentences for about six months now! We work with her every night. Oh, and Bailey is reading at a second grade reading level, and she’s only five!
Reading it, you realize how ridiculous it sounds. Yet, these are the conversations we have with one another every day. This, in turn, has us doing just about everything to ensure we aren’t the mothers with the children who’re left behind. I realized soon after having my first child that I wasn’t like most mothers. I have ADHD, so my attention span was shorter than either of my toddler’s. I have OCD as well, so if there’s a sink full of dishes….it’s nearly enough to send me over the edge. This already put me behind everyone else, at least in my own eyes.
I remember my sister telling me she spent an hour each night working with her daughter on letters and reading. So, of course, my niece was reading and writing before any other kids I knew. I felt guilty because I realized the only structure I’d set up like that at my house was reading a book before bedtime. I was far too busy between working full-time, commuting, and cooking a healthy meal every night to work in another hour of anything.
I felt terrible! My children were going to be behind in school! What if by not nurturing their precious brains, I’d actually held them back from future achievements? I thought this over for a few weeks. Maybe I needed to quit work. Maybe I needed to take medicine so I could be calmer and more focused at home. Maybe I needed to Google some home lesson plans we could implement into our nightly schedule.
One day after rushing both children to different places early in the morning so I could make a staff meeting, it finally occurred to me—my sister is a stay-at-home mom. She doesn’t work, nor does she have to commute anywhere. Her sole focus is her children and she loves that. But I pride myself in my work. I have to have my own identity as a professional and I like being able to take my family on fun vacations, or buy things when we need them and not have to think twice.
If I stayed home, I’d be crazy–and I’d drive them crazy. That’s why I pay for an expensive, yet amazing preschool…because I don’t have the patience to sit through a lesson plan each night. Plus, I think how scary it would be if I was in charge of teaching my child anything educational. My mind jumps from one subject to another, rarely thinking in a normal order of steps or workflow. While I may not be able to be Super Mom when it comes to home lesson plans, I do have great things to offer them. I cook well. I can find pride in the fact I cook healthy meals each night for my family. I take time to ensure each meal is balanced with lean meats, proteins, whole grain or whole wheat, and a fruit or veggie. And, of course, I smother them with affection.
Looking at other moms shouldn’t make us competitive, but rather, give us clarity on why being different in the way we all approach parenting works for each of us. It’s taken some time, but I’ve finally figured out it really doesn’t matter who’s reading first, or who’s growing the tallest. It doesn’t matter if you are a working or a stay-at-home mom. It doesn’t matter if you cook every night, or order takeout. You have to invent a life and identity as a mom that works for you, and your family. Perfection is in the eyes of the beholder…so let’s support one another in all creating our own.