“Being a mom must be hard,” she says.
It’s true- to an extent. But I’ve got a dirty little secret for you. Sssshhh, come closer! That’s better. It’s not as hard when you’re a “bad mom.” I am a very, very bad mom.
I do not cook meals every night. I do not bake cookies half the day. I do not clean house by myself.
I don’t need to be with them every single moment of the day. That’s exhausting. I don’t have to cook for them every night; they aren’t even home to eat it every night. I don’t need to spend five hours making professional quality royal icing cut out cookies (and, frankly, this makes me suspect other moms know the truth when they have that kind of time).
I don’t need to sew them handmade Halloween costumes ever year, nor figure out how to make a butterfly shaped strawberry ice cream cake (yes, I had a mom ask how to do that. I dunno, bake some strawberry cupcakes and cut up strawberries in shape of butterflies if you want. Your four year old daughter will love that you did it, and she’ll forget you did it two days later).
Being a mother does NOT equal being a cook, housekeeper, and maid.
I am none of those things. I simulate the work of all of them…I play that role for my little ones and my family. But I am not any of those professions. Nor do I treat my roles the same as I treat my professional life.
If I were to hire a cook, I would expect full course meals. Quality. Me? If I’m tired, I tell the kids to eat cereal and leftovers and they’re perfectly happy. When I cook, it’s mostly dump ingredients in a pot and let it cook. I’d be pretty pissed if I paid a cook to do the kind of cooking I do. I’d want them to make fresh baked bread, jelly rolls, quiches, chicken pot pies and baked potatoes.
When I hire housekeeping services, I expect professional quality cleaning. Not, meh, I’m feeling tired today. Wiping off some surfaces, picking up some things off the floor, okay that’s good enough for today. What am I paying them for, after all?
So many toxic ideas of what it means to be a good mother! I wonder if motherhood is hard inherently…or because of that. I choose to leave most of that behind, while still being a good mother. More importantly, I have fun. Even being in this role as much as their own biological mother. Because I choose to make it so.
Being a mother is, gasp!, enjoyable for me!
I wake up in the morning, and I get up to wake the kids. Two of three. Master wakes up the boy child who gets ready in two minutes flat. I love the simplicity of helping choose outfits, make coffee, toast a waffle, throw together lunches. (Well, I’d love it more if I could sleep in an extra hour or two that stupid adult interference has forced on me, master, and the kids. The kids least happy about it of everyone.)But I do love how snuggly they are in the morning.
I love cheering them at games, and helping them learn about life. I love our traditions, such as playing games with the oldest on my phone or tea time with the younger two. Family evenings, with fresh popped corn and a favorite movie. I love spending time with them, but–
— when I’m tired, I take a break.
The kids are the first to be protective of my and their dad’s “me time.” Whether it’s a nap or going out to see friends. Because they know we’ll protect that time for them, too.
If things are not going quite as well as I think they might be, I can sit down and talk with them. And they can talk to me. Because we’re a family.
I love being a mother, as much as I love being a writer. And I intend to keep it that way. “Easy,” because life is hard. I don’t want motherhood to be one of the things that makes it hard. Sure, I’ll never get the flood of loves that many moms get. But I get the undying love of my munchkins. Which matters more to me than any number of likes. I also get my sanity. I cannot put a price on that.
I don’t want to give that up, certainly not for status or reactions on my “perfect mother” posts.
It’s okay for me to just do the best I can and allow myself some bad days, too. Because it’s not my job. My job is an entrepreneur and writer. Being a mom is my passion project– and I’m damn good at it, too! Probably better than I am at my job, if I’m honest.
Why ruin the best thing I have in my life– my family– by adding a slew of unnecessary tasks that my family doesn’t even appreciate?They are fine with me as I am. Without the homemade cookies waiting for them every day they come home from school. Without the immaculate home. Without me spending every waking moment by their side.
In fact, they’d think less of me if I did all that. Like I’m obsessed with proving something, rather than focusing on just loving them.
This doesn’t lessen my commitment to them, either.
I am their friend mom, which means I get to be their friend first, but I am also one of their moms. Which means I’ve made a commitment to provide for them, to do certain things for them– and I’m fortunate that it’s a mutually consensual relationship in my case, with my own munchkins.
I still make them breakfast (sorta, the oldest usually pours herself a bowl of cereal). I help them make lunches. I’m there to greet them when they come home (unless I’m too comfortable in my bed). I drive them when their dad cannot. I make sure they do the things kids are supposed to do. I even help them learn to cook and set a proper table.
I simply don’t worry if I forget to put up a birthday post (okay, maybe I do a little, but not enough to prioritize it over more important life obligations).
Like I said, I am not a social media mom. I neglect putting out pictures of the kids, of our home. I don’t consistently make holiday posts. I am a bad, lazy mom.
I hope you know that motherhood can be something that works for you, your partner(s), and your kids.
Love it or don’t love it, I don’t care. But for your children’s sake and yours, I hope you love it! Of course that’s up to you.
Focus on what matters.
Take pictures and craft whenever you have the time and whenever it makes you happy.
Do not yell at them; belittle them; fail to honor their personal boundaries; shut down their feelings; and generally make them feel like either a burden when they are not being perfect little “mini me”s.
Know that you can ask for help (I do! Besides having three other involved parents, I have friends and family. Great support networks are made, not born.)
And, most importantly, ask yourself this: