Friday, May 13, 2011

the best mom

On Wednesday we had a ‘girl’s lunch’ with my dear friend.  She had recently taken a trip and happened to see a sign in an airport that made her think of my family.  Can you imagine why?

Of course the ‘giraffes’ fit in well; as it seems like I’ve been seeing giraffes all over the place since Brynn gave her input as to what her thoughts were on the baby.  But what struck me even more than the giraffes was the saying written in the sky. 

I thought about what it is that I do best.  I do a lot of things well, but best?  How do you define best?  Well, I looked it up in the dictionary (there's the teacher in me), and I found this: excelling all others,  most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction.

So, when I first read the poster and thought about what I did best, my immediate response was 'being a mom'.  Then, I read the definition of 'best'.  For a few moments, I was reconsidering my response.  I mean, it sounds somewhat pompous to attribute 'excelling all others' to my mommyhood.  I neither compare myself to other moms, nor do I strive to excel all other mommies.  But then I put a different spin on it...or rather, I kept reading the definition.  'Offering the greatest (satisfaction).'  When it comes to mommyhood, who is my primary audience?  My kids, of course.  Just like any good mommy, my goal is to give my kids everything that they need, instill morals and values, keep them safe, and shower them with unconditional love.  The ideal outcome is for my children to become well-rounded, successful adults who work hard to acheive their goals, and live the best life they can.

Ok, so I have to provide my kids with the best life possible, I have to be a mommy who offers the greatest satisfaction in their lives.  It doesn't sound too challenging--just focus all my efforts on my kids, and volia! Happy, healthy kids...right?  Hmm...if you base this on the past few weeks, then no.  No, no, no.  I focus all of my energies, all my efforts, all my best 'mom stuff', and there were still ocassions where I was called 'mean mommy' when I refuse candy as a snack, jealous children while I attended to the needs of others, dinners needing to be cooked while a baby screamed, and countless other 'mommy' tasks.  All this, while trying to maintain some sense of sanity in our ever-changing household.

My long-term sub text me today to see how things were going.  When I told her that I'm trying to adjust to the fact that I can't plan like I usually do, she responded with some common sense advice that I needed to be reminded of.  She said, 'sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and NOT plan!'.  One reason I consider mommyhood as the thing I do best is because I'm a planner.  I like things to have a system of organization--I have this constant running script of what I'd ideally like to happen so things run smoothly.  Take away the ability/need to plan...where does that leave me? 

The problem isn't with my ability to be the best mommy, but rather my understanding of how to adjust my perspective of best mommy.  Sure, I'm a planner.  But right now, my life is being lead by 3 young little minds who all have different needs, different abilities, different perspectives.  Over the past 3 1/2 weeks, I have faced the harsh reminder of just how much work an infant can be.  Many people told me that the third child just fits right in to the family, because frankly, they have no choice otherwise because the family unit has really become established, is able to function well.  I went through pregnancy assuming that Raegan would just adjust into the little box of 'our life'.  Then, she arrived.  And she's an infant.  A needy, nursing infant with the inability to sleep through the night, verbalize what she needs, and do anything at all for herself. 

I knew this going into the whole 'third baby' thing...of course I did.  But you sort of forget these things when you're so adjusted into a particular lifestyle.  And now, we're needing to adjust.  Correction: I need to adjust.  I need to follow my friend's advice and 'go with the flow'.  I need to realize that while at the present time I might not be able to plan what tomorrow, or even later today might look like, I can live in the moment and appreciate them, regardless of how they might look 'on paper'.

For example, yesterday, I did nothing.  Literally.  Ok, so I drove my mom to the airport, and of course did the usual necessities (restroom, change diapers, eat), but otherwise?  Nada.  Brynn and I watched The Princess and the Frog while Raegan ate and snoozed, snoozed and ate (and ate, and ate!).  I cuddled my girls on the couch (Gavin was hanging out with daddy in the basement).  I had laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and other odds and ends I could have been doingl  But because I want to be the best mom, and be better at doing so, I opted to do nothing--hold my kids, cuddle, kiss, and laugh with them.  I guess, when you think about it...that's not 'nothing', but everything.

I want to be the best mom I can be for my kids.  I want to keep working, adjusting, changing, revising all the necessary components of being a great mom.  In my efforts to do so, I am doing what I do best...and doing it better.  Mission: never accomplished...but rather in thoughtful and purposeful progress.  I rock.

they make me want to be better :)

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