While I was pregnant, I remember sitting in the rocking chair in my son's nursery and dreaming about what my life would look like a few short months. Like most moms, I imagined the picture perfect-Norman Rockwell-type version of motherhood. It was full of snuggles and patience, organic foods and homemade Halloween costumes. Every moment we spent together was full of intent, learning, and heartfelt conversations. I never lost my cool, never raised my voice, and my house was always clean. In a Steve Jobs-like parental philosophy, my child wouldn't grow up with technology. He wouldn't know what YouTube was and was never babysat by a screen. In the version of motherhood I imagined before I actually became a mom, I never bought character tshirts or pajamas. This is the type of mom I had always dreamed of and so very deeply wanted to be. And then my son came into the world, and it may have taken me a couple years to realize, but that mom that I had envisioned is not the mom I was destined to be. Sure, I sometimes feed my child organically, but I also don't scoff at eating food off the floor if it has been there for less than 5 seconds. I am usually pretty patient but there are definitely times where I lose my cool and tell my sweet boy that, "You are driving me crazy!" And I have come to believe that if a mom doesn't say grocery shopping is easier when their kids are in the cart with an iPhone in front of their face, they are down right liars.
Realizing I am not a Norman Rockwell mom was an epiphany that I had less than a year ago, around Valentine's Day. My son's daycare told us to send little valentines with the kids for their party so as I was walking the aisles of Target for the third time that week, I grabbed some Mickey Mouse ones and threw them in my cart. Valentine's Day Eve I had Will scribble in each one and secured them with a Mickey sticker. I dropped my son off the next day with a little red bag of valentines for all his friends and left pretty proud of myself. First Valentine's party: Check! I was only able to savor that feeling for about eight hours while I was at work because the minute I picked up my little valentine from daycare and looked in his Valentine's Day Mailbox, I was hit with a rush of inadequacy. HOMEMADE FELT SEWN VALENTINES WITH PERSONALIZED CANDIES AND PENCILS????? What mom had time to make this crap? We're all working moms, hence the need to send our children to daycare, so how did they find the time to do this? Are they robots? Do they never sleep? Are they better moms than me? I agonized over this for an embarrassingly long amount of time until my epiphany hit:
I'm just not that kind of mom.
I will always make personalized holiday cards for our family and friends and I will always throw themed birthday parties as long as my son wants but I will never find that much importance in valentines or Halloween treats for his class. Some moms find joy in that, and that is awesome, but I am just not that way. And you know what, moms? It is okay to not be every type of mom all the time. All you can be is authentically yourself and that is exactly what your child needs. It is okay to love Amazon Prime more than DIY. It is okay to like sitting with a glass of wine more than you love folded laundry. It is okay if your child walks around in a $20 store bought Halloween costume instead of an $80 homemade one. It is time we give ourselves some grace, mamas. We spend so much time worrying about what we are not that we tend to forget all that we are and all that we do. The important thing is that we love our kids and that we give them a happy childhood. Anything other than that, my friends? It's all just sprinkles on the cake.