I think all of us are used to mom guilt by now. The recurring feeling that we are not living up to societal standards of motherhood. I know I think about this often. I haven’t been reading the required 20 minutes a day with my toddler. Will he suffer in kindergarten? My 12-year-old stays on her phone way too much and my bonus son is headed to college this week and I don’t know if he’s fully ready for what awaits him.
These thoughts constantly pervade my brain as I navigate being a mother.
These are conversations I have with my friends as we compare our own personal struggles and complain about how ungrateful our kids can sometimes be. I think mom guilt is the topic of most moms’ nights out. I breathe a sigh of relief when I have conversations with other moms who admit they are having the same parenting issues I am. I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone.
But recently, I started to wonder why we don’t have conversations around what we are doing right. I rarely stop to think of the parent milestones that I feel confident about.
I am a great listener. I know this specifically because my daughter told me a couple of months ago. But seriously, with pre-teens and teenagers, reaction is everything. Sometimes they will tell us things just to see our reaction. If the reaction is negative or super judgmental, it’s likely they will refrain from telling us anything after that. I think 11 years as a high school teacher has helped with this. In my brain, I could be totally freaking out, but my reaction is intentionally calm and thoughtful. Not always, but I try.
I push you to do your best. I don’t over stress about perfect grades, but I do stress turning in all assignments and quality work.
I am good at creating memories and special moments. As much as my pre-teen and young adult son might think it’s cheesy, I force them to decorate Christmas cookies and decorate the Christmas tree together. The first time I suggested these things, they rolled their eyes, but now they will ask me when the next family cookie decorating night will be.
I’m super funny. Well, I think I am. What I mean is that I don’t take myself too seriously. I joke and laugh with my kids a lot. I think this helps them see me in a different light and makes for easier conversation.
In motherhood there are no awards. We can only see success in small moments within our kids’ lives. Knowing this, we can’t spend all our time beating ourselves up over what we didn’t do or how we should have handled a situation better.