*Heads Up – This post contains potty talk. I’m always getting on my 4 year old’s case about not using potty talk, but sometimes there’s just no way around it… Like when your entire story is about a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad poop.
A sweet family member of mine recently posted on her blog about the #momfail trend on social media, and how we need to change that hashtag to #ilearnedsomething. I really appreciated that post, and I definitely had an #ilearnedsomething moment last night.
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on myself, and it seems I’m back to comparing myself to others. That’s a hard habit to break isn’t it?
Everywhere I look, there’s a woman who is not only an amazing stay-at-home mom, but a successful stay-at-home businesswoman. Be it direct sales, blogging, Etsy, etc. I begin pressuring myself, thinking that I’m not doing enough as just a mom, and I need to make money too.
That’s the world we live in. There are so many amazing, powerful, talented, successful women out there. I go on to think that if I’m going to be home with the kids, I should be running my own home business to help my husband pay the bills. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a home business and help provide for my family. But should is a very bad word.
There is nothing wrong with just being a stay-at-home mom, and for a little while I lost sight of how important my role as a mother and homemaker really is.
In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”
I was feeling depressed and unfulfilled one night when I stumbled upon the excerpt above. A stay-at-home mom is so much more than just a babysitter. A mother is a teacher, nurturer, and friend. A typical day at home with my boys consists of playing video games together, homeschool lessons, breaking up fights, diffusing tantrums, errands, and occasionally (ok, rarely) chores. I love my boys fiercely, and even though they make me crazy a lot of the time, I soak up every precious moment I get to spend with them. I love being here to watch them learn and grow. I love the togetherness we have daily.
I’m far from being the perfect wife and homemaker, but I hope that I never forget the importance of my role again. Yes, it would be a dream come true to have a home business, but I shouldn’t shame myself for being “just a mom.” I should enjoy the time I get with my boys while they’re young. If someday the stars align and a business idea takes off, that would be great! But until then, I’ll be hard at work being the best mom I can be, and creating the best home that I can for my family.
My sweet little Kender is now three years old. He’s potty trained, no longer uses a binky, and is even weaning off of his security blanket. He knows his ABC’s, can count to 20, and loves to tell stories. His favorite phrases are, “Mommy, want to play with me?” and “Mom are you done yet?”He likes those phrases so much in fact, that he repeats them about 40 times until I’m ready to pull my hair out. Hopefully I’m not the only one who experiences that feeling.
I’ve noticed that Kender tends to be more annoying when I’m busy focusing on other things and I’m not giving him much attention. He tends to do things he’s not supposed to because he knows I will give him attention (in the form of scolding him, but he doesn’t seem to mind; he’s just happy I’m talking to him). In contrast, when I’m actively working to praise him when he is good and spend quality time with him between tasks and chores, he is a very well behaved little boy.
It is incredible to me that his behavior relies so heavily on my own behavior. When I am distracted and distant, he is such a trouble-maker. When I am present and aware, he is an angel. I may be a mother of two, but I’m a first time toddler mom and this is all new to me: it’s fascinating.
He is a sponge.
He learns by watching me. What better reason is there to try my hardest to be my best self?
So here is what I think:
When Kender is being annoying, I need to stop and re-prioritize. Am I spending quality time with him, or am I distracted when we are talking and playing? Am I praising him when he is good, or am I only scolding him when he is bad? The conclusion that I’ve come to is that I need to focus on giving him more positive attention so he won’t feel the need to provoke me into giving him any kind of attention, good or bad. Also, I’m sure it couldn’t hurt to get him into sports to burn off some of that never-ending energy he has.