There is this moment, when raising a grade schooler, that makes you question who you are as a mom. It is this moment where you feel slightly insecure all over again. Like the way you felt about yourself as a teenage girl. This moment where you like who you are, but you want to be liked by others, too. This time the others aren't girls you want to be friends with, it is those your child is friends with. It is this new complex stage where your child still looks at you like a shiny trophy, but then they also look at you wondering if you are really so great after all. They have now started to take notice of all the things the other mommies do. Although, they aren't seeing these things for themselves, they are just hearing about these wonderful "trophy" mommy moments secondhand from the kids who lived them in the flesh. They now have a new pile of expectations that they throw at you. And, just like that high school girl you once were, you have to think hard about if you like who you are and decide if you are confident enough to just make others deal with it, or decide if you are willing to change to try and seek approval of others.
The thing is I like who I am. It took me 30 long years to like who I am. It took a lot of pain to finally like who I am. So why am I so conflicted? It is normal to want our children to feel proud of us. It is normal to continue to seek approval of those who remain in our lives, but WHY OH WHY does it always mean we have to change??? I don't want to change. Ok. It is not that I mind change, but I HATE when I feel like I am changing into something that isn't me. I want to ROCK my kids' world, but I also want to be myself. I more than anything want to be myself, AND be awesome in my children's world at the same time.
So here are my thoughts.
Rowan, I love you. You are amazing! You are talented! You are more than I ever dreamed of. You are organized, and diligent. You are really good at taking care of your brothers. You are patient when I am busy. You are like amazzzzzing at sports. I really love that you are shy, it is this sweet, endearing quality that is both painful and adorable to watch. You always aim to do things the right way and it is pretty fantastic. I love that when you look at people you don't see color, or disabilities, you just see people. I love you! I love you exactly how you are. I may suck at waking up on time. I may suck at signing your daily folder. I totally miss the mark when it comes to documenting your reading minutes. I may not be able to sign into Edline and read your progress reports because I can't for the life of me remember the dang password. I don't make fancy lunches that are creative and will blow your friends minds. But guess what, that isn't me. I am messy. I am disheveled and I am AWESOME! I will never be a trophy mom, because that isn't me. But it doesn't mean that I am not worth showing off, because I am! Just in different ways than those moms. I am cool because I LOVE to let you make the biggest messes. I let you keep your Lego creations on my dining tables FOR WEEKS! I let you play basketball in the house. I let you stay up late on a school night to watch the entire Peter Pan Live on NBC when I could have DVR'd it and made you watch it later on. We go to every freaking holiday event that I come across and that is pretty cool, and definitely something you should brag about tomorrow at school. But most importantly I raised a pretty great kid. I really like how you are turning out, and though you had some pretty great hardwiring to start with, I have also been part of the tweaking process and, well, you have some pretty sick traits that I adore. I am a great mom because I want you to be yourself, because that is when you rock the most.
Sure, some times I don't have all my ducks in a row. Ok most times I don't. But I think rows are boring. Besides, I like squiggly lines. And I like me. I want you to be proud of me. I want you to think I am brag-worthy. But more than all those things I want you to learn to accept people the way they are and learn that everyone is awesome, it just might not be in the ways that you expect!
It took a long time to get here, but I am starting to like me. I hope you like me, too.