Everyone should be living up the mom life after the first five mommy liberations. Who couldn’t use a little more mom freedom? Here are five more mom moments to keep you going:
Recognize the moms you’re trying to be are paid actors
No mom on the face of the planet does it all. No mom makes Pinterest crafts AND works out every day AND makes nightly from-scratch dinners AND cleans her home AND throws amazing parties AND rocks it in her career AND has a magazine-worthy home AND keeps in touch with everyone AND remembers every holiday/birthday/occasion AND coaches her kids’ teams AND volunteers AND responds to every email AND finds good deals AND is a fashionista AND showers every day. Find your thing(s) – limit 2 – and do them. Rinse, repeat. Skip the rest. The only people doing it all are paid actors.
Accept that your kids are not reflections of you
Raise your hand if you have no insecurities. That’s what I thought. I carry around this burden: my child’s output —> I guess I’m not so _____ after all. That some eight-year-old who is starting world-changing non-profits proves I’m not bursting with noteworthy character, because mine still argues with his brother. That a friend’s Kindergartner who is reading Harry Potter proves I’m not smart enough, because mine is still reading Biscuit. That toddlers who are already being scouted for varsity soccer prove I’m not so athletic, because mine still trips over cracks in the sidewalk.
Sure my kiddos have my genes. But they have a whole lot of other stuff. They’re a mix of us both. They also bear all the stuff that “skips a generation.” They’re still growing. They’ll have their own defining experiences. They live in a different world with different expectations, different comparisons, different options, different norms. They’re also 100% unique. One might have my dimples, my inability to get up in the morning, my loyalty, or my sweet tooth. But it’s mixed in with every other bit of their personality, fears, interests, preferences, experiences, and support system – each one is 100% them. They aren’t me. Why in the world would I put the pressure (explicit or implicit) to reflect who I am?
Don’t be ashamed of your kid-related guilty (dis)pleasures
It’s okay that you don’t like Goodnight Moon. It’s understandable that you’ve had unkind thoughts about Calliou. It’s acceptable that you want to kick Kidz Bop to the moon. There’s no shame.
Recognize that homemade ventures rarely turn out better or cheaper
You can cross homemade Play-Doh off your list. The stuff costs 97 cents. Is your time worth 32.3 cents per hour? Because it’s going to take you three hours to gather/purchase supplies, prep your work surface, wrangle an eager “helper,” make the darn stuff, and clean the inevitable Pinterest fail out of every nook and cranny of your child and home. Homemade fruit snacks can’t shake a stick at the deliciousness of a Wal-mart Fruit Smile. If your child has ever tasted a real fruit snack, don’t think for a minute they’ll accept your healthy, DIY substitute. I once saw a pin for “73 awesome DIY toys.” I’m sorry, but a homemade, cardboard alternative is not likely to last a fraction of the time of its plastic competitor. Just sayin’.
Now, I’m not dissing DIY altogether. I start to drool at some of the cool stuff on Pinterest, too. Admittedly, I have five Pinterest tabs open right now. Very cool projects I’m hope to do, but probably never will. Here are my three main criteria if it’s worth doing yourself: (1) if it would be significantly cheaper to do yourself AND have an 80-90% quality match, (2) if what you want can’t be purchased to your specifications. (I once “made” Mater’s Tall Tales birthday supplies, but only because they didn’t exist anywhere), and/or (3) if DIY is one of your (two) things (see #1 above).
Use cliche mom-phrases with zero regret
Because I said so.
Carrying zero clout for centuries. The Mom “so” means nothing to anybody. It’s an invitation to “why” you to death and to continue the conversation. But use it because it feels air-tight and point-making. It’s not. But, like that fifth and sixth Thin Mint, it feels oh so good for a minute.
I’m not going to say it again.
You are going to say it again. You’re going to say it again and you’re going to say it louder and angrier. You’re going to say it as many times as it takes before something changes. But go ahead and let them call your bluff.
I can’t hear myself think.
You can hear yourself think. But the problem is, all you are thinking is about how you can’t hear yourself think, which isn’t even a thing. It just takes you to dark places, so it’s best to just yell this to get things moving.
I’m counting to three.
You are counting to three, but you aren’t opposed to counting to five or two. Again, whatever it takes. Mix it up. Say you are counting to three, but start at seven. See what happens.
Someday you’ll thank me.
They will thank you. But mostly for using all these horribly cliche phrases enough times that they now remember to use them, too.
So which is most liberating for you?