Not That Kind of Mom

I have a friend who plans amazing, Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. She is crafty and clever and can carry out a theme like it’s her life’s mission. She will scour Etsy for the perfect cake topper and spend hours upon hours making beautiful tissue paper flowers, rustic banners and assembling invitations. The cake will be beautiful, the food delicious and the games will be a hit with every kid at the party.

I am not that kind of mom.

I have another friend who is the outdoorsy-type. She takes her kids exploring in the woods and rock climbing and caving. She points out bugs skating on ponds and the worms that hide underneath rocks. Weekends with her family are spent camping, hiking and canoeing.

I am not that kind of mom.

I also have a friend who excels at sports. She teaches her kids how to play baseball, basketball and soccer, and they’re always the best on their teams. She can execute a perfect flip on the trampoline, and her tricks off the diving board at the pool are most impressive.

I am not that kind of mom.

It’s hard sometimes not to be envious. I wonder if my kids feel like they’re missing out on something; if they notice that their birthday parties are less glamorous and their days are less adventurous. I watch all of these other women who seem to be mothering better than me, and I feel a little embarrassed. The embarrassment snowballs until before I know it, I’m irrationally upset with myself that my daughter’s cupcakes will come from Publix instead of being hand-crafted by me. Then my irritation sets in. Crying over baked goods? I’m certainly not that kind of mom.

Comparison is the thief of joy, but I won’t let it rob me. These fabulous friends of mine are just being themselves, after all. Pinterest Mom is at her best when she’s being creative. Nature Mom lives for the outdoors. Sports Mom is exactly that athletic. They’re not putting on a facade or pretending to be something they aren’t. They’re simply embracing what it is they love and sharing that passion with their children. And by doing so, they’re loving their kids bigger, harder and more completely than they ever could otherwise.

What does my best love look like?  I’m the mom who can spend all afternoon reading book after book to the child tucked into the crook of my arm. I’ll contentedly spend an hour side by side coloring pictures, using every single crayon in the box. A perfect rainy Saturday means a morning in the kitchen, baking up something yummy with  a “special helper” and covering every available surface with flour. There are usually giggles and there’s always a hefty amount of cleanup. These are the moments of mothering that I store up in my heart, the ones where I feel like I shine instead of faltering like I so frequently do.

These are also the moments that can get lost in the day to day grind of it all. I must remember, though, to make the time in the midst of the caring and tending and raising of these precious babes. Bit by bit, I will pass along little pieces of what I love most, and pray it blooms a passion in their lives, too. It won’t necessarily be what Pins well or what looks good on Instagram. But it’ll be the parts of me that they remember once they’re grown, the lessons they learned and moments we shared that they couldn’t have had with anyone else.

There will likely never be an elaborate birthday party in our house. You won’t find anything in the  way of decorations that you can’t find in the aisle of your local Party City. Despite many hours spent attempting to learn otherwise, I will probably always throw like a girl. And heaven knows you’ll never catch me inside a cave on purpose. But when my children’s eyes light up when the words on a page weave a story of magic and wonder, when I watch them beam with pride as they present their “artwork” to someone they love, when they scarf down dinner because they helped make it – it’s a breathtaking thing, really. I’ve found a way to pass along a part of me to become a part of them. I’ve become more than  the cooker, cleaner, diaper-changer and tender of boo-boos.

I’ve become a mom.

 

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