I saw a post on Facebook today that made me feel many things all at once.
It was a post by a mom in a large Facebook group known for its great toddler ideas. She posted some pictures about the elaborate “theme days” she does for her children once or twice a week. The days include themed meals, books, sensory bins, crafts, and other things; it looked so professional – and time consuming. It was amazing. It felt like something a preschool would do.
Before I saw that post, I was feeling happy that, despite being tired, I had made a simple fort for the boys with blankets and the dining room table. It was out of the ordinary, and they enjoyed it (for a few minutes).
When I saw that post, I felt conflicting emotions simultaneously:
awe and inadequacy
inspiration and guilt
and, as usual, failure.
I recently blogged about how I don’t feel like being a stay-at-home mom is my forever calling. It’s not my skillset or my passion. Add in losing Tori, having twins, and then a pandemic that started when the boys weren’t even two years old and my motherhood journey has been a wild ride. We’ve had to make tough choices, question those choices later, and experience added stress because of being forced to parent in unique situations.
It’s so easy to scroll through social media and feel like a terrible mom because I’m not into themed days, elaborate crafts, huge birthday parties, daily field trips, etc. The thought of planning and adding extra things in is often overwhelming for me. I know I’m not alone.
I’ve been trying to catch myself when I get stuck in the comparison trap, when I see other moms mothering differently, because none of those things I’m comparing myself to make someone a good or bad mother. It’s easy for me to see people using their gifts and diminish my own because I am not skilled in the areas they are. But I’m working on that.
So today, as I caught myself feeling bad about my style of motherhood, I paused and reminded myself of these things:
- The mom who made that post genuinely loves doing these things with her children, and it’s okay that I don’t. That doesn’t make me a bad mom.
- I don’t remember my mother doing these things – we had many fun excursions but I don’t think they were weekly – and I still had a great childhood.
- My children don’t compare me to other moms (yet) and they are happy. That’s what matters.
- It’s not like my children never do fun things, it just may not be daily (or weekly) due to budget constraints, being a one-vehicle family, and the fact that they are twins which makes things more complicated in general. I still believe that they are having a good childhood. They appreciate the special outings or activities so much.
- I believe (for myself) that my job as a mother isn’t to be a preschool teacher or their entertainer – it’s to love them, nurture them, prepare them for adulthood.
“Comparison is a thief of joy” has become almost cliché, but it’s so true. And I wanted to take a moment to share the lessons I learned today in hopes that they will encourage someone else today (and maybe cement the lessons in my own mind a little more).
If you’re a mom who loves doing things like this post, that’s GREAT. Truly! I wish I loved doing these things and I know many moms who excel at these things. I simply have to accept that this isn’t my gift, and that’s great, too. I have so much to offer my children even though I’m not naturally-inclined toward themed days and abundant crafts.
I have to remind myself that my children won’t think I’m a great mom because I do crafts or field trips with them all the time. They will evaluate me by my love, and that is abundant in this home.
I think everything will be just fine.