What special skills do you have as a mom? Are you leaning into those skills and using your strengths to be the best mom you can be? Embrace the skills you have and worry less about being the perfect mom or a “type of mom” that doesn’t necessarily suit your skill set. We all have the skills required to be the moms our children need.
Sometimes I feel like moms (and parents in general, but probably more often moms) put a lot of pressure on themselves to be a certain kind of mom. Maybe they’re even trying to be every kind of mom.
I’m not a parenting expert, social scientist or psychologist by any stretch of the imagination. But I suspect a meaningful contributor to stress in our lives (and the feeling that our lives are more complicated than we might like them to be) drives from attempts of trying to be something we’re not.
Stop Comparing Your Everyday to Someone Else’s Highlight Reel
We know that movies, TV and especially social media constantly reinforce caricatures of others that leave us feeling bad about our own realities. We compare our good, bad and middle to everyone else’s best, and then we feel like we’re coming up short, like we’re not enough.
Social media in particular is a highlight reel, not typically a representation of our everyday and certainly not a tour through our dirty laundry. So then, should we wonder why comparing our everything to some else’s Top 10 feels so crummy sometimes?
What Are You Good At?
Let’s not strive to be something we’re not. I’m a believer in continuous improvement and self-development, so I’m not suggesting we all just sit on our duffs and let life throw us its punches. But instead of constantly working on our “weaknesses” and trying to be as good at everything as everyone, let’s lean into our strengths and bring the best we can to our world and our children with the gifts and talents bestowed on us.
Let me explain.
I’m Not Good At “Playing House”
As a kid, I was never particularly imaginative. I have always been creative and insatiably curious but never really imaginative. I didn’t pretend much.
As a mom, I’m not much different. I’m not so great at playing with toys or making up games with my boys. Instead, I prefer to cuddle up and read piles of books with them, dive into a simple craft project together, or make a mess baking a batch of cookies (mess optional, but let’s be honest, kids with art supplies or kitchen utensils is a guaranteed mess). I’m happy to dole out “mini massages” (basically back rubs with a bit of massage pressure to calm their little bodies). And I’m always game for a good ol’ internet search to answer one of their many pressing queries.
During the last month, the boys and I have taken on a handful of projects together. They’ve been dying to learn how to sew, and we finally made aprons for them. I did substantially all the sewing, but they helped me cut and iron the fabric, push the machine pedal, and clean up the scraps. Baby steps.
They’ve been particularly interested in ninjas after reading several books about them, especially The Ninjabread Man, so we baked and decorated ninja cookies. The baking went well. The decorating may or may not have been one of my less-than-stellar parenting moments of late.
For the holidays, we made and hung up paper stars to decorate our kitchen. T wants to add some above his bed. TBD on whether or not that will happen. I don’t mind, but he may move on to his next big idea before that comes to fruition.
My boys ask all sorts of questions about how things work, what things are and why. I do my best to entertain and encourage these curiousities by helping them test out their “theories”, try new things, look up answers and pictures on the Internet. If they want to dive down a rabbit hole about how their favorite sports car works or why the moon is sometimes skinny and sometimes full, I’m all about pulling up Ecosia to find us some answers.
When I’m Not Getting The Call To The Plate
In some respects, however, I take a seat on the bench while M steps up to the plate. When the boys want to play cars, build Legos, or play sports, I encourage them to find their Dad. Those activities are right up his alley. He’s way more fun than me in those capacities.
I’m just not that great at those things.
Then, when they’re ready to explore or create, sign me up. Put me back in the game, coach!
Accepting The Kind of Mom I’m Not
I’d be killing myself emotionally if I tried to be the make believe mom or the wrestling mom. It’s just not who I am and never has been. I bring to my boys lives, hearts and minds the contributions that come naturally to me. Luckily for me, M brings a whole different set of skills to the family so our boys get another package of “parenting-ness” from him.
Parent or not, I think this principle applies more broadly as well. Whether it be as an employee, a teammate, a family member, a friend, or a community member, we offer the biggest bang for our “effort buck” by putting our talents to their highest and best use.
I’m the internet searching, cookie baking, book reading, art making mom. What kind of mom are you?
P.S. If you’re interested in making these cookies, they’re pretty good (if I must say so myself). I included the cookie recipe below and shared the icing recipe with this cupcake post.
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 5½ cups flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine butter and sugar and mix until creamed.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Mix.
- Add sour cream and mix again.
- Combine salt, baking soda, and flour, and then add to mixture.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface to about ¼" thick. This thickness helps keep them soft after they are done cooking.
- Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place dough on a cookie sheet. Sheet should be sprayed with cooking spray or cookie dough set on a silicone baking mat to prevent from sticking to the tray.
- Bake for 7 - 8 minutes. The cookies will not look done. This is okay! It keeps them soft. If the edges start to turn golden brown, they have baked too long.