I want to be a different kind of mom.
I had such a narrow view of my parents when I was a kid. They were teachers, singers, church types, and most of all, my parents. I didn't realize they had hopes and dreams, or whole lives beyond what I knew of them. I don't want my kids to think of me that way.
Of course, I was wrong about so much. Like that surprises anyone. My parents are actually much more interesting than what I thought when I was little. But I still want my approach to my kids to be very different than theirs. Interestingly, my parents have watched enough Dr. Phil at this point that there are things they wish they'd done differently, too.
Looking back to how I had it all planned (you know before I had kids and knew
My parents were more than who I assumed them to be, and not everything I wished they were. Which is how I usually feel about myself. If I'm ever the person walking along a path and naming flowers, it's not going to be soon. Right now I'm just not that outdoorsy and I don't have the time to learn.
I can't be Betty Crocker, Mrs. Brady, and Samantha Stevens all rolled into one 21st Century Mom. Not only is it not practical, it's just not... me. To be honest, I'm kind of sick of beating myself up over who I'm not. Though I am pretty good at. Years of practice and all.
So who or what can I be instead?
I will be the mom that is willing to talk about anything. I will be the mom that my seven year old daughter felt comfortable enough to ask if boys can be lesbians (very interesting conversation, by the way). I will be the mom who thinks the big adventure for the year is taking the kids to a Sci-Fi convention. I will be the mom who's not afraid to let her kids explore themselves, their faith, their world. Who knows, maybe I'll be the mom that their kids friends feel like they can talk to. I don't know. But I do know that the sum of who I am cannot be put into how many hours of TV my kids watched this week, or any of the other arbitrary standards we put on ourselves to decide who's a good mom and who isn't. Equally it can't be based on the standards I set up for myself when I didn't know jack about being a mom.
I think it's possible to be the mom who knows her own limits, and instead of crying over what she can't do, enjoys what she can. A mom who's resourceful enough to know that if the kids want the low-down on Physics, I have a friend for that. If they want to learn to sew, I've got another friend for that. If they want to know what it's like to live the life of a writer, I have several friends for that. If they want to dance the Sun up on May Day, well, I have a whole group of friends for that. I'm pretty sure I've even got the friends that will happily take them to get pierced and tattooed. Though I think I'd like to be along for that ride. And I'll be the mom who's there for them always and who they can count on.
My kids are still going to be kids. Ciaran punched his brother in the nose yesterday (drew blood and everything) and then asked me if I thought his shirt was pretty. They are all individuals. They're going to screw up, make mistakes, do things that irk the crap out of me, and sometimes they're going to be just plain wrong. At the same time, if they see that I'm strong enough to accept myself, working out the things I want to improve on, and accepting the parts of me that are really just fine the way they are, maybe they'll learn to do the same.
Of course that begs the question, can I really do that? Be that person who's content with who they are while still trying to improve themselves?
What if we don't have to be just right (not even the ever-popular perfectly-imperfect) to teach our kids? What if we can just be ourselves, knowing that who we are isn't static, but is always changing and that we're still growing up? I think it's possible. I just have to step out into that knowledge with a little trust in myself and a little faith.