As I pulled the peanut butter muffins from the oven the other night at 9 p.m., I thought, “Now, this is the kind of mom I am.”
Yes, I am that mom who bakes. I’m also the mom who cooks dinner every night. I “spoil” my family a bit by making them breakfast, too. Sometimes.
But I don’t make breakfast every day, at least on school days. And I do NOT get up early so it can be fresh. No, if I feel like making breakfast on a school day for my husband and kids, I make it the night before so I can sleep in. Muffins will still be tasty but not hot from the oven, guys. Either you eat them cold, or you can have them warm if you give ’em 12 seconds in the microwave.
I’m the kind of mom who does things on my own schedule, at least when it’s possible.
I’m not the kind of mom who does everything I find on Pinterest. It’s fun to browse and get ideas for cool projects or decoration or holidays or … whatever. But I’m not fool enough to think I need to actually DO all that stuff. Honestly, I think Pinterest has just upped the ante yet another 10 notches on what seems to have become competitive parenting.
I am the kind of mom who reads to my kids, or has read to them for much of their young lives. I can’t help it; I love books. I have shelves and shelves of them. There are bookshelves in all the bedrooms, as well as the living room and office.
I’m not the kind who schleps my kids to all kinds of activities and lessons. Two of my girls take piano lessons. And that’s it on the scheduled stuff. My philosophy is the old-school one that holds that kids need plenty of free time to find their own way, be creative, play, figure things out on their own. Plus, I just don’t have the money to pay for gymnastics, dance, etc., and I don’t have time and energy to taxi them around nonstop after 3 p.m. They don’t play organized sports, either. I love to exercise, and I want them to be active, but I admit I’m personally not very good at sports. So, yeah, that’s kind of influenced my parenting. But my girls have plenty of opportunity to play and be active. We have a pool in the back yard, a swingset and slide, a basketball hoop, and other outdoor play stuff.
I’m a mama bear when I need to be. Some things that happen to my kids (at school, primarily) make me instantaneously morph into werebear. But the rest of the time, I try to let them figure things out themselves. I am not going to step in and take care of little details. I don’t have time and energy for that, and they need to learn. Simple as that.
I’m the kind of mom who still spends plenty of time reading. If dinner’s half an hour later than our “usual” time sometimes, so be it. If I’m sitting at the computer writing or doing my freelance editing, they know they will not get a welcoming response if they ask me something that isn’t truly urgent. And it almost never is, believe me.
It’s difficult to have a “life of my own” (which is still a fluid concept, open for definition and tricky to pin down) with four daughters, from a high school senior down to a first-grader. But I certainly do try. If I don’t get some free time, some quiet time, some space to myself to regenerate and let my mind wander and my body rest, I am a prickly, mean mom. So for the happiness of everyone, I need that time to myself. Balancing the right amounts of that is, again, tricky. But they know that I need it and I know they feel the difference in the atmosphere when I haven’t had “me” time.
I’m that kind of mom. I nearly wear myself out for my family much of the time. I’d do whatever is necessary to do what’s best for them. I absolutely ADORE my girls. I am in awe of them. They are beautiful inside and out and amazing and talented and funny and sweet.
But I’m the kind of mom who will never say “my children are my life.”
Right now, of necessity for their well being, their needs take up much of my time and energy, but I am still ME and have a SELF that’s not defined by being their mom. I have a life, and my children are a big part of it. I love that. I chose that. It’s seriously hard work. But I’m the kind of mom who values my individuality and still has goals that don’t directly involve my kids.
Yep, I’m all kinds of things. On some fronts, I’m the kind of mom who “does it all.” On others, I might seem to do too little. But I’m a great kind of mom.