Not to toot my own horn, but I was a darn good teacher. I got a thrill when my students got a new concept or went up a reading level. I stayed awake at night going over lessons in my head and loved when they turned out like I’d planned. I thoroughly enjoyed creating behavior plans for difficult students and seeing them turn around. It came naturally to me and it was easy to tell if I was succeeding or not, the students either grew or they didn’t. The lesson either landed or it didn’t. Their behavior either improved or it didn’t. Clear. Their success was my success. And I WAS a successful teacher. I thrived, and I loved my job.
I have a new job now, Stay at Home Mom. I love this job more than anything I’ve ever done, but I struggle sometimes with the question, “Am I being successful?”. That answer is never as clear cut as it was when I was teaching. At first, it was hard for me to view myself as “successful” in my new position in life. Maybe you feel it too? or have felt it? You were successful at a sales job if you made sales. Clear. You were successful at your job as a lawyer if you won cases. Clear. However, as a parent….the definition of success changes, or maybe it loses all meaning completely. Right?
Being a stay at home mom changed my mindset on how I view success. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the “value” that comes with success when you’re home alone with the tiny humans. It doesn’t come in the form of a raise or promotion. It comes in moments. You have these moments where you feel like supermom; both kids napping at the same time, everyone eats their meals without complaining, prepared an activity the kid LOVED, kids hit their milestones. These moments make your heart explode with pride; in your kids and yourself. You feel like you can take on the world and you’re unstoppable. You feel successful. Selfishly, we want our kids to look at us and say “Wow, mom! You’re killin it today!”. (Lets laugh at that idea together for a moment) You wish a reality show would burst through the door and say “We put a hidden camera in your living room and we’ve seen the incredible job you’ve done. Here’s a million dollars and a hot beverage!” (Lets laugh HARDER).
In the beginning, I just kept wondering if I was doing enough. Was I reading enough to Winifred, was I feeding her the right things, was I keeping the house clean enough, was I showing her enough of the world, was she going to hit all of her milestones? Was Daphne going to need physical therapy because of what my body did to her, was my breastmilk ok for her, was I going to be able to sleep train her? I was making myself sick trying to do everything right, and driving myself insane because there was no way to know if I was doing it right until it’s “too late” and she’s grown. It’s dumb, I know, but in the dark and sleepless newborn nights your brain can borrow a lot of tomorrow’s stress.
Then, one day, as I’m crying over spilled breast milk (liquid gold, am I right?) I got a bit of clarity. Winifred was watching me as I sat on the floor and tears streamed down my face. She came over and sat on my lap. I smiled at her, and she laughed. That was it, that was all she needed from me in that moment to be happy. A. SMILE. I was humbled and honored to be her mama in that moment. I was overcome with gratitude that I get to be home with her and teach her how to handle her own emotions one day.
Kids don’t need perfect parents. They don’t need all this fluffy stuff that mom blogs these days are convincing us we have to do or our kids will be the scum of the earth. They thrive off our imperfections. Shoot, my kid regularly has dog hair as a condiment (at least its organic right?). They need US. They need moms who are going to love them unconditionally and take care of their basic needs. Period. They need someone to pray over them at night and teach them what it means to love the Lord. Thats it.
Some days are actual poop storms, but the kids go to bed with full bellies and they’re alive. Some days, my kid eats 3 cups of cheerios, but she shared her toys so joyously at library. Some days, my sink is full of dishes and laundry is up to my ears, but I end the day with both girls in my lap reading stories about a God who adores them more than I do.
You are the GREATEST possible mother for your kids. Nobody else can do what you do for your babies. WE GOT THIS PARENTS!