Learning to Love the Kind of Mom I Am

Six years into this motherhood journey I’d like to think I’m starting to figure a few things out. I’ve quit judging other moms for their decisions and am better at not letting the differing opinions of others affect me so much. Even though I’m still my own worst critic, I’m able to trust myself more when it comes to making parenting decisions involving my own kids. I’m learning as a mom, I can’t possibly meet every one of my kids’ needs by myself. I’ve realized the importance of having a partner, extended family, teachers, pastors, neighbors and friends who can help fill in the gaps.

Embracing Who I Am as a Mom

Comforter

I am a mom who kisses boo boos, bandages scraped knees, soothes a crying child and offers reassurance that it’s all going to be okay. I find joy, not in seeing my kids in pain but in the opportunities to comfort and hold them when they’re hurting. I’m good at comforting my kids. It’s often my name they call when they’re hurt. And my lap they climb onto when they want to be soothed.

Story Teller

I’m a reader of bedtimes stories. I am a teller of stories about events that have occurred before my they were born. We’ve read books to our kids since they were babies, and continue to make this part of our nighttime routine. We tell stories about things that happened in our own childhoods involving their aunts and uncles and grandparents. We share stories about funny things that happened when they were babies. As our kids have grown, they’ve started telling their own stories about things that have happened to them. Taking creative liberties like we do, to embellish little details to make the stories more entertaining. Who actually knows, but I hope that reading, telling and listening to stories is something my kids look back on when they’re grown and remember doing with me.

Basic Needs Meet-er

I keep up with the meal planning, cooking, lunch box packing, doctors appointments, library book due dates, dress up day shenanigans, school registrations, stocking the toilet paper and toiletries, making sure the kids have clothes to wear and nine times out of ten get them appropriately dressed for the weather we have each day. {We live in Houston so sometimes I dress them for the weather we had the day before and they’re freezing in their shorts when the temps dip 20 degrees midday- I never claimed to be perfect!} My husband is a wonderful partner who is always ready to jump in and help. But when it comes to a lot of the mundane tasks that keep our family healthy, fed, schooled and clothed I am the one. And thanks to me, it all gets done.

Adventure Mom

I’m at my best as a mom when we’re on the go. Whether we’re on vacation, grocery shopping, visiting the zoo, going for a walk, playing with friends or checking out a new playground I am in my zone. My fuse is longer. My energy is higher. And the delight I feel in mothering peaks when we are experiencing something together outside the walls of our home. “Vacation Mom” is my favorite alter ego. It’s been a hard year for adventure moms. Our zoo trips have been replaced with masked visits to empty playgrounds. Instead of HEB and Target runs we have scheduled curbside pick-ups. And our playdates have been nearly non-existent. Reconnecting with this part of myself is one of the things I’m most excited for as we inch forward towards what will hopefully one day soon be a post-COVID world. I have faith “Vacation Mom” will return again.

Letting Go of Who I Am Not as a Mom

Craft Maker

The only crafts we have in our home are the ones my kids have made with someone else. They’ve been in structured childcare since they were babies. So someone else has always been there to make the handprint craft, laminate it and clean up the mess. Lately, my husband has taken on the role of “the parent who crafts.” They love their quality time together over paints, glue, scissors and glitter. And I love not having to manage the mess. I felt some disappointment and guilt about all of the adorable projects we never attempted on my “kids activity” Pinterest boards. Those pins don’t really show dads helping their kids with crafts… thankfully my house is full of kid crafts despite my aversion to them.

Peace Keeper

I am an Enneagram 9 and a peace keeper in all other contexts of my life. But as a mom- I yell. A lot. STOP FIGHTING! GET YOUR SHOES ON! SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR DINNER! GET IN THE BATH! GET OUT OF THE BATH! GO TO BED! STOP SHOUTING! {the irony of that one is not lost on me- insert eye roll here.}. I am not a zen mom, Daniel Tiger’s mom or a mom who always uses her calm, inside voice. I am a mom who gets “mad, mad, mad” and loses my temper. I am working on it.  

PTA Mom

Bless the PTA moms, room moms, booster club moms and troop leader moms. I’m so grateful for your gifts and your willingness to share them with my kids. Maybe one day I will be more like you, but right now I just can’t. I will pay my dues, send the snacks and reply to your e-mails to offer whatever time, goods or services I can muster but I cannot lead this charge. I am content to play a supporting role. I am giving myself permission to feel less guilty about that choice. Knowing my limits is part of the work I’m doing to feel less anxious and overwhelmed which tend so help me yell less in my home {see above}.

 

 

Play Mate

I’m the modern day version of the mom who sat at her kitchen table with her yellow legal pad and the corded phone, while her kids played somewhere else. Except now, my iPhone has replaced both the corded phone and the legal pad. I’m gifted in lots of parts of motherhood. But I suck as a play mate. I would rather clean kid puke out of a carseat than play pretend. It drains me. I find zero joy in playing “family” or “mom” because that feels like work rather than play. Miraculously {or maybe not} there’s no shortage of imaginary play happening in my home. It just doesn’t involve me.

Whether you’re a PTA mom, an adventure mom, a mom who loves imaginary play or a mom who hates it, I want you to know you’re not alone. We can love our kids and hate the messes they make. We can be good moms and resent the bedtime charades our kids play. We can be our kids best cheerleaders, comforters and encouragers and sometimes yell at them to put on their darn shoes. No matter what kind of mom you are, I’m convinced you’re worth loving and that the world is a better place with all of us in in it.

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Anne has spent most of her life living in Katy, Texas or finding her way back to it. After several years in Houston, Anne, her husband, two daughters and their dog migrated back to Katy. Years spent trying to juggle full time motherhood and full time community mental health jobs led Anne to open her own counseling practice. Anne Russey Counseling provides online therapy for moms, anxious adults and LGBTQ+ people throughout Texas. Anne is at her best as a mom when she is on the go {with or without her kids} and would take a dentist appointment over imaginary play any day. Anne is learning to accept she will never get it all done and to embrace the joy she finds in reheated cups of coffee while her kids play independently for a few precious moments. You can find Anne’s thoughts, usually related to mental health, on her blog.

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