Welcome Amy to the blog, y'all. She's beautiful inside and out and her writing has been a constant and perfectly timed inspiration to me for many years. First as a side-line admirer and now as a real life friend. I'm so thrilled to get to share her gifts with you.
It's been another unproductive quarantine day. (I think I've stumbled on a theme...) A long list of home improvement and organizational projects, not to mention all the family fun ones, runs through my mind every morning, accompanied by all the best intentions. By nightfall they are a dim, albeit happy, shadow that somehow never came into focus. Oh, a few regular chores have gotten done and I've managed to make a pretty good dinner that my family consumed together. That's all I've got to show for my day. Well, that and an impressive amount of time on social media.
As long as we're on the topic of social media, let's talk about a trend I see developing. It involves moms. Mostly I've seen it from the young moms, but we older moms certainly aren't immune. There are a lot of posts about the things moms are doing to maintain some sort of normalcy for their child(ren). Only, the normalcy they think they're supposed to maintain and the normalcy that's emerging are two different things. And, I'm afraid they think the disparity between the two indicates they're failing in some way.
Which is why I began by noting I've had another unproductive day. Because I want to be clear about the (very imperfect) place I'm standing as I make these observations.
Let me give you an example . . . a young mom I know posted about the time she and her preschool aged son spent that day watching some heavy equipment operate in their neighborhood. They spent what I would say was a long time (almost an hour and a half) watching the equipment work before going home to a dinner of takeout. My response to her was this: "Best. Mom. Ever." Because she is awesome and humble, her reply was that my description felt like "a stretch" but she'd take "'Adapting As Best I Can and Enjoying What I Can' Mom." To which I replied "But don't you know yet? That's the same thing."
Read that again. "Adapting As Best I Can and Enjoying What I Can" Mom is the same as Best. Mom. Ever.
No mom factored a pandemic into her 2020 plans. Not one. But here we are. Thrown into an uncertain and anxious reality, our worlds reduced to a much smaller amount of square footage with a much smaller cast of characters. We are having to navigate a staggering amount of change: social distancing and online learning; fear, grief, loss, and disappointment; almost literally having to be our child(ren)'s all in all on a daily basis. I have yet to talk to a mom (whether she is a mom of littles or teens) who isn't carrying around some degree of guilt for what they think they aren't doing for their child(ren) during this crazy time. Even the moms who seem to be laughing at themselves, secure in their belief that it's all going to work out in the end, are worried that there is something else they could be doing, something they're doing but shouldn't, or something they're just doing wrong. The ones who truly are taking this in stride are still worried about the effects this will have on their child(ren) in the months and years to come.
Moms, I understand. I hear you. But, I also see you. I see all the things you are doing for and with your child(ren). Things that are way outside your comfort zone, exhausting, and/or plain old monotonous and boring. I see you keeping your households together and secure, as well as hustling to keep a business going or otherwise maintain your career, all the while being a constant for your family. You're persevering in the face of your (not insubstantial) fears, keeping the established routines you can, and making the necessary changes that seem to be happening to everything else more palatable. You are, to be concise, being the best. moms. ever.
The best mom is the one who perseveres, loving and nurturing, while doing her best to provide solid ground beneath her child(ren)'s feet. The best mom adapts, recognizing the importance of enjoying what she can with her child(ren), and gives herself grace on the rest. Sadly, the best mom hardly ever recognizes just how well she's adapting or how much grace she needs to give herself. Which is why she worries, why she carries guilt, and why she's posting on social media about all the things she thinks she lacks.
Can you stop for a minute and take one getting older mom's word for it? I see you. You are doing your best. In fact, you are killing it. You are the best. mom. ever.
Cheering you on,