We could all use a little mom liberation. Here are five things to get you started.
The crayons didn’t quit. The crayons didn’t go home. This is The Day The Crayons Got Pitched.
We all have it: a growing collection of broken bit, peeled-papered, dull crayons. Yours might be in a pencil box. A plastic cup. A drawer. A Zip-loc. But here’s the deal – they are all due for eviction. You can’t do it often enough. I’m not one of those melt-them-into-pinterest-gifts moms. I’m a pitch them all and start over. Call me a monster. Call me environmentally unfriendly. But at some point, the crayons just need to go. For your own sanity, fork over $5 and buy a whole new box.
Layoff the Mom guilt for using your phone.
Our moms didn’t have guilt for going to the mailbox, looking at photo albums, listening to the radio, checking the weather, reading a magazine, sifting through cookbooks, shopping, play a game, writing a letter, or jotting down notes. Just because today’s mom can do all of that with one handheld and that handheld looks an awfully lot like something their kids use for the SOLE PURPOSE of zoning out, doesn’t mean you’re not mothering your kids. I’m an advocate for putting the phone away at dinner or to give focused attention – much like a 1980s mom would have put down the mail to console or engage her child. But succumbing to mom guilt for reading an e-book at baseball practice, for scrolling Facebook on the couch, or carrying a phone at the park is a ridiculous standard no one was ever meant to maintain.
Toss the papers.
Not all of them, of course. But 99.9% of them. As a grown adult, do you want every sample of writing you ever did? Do you want 43 worksheets of you tracing the number “9”? Do you long to decorate your home in water color paintings you did as a child? Keep a small collection of your favorites. Take pictures of anything you hesitate to toss. Then toss it with the rest. Your space will thank you and your someday-adult children will thank you.
Remove the phrases “good mom” and “bad mom” from your vocabulary.
The number of times I’ve said it or heard it is cringe-worthy. In using those phrases, our hearts are right. We want to acknowledge our imperfections, mistakes, oversights, and even our questionable decisions. We drizzle them with these defenses or admissions or disclaimers using “bad mom” and “good mom.” We’re attempting to say “I did this… I know some won’t think it’s okay. I actually am not sure what I think of it. But I want to still be acceptable in my motherhood.”
Here’s the deal – saying we are bad moms when we do something someone (present company included) might deem “bad” or creating a false standard of some sort of “good mom” minimum isn’t helping anyone.
Are you a mom? Then you’re a good mom. How do I know? Because you are a mom. Being a mom comes with equal part hardships and perks.
Do we make bad decisions? Daily. But we make bad decisions because we’re making hard decisions. We’re making high-pressured decisions. We’re making decisions that affect others. Even the best baseball players only gets hits 3 times out of 10. In a day full of momming, we’re bound to slip. Are we selfish? Probably. Are we messing up our kids? Most likely. But all that is unavoidable. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try. I’m not suggesting we recycle our goals into irresponsibility. I’m saying stop the madness. Stop inviting in the idea that you’ve got it all wrong. Recognize you’re going to get it wrong but that you’re doing your best and that’s all anyone can ask.
Stop doing the math.
Stop figuring out how many years left before your child leaves home. Stop talking in terms of “only ____ days/weeks/months/summers/years left before _____.” Stop trying to seize every moment because “life is short.” Be present, but don’t stress over being present enough. Be engaged, but don’t worry about being engaged enough. Be intentional, but don’t panic over being intentional enough. Be the mom you are with the time you have. That time will never feel like enough, it’ll always go too fast, and it’ll always beckon with what could have been. Let it be what it is. Stop counting, stop subtracting, stop dividing, and stop measuring. Just be with what you’ve got and enjoy the moment you’re in.
These are just the beginning. Suit up your liberated mom self and stay tuned for more mom freedom.
Which is most liberating for you?