I don’t know why, but people seem to think that I have it all together and that I’m organized and confident. From the outside, it looks like I manage to raise my three kids, keep a house, and write all at the same time without any problems.
But what people don’t see is how much I struggle. Parenting often feels like figuring out how to sail a yacht without even knowing anything about sailing. As for the writing, people just see the successes while the failures are only mine to witness.
However, I do manage to sit down and write, read a book, and get free time to do nothing. Maybe that’s what makes people think I have superhuman powers. But I don’t. In fact, I am just a mom.
Being just a mom doesn’t mean completely losing yourself in motherhood and letting it take over the majority of your day. In fact, it means just the opposite.
To me, being just a mom means the following:
–Keeping my kids safe and alive
–Making sure they are dressed in weather-appropriate clothing (color-coordinating is optional)
–Feeding them and making sure they get plenty of sleep
–Making sure that they are productive and well-adjusted members of society
That’s it. I know that for some people, motherhood comes with a plethora of other complementary jobs, but that’s not how it works for me.
–I am not a chauffeur. In fact, I don’t even drive, and besides, I am way too lazy to bring my kids to after-school activities.
–I am not a teacher. I leave my kids’ education to school. Yes, I was the one who taught them to read, and yes, education is very important to me. I check their homework but they have to do it by themselves.
–I am not a cook. I know how to prepare and serve delicious food, but I do it for myself and not for the kids. I simply enjoy cooking, but I’m also perfectly happy to serve them hot dogs or ready-made meals. And besides, sometimes the kids get to decide and sometimes they don’t. It all depends on my mood.
–I am not a maid: I do the laundry and clean, but having a sparkling, perfectly tidy house is not a priority to me. I make my kids clean up after themselves, and I teach them to do chores so that they can do them by themselves one day. We also have a cleaner who comes in every week.
–I am not a psychic. I don’t think it’s my job to always know what my kids want or need. I will not worry about their behavior or whether or not I’m scarring them for life. There are better things to worry about.
–I am not a detective. I am not responsible for finding stuff in the house or figuring out whodunnit. If they lost it, it’s gone and they need to learn how to manage conflicts between siblings.
–I am not a playmate or an entertainer. The kids have toys and other things to keep them entertained and happy. Most importantly, they have each other and their friends. They are also allowed to watch YouTube videos or play on the iPad.
This way, being just a mom leaves me free to do the things I really enjoy besides being a mother, like reading, writing and meeting friends.
I know some women love being totally taken over by motherhood. They genuinely love art projects, driving their kids to after-school activities and back, and organizing Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. These moms feel that staying at home simply taking care of the little ones is the most important thing they can do for their children. For some, it’s a sacrifice. For others, it’s a deliberate but joyful choice.
For me, however, it will never be enough, and after years of beating myself up for this, I’ve finally had enough. I am just a mom, and that’s more than enough.