Mom-Guilt.

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Halloween 2017.

Nixon never gets sick, but when he does it's usually a Holiday or some other special occasion. haha Poor thing! Needless to say, after I spent about 10 hours and 2 nights in a row staying up until 2 am to make "the perfect costume", Nixon got sick the morning of Halloween.

We thought it was just a little headache so I dropped him at school so that he could show off his costume and participate in the festivities, but about 30 minutes later, Nixon was in the shcool Nurse's office with a fever of 100.3, ready to come home.

I walked into the office to check him out and Nixon came around the corner, tears streaming down his little smoke-stack-painted-face. My heart sank. He LOVES Halloween. He always loves playing dress up & pretend and Halloween is his chance to go all out and be anyone he wants to be. Even a ship.

Yep. I said a ship.

I have to be honest- after all that work, I was almost as disappointed as he was that he would not have a chance to even wear the costume I had worked so hard to make perfect for him. Nixon tends to go in different phases.... tractors, Star Wars, Minecraft, Titanic. He's the kind of kid that likes something and jumps in head first. So this year's costume presented an intersting challenge because Titanic is not exactly "popular" these days so I couldn't just order a costume online, and I don't really know much about building ships...

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I find myself making a costume for him every year. Mostly because in the past we haven’t been in the financial situation to buy such an expensive outfit for a one-day occasion, but also because of Nixon’s unique choice in interests, which I have to admit I love about him. I may not have all the riches in the world to give him, but I sure as hell have a lot of craft supplies lying around the house, and I love any chance we get to celebrate the unique things that make Nixon Nixon.  

I love doing stuff like this for him, because I feel like it teaches him if you work hard and want something bad enough, you can really be anyone you want to be; you just have to figure out a way to make it happen.

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In the process of cramming Nix’s costume design into the last-minute {as usual}, I found myself feeling stressed and acting unbelievably hard on myself; why did I not make this a priority so I wasn’t stuck doing it so last-minute? Why did I not know more about the details of the ship after hearing Nixon talk about it non-stop? ETC. (Which was all ridiculous because Nixon ended up being sick on Halloween and did not even get to wear the costume for more than 20 minutes!)

What an eye-opening moment for me. Everything I worried about quickly went out the window when all my focus shifted to just making sure he felt better. The costume was an after-thought, something no longer relevant after the next 24 hours. Though this feeling of self-inflicted inadequacy during the process of creating his costume was really nothing new,

I suddenly felt oddly awareof this familiar feeling.

I’ve been working with an amazing life coach recently (who also happens to be my best friend, lucky me!) and the other night on our weekly call, she pointed out something to me in a way I’ve never been able to see for myself.

Being a great mom is one of the top things on my list of items that are important to me as I’m mapping out my life (as I’m sure it is for most parents). It’s also one of the things I feel like I am failing at 90% of the time. But I’ve never really taken the time to ask myself why. What does “being a great mom” actually mean? And am I doing THAT?

Is this something all moms (OR dads  ) experience? This constant feeling of inadequacy?

But why? So many of the things we make ourselves feel guilty about are expectations we have set for ourselves based off of what we are told makes us a “great parent”. But what if we write it out? Write out what the true definition of being a great parent is. Are you really not doing these things? If you’re not meeting those goals, then make a plan to try harder or maybe realize you need to just go easier on yourself for not being perfect and some of those “goals” are unrealistic; ask yourself why you’re not meeting specific expectations…. Where is the “expectation” coming from?

Is it that you’re not doing the things required to be in-line with your vision of what it means to be a great parent? Or is it that your expectations are unrealistic (and perhaps a standard presented to you by someone else)?

This role society is playing in the raising of our children is now immensely inhanced by this vulnerability that social media brings on, this fear of judgement. Seeing the edited version of people’s lives has us comparing our worst to their best, and has people feeling courageous enough to speak up with no hesitation of remourse because they can hide behind the “safety” of their computer screen. No wonder we’re all feeling inadequate. It’s being ingrained into us that the world is constantly watching our every move and if someone else  doesn’t like what we’re doing, they’ll be sure to let us know.

We can’t do this to ourselves.

One of the biggest purposes of our Kindred Confidence Campaign at Kindred OAK is to help Mamas realize you are enough. Just the fact that you show up everyday, the fact that you feel compelled to be better today than you were yesterday, learning as you go- these are the things molding you into a great parent. The motivation and desire you have to want to provide the absolute best that you can for your child and the willingness you have to continue to learn what works and doesn’t work while you’re raising a human. Ya’ll, let me just say that again- YOU ARE RAISING A HUMAN. If you don’t know me, I’ve never been able to even keep a plant alive in the 23 years I was alive before having Nixon, so it’s a pretty damn big deal that we’re going on year six with a human.

I must being doing something right. Right?

So, on the days you’re feeling inadequate because the perfect Instagram mom made an entire sushi plate of origami animals with a side of vegetables that look like a village of people AND  her 6 kids actually ate every last bite…… Remember, that’s how she teaches her children love and creativity, but you show it through reading to your child every night before bed even though you’re exhausted and can’t wait to turn off the light, or through cooking them a perfectly nutritious meal even when all you want to do is slap down a PB&J, or by showing up to every school event because you know it’s important to them, or ____________________ (fill in the blank here). However it is you show them love and teach them, you are enough.

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We’re all different. We’re not better. We’re not worse. We’re all just doing the best we can with the information we have. Remember to celebrate your victories and learn from your challenges. By doing this, we are teaching them they can make mistakes and still be worthy of love. We are teaching them that there is beauty in being imperfect and unique.

Love your child(ren) and have a desire for what’s best for them. Know that what they learn the most will be set by your example to love yourself and be patient with yourself because we’re learning just as much as they are.

So be confident. Be the best parent that you know how to be no matter what that looks like for you.