My sweet, one-of-a-kind family.
Mother’s day is a tricky holiday to celebrate. There are joys and sorrows, successes and failures, gains and losses. At the core, I don’t think it’s meant to be a measuring stick day – but that’s what it has felt like to me in the past.
Come on and line up against the wall and we’ll mark the growth in your mothering – I hope this year you compare better to that mom…
I feel like I wake up every Mother’s Day into a dream – like the ghosts of Mother’s Day past – reviewing my year as a mom. Silently praying my kids will still love me when they wake up.
I turn Mother’s Day into a pseudo “January 1st.” Making mental lists of resolutions. Behaviors I need to change, feelings I need to address, new habits I need to form.
Before I’ve even braved into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, I’m already weighed down and feeling defeated.
Enter my sweet children with their handmade cards, flowers, candies, treasures they picked out for me themselves at the dollar store, and smiles – laughter and delight floods the room as they jump and hug (at the same time) – wanting desperately to excite me with their love.
My problem with engaging in the celebration of me was that no amount of new gifts could help me get rid of that old measuring stick.
This past year, I addressed my Mom-Identity-Crisis. I asked myself: as a mother – do I define myself by what I do or who I am? And I discovered that it is both, which proved to be not a cut and dry, easy answer to work through.
It was like finding my pulse. Activity raises it sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Doing and being live in balance. I found myself stopping often to check the pulse of my heart and mind – what am I feeling right now? What am I thinking about this activity?
This constant checking was useful in discovering what I actually enjoy doing – I could put a check by it and say I feel most like myself when I do this. I know that sounds a little silly but when I would measure myself against the measuring stick (I made from comparing myself to other moms) I never felt good enough.
- I wasn’t elegant enough.
- I wasn’t creative enough.
- I wasn’t organized enough.
- I wasn’t social enough.
When I based my identity on the measuring stick – my pulse was all over the place, racing then dropping. Busy then down and defeated. I beat myself up for all my “not enough” doing, not realizing that I was setting a being standard.
Elegance, creativity, organization, and socialization all flow from the spirit of a person. When my spirit was ignored for the sake of image, I lived out of balance. Full of the weights and burdens of becoming someone else.
Slowly I was able to change how I looked at myself. I determined not to read, watch, or listen to anything online if I was going to just compare or criticize. Who am I do judge myself by their standards or them by mine? Putting off the standard of doing allowed me the strength to gain inspiration from others. To put on the thoughts that build me into the woman I want to be. The woman my husband and children know and love.
This woman doesn’t cringe or hide from the Mother’s Day measuring stick. She knows she is different from other moms and is okay with that. She has a growing, healthy sense of self, and she checks her doing pulse often.
Balance is only possible when I accept who I am, and then base my doing on a foundation of strength and growth. Balance is also accepting who I am not, and crossing off the list of things to do anything that would be better left for someone else to accomplish.
This Mother’s Day, I look forward to my kids expressions of their love for me – just me, the mom they see every day and love anyway.
For more parenting with purpose inspiration – check out my post “How to Make Parenting Decisions with More Efficiency and Less Guilt.” I’ve included a free downloadable guide.