Ever feel like there is a lot of pressure to be perfect? To have the perfect house, the toilets shiny, the table crumb-less, the toys all in proper places, the front entrance organized, laundry folded and put away, no stray objects on the floor, beds all made, kitchen floor un-sticky, chairs food-less. To have perfectly behaved children, that are dressed sharply, have clean faces and well brushed hair? To have the nice clothes, makeup and your own well brushed hair? To feed your children fresh home cooked meals every day, to earn a good living, to do the perfect advent, to give to the needy, do every angel tree you see, to have a stink-less, food-less, crumb-less and clean vehicle, to have a yard that is raked and mowed and toy-less. Ever feel that pressure?
I do. I have nearly every day of my mothering life. The choice was made that I would stay home with the children and raise them, as whatever income I did make would go to childcare anyways and I was never really keen on having someone else raise my own children. My dream was always to be a mother. My life goal. Yet nearly every day there was always pressure that I should earn a living. Make some money. I spent 5 years of motherhood skimping, making ends meet, saving, selling, surveys, mystery shopping, teaching, babysitting and whatever else I could get my hands on without paying a babysitter or leaving my children for too long. Yet with so much effort going into the worry and anxiety and production of making what little means I could, my children ended up neglected anyways.
All my attention was on the stress of not being good enough and everything else got pushed to the side. When really my number one goal was to be a mother I made my number one goal provision, yes a mother is to provide, but in my situation I didn’t have to be the provider. I let the guilt of it sink in and change my vision for what my ultimate desire for motherhood was.
Even until yesterday, 2 years after our provider left, I still had that focus.
I always knew the house wasn’t as important as the children. I always knew that one day I would miss the messes, I would miss the children when they grow up. I know my opportunities for games before bed, for sitting on the floor to play potato head or paw patrol or barbies was not going to be there forever. My time for reading every night before bed, for washing them in the bath, for sitting at the table with them while they eat instead of tidying up, for helping them get dressed instead of letting them do it while I move on, for sitting with them while they paint and enjoying their creative process instead of doing a chore in the moment of freedom. I know and knew these times were limited, but I never ceased to put the tasks, to do lists, chores first. I always said, “I’ll play when I’m done the dishes”, “when I’m done vacuuming I’ll help you,” “when I’m done this job on the computer I’ll read to you,” “I just need a moment to sit (on Facebook) then I’ll play barbies” which lead to yet another excuse all the way up to 5 minutes before bed of rushed playing.
It is not the way I dreamed of mothering. I dream of relationship, fun, time spent together, being their hero that they look up to, being their role model. Why would they want to be like me when I always portray that chores, tasks, work is more important than time spent with them? I don’t want to be me, that person that I’ve been too much of.
There is so much pressure to have the perfect house, to have it all together. Let’s just get honest here…In my life there is so much pressure to get off of government living. To provide for my children on my own accord and in two years when my youngest is in school I will have to do that, but it has always been a pressure I put on myself that I hate living this way and I want to get off of it now. Leaving me frazzled and anxious and less of an awesome mother.
Then my dream of motherhood was revived and encouraged. I just finished Chip and Joanna Gaines book, The Magnolia Story. Their story is amazing and encouraging. One of the biggest things I got out of it was to trust God and just be. It’s ok to have a messy house so that you can play with your children. It’s ok to to be ok with where you are financially and take this opportunity to raise your children. It’s ok to be like jello and let things people say or think about your parenting slide. Your parenting is between you and God, not you and other peoples habits, ideas or criticism. Basically my ideas of how to mother are perfectly wonderful and to get back on that path of sitting and playing, and doing things together, and use imaginations, and cook together, and clean together, and dance together, and paint together and embrace the mess that follows them and it’s ok. Cleaning can wait until they are asleep or out. Planning sermons, kids lessons, work ideas, writing, organizing, budgeting, list making can all wait until they are all tucked snug in bed content with the amount of mommy time they received.
Facebook is worthless compared to my real live children. TV is not often quality time. Being together, doing things together, sitting together, holding each other, kissing each other…that is quality time and that is what motherhood is all about.
Be the mother you dreamed of being and forget what any one else’s ideas of it are. You are the best mother for your children and you rock it just the way you are. Not get so caught up with where you want to be that you forget it’s ok to be and live where you are.
I’ve done them before and I resolve that I will do them more. Here are some of my happy mommy moments.