This post was written for the Today Parenting Team challenge “I’m a Great Mom Because…”
Perfection. Something strived for, yet never achieved. The textbook definition of perfection is the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. I have yet to meet a mom who doesn’t have flaws or defects, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t all great!
I have 4 kids, ages 4 to 13. I gave up on trying to be the perfect mother over a decade ago. I remember when my oldest was a baby and I was like, “I am going to do this by the book, everything the way it is supposed to be and my baby will hit every milestone on time or ahead of schedule.” That certainly did not last long! I learned as a young mom that I was not going to be perfect, I was going to make mistakes and that I could not control everything. But I could do my best to make sure my kids are safe and loved and that I would do my best to mold them into good people. I think what makes a great mom is different for every mom. No two situations will be the same. There are so many contributing factors, that what makes one mom great, would not necessarily work for the next one. A little bit of background information on me is that I am married, have the 4 kids I mentioned above, my husband owns his own construction company so our schedule is more flexible than most, I work in the real estate industry from home so I consider my self a stay at home mom.
I believe what makes me a great mom is that I try to be the best mom I can be to my kids. I try to cook dinner almost every day so we can eat as a family, I pack them pretty good lunches for school, I drive them their gym clothes, homework, Chromebooks, glasses etc. to school when they forget them, and I make sure that every one of them gets to play the sports or activities they want to. It doesn’t sound like anything too earth shattering to me, but I really think it makes their lives that much better.
As far as cooking goes, I am a huge fan of the Instant Pot and my slow cooker. I also am a firm believer in meal prep when I have time to do it. Some mornings, I won’t have but 5 minutes to throw something in the slow cooker or Instant Pot because I know I will be gone all day. Also, with 4 kids, eating out is extremely expensive and definitely something I try to avoid as much as possible. I sometimes let the kids pick what they want on the menu for the week, just so I don’t have any whiners. It is hard to please everyone with every meal. Occasionally, I will just give up and honestly cook 3 or 4 different things for them to pick from. And I have heard the naysayers with the “what are you a short order cook” comments, or the “kids eat what is on the table or they go hungry.” I just have a hard time with that because I am a rather picky eater and I won’t force my kids to eat something that they absolutely hate.
I pack my kids what I consider to be pretty decent school lunches. I hated school lunches when I was in grade school so I go out of my way to make them something that is a step above. I know what they are eating, and try to make it as nutritious as possible. I will do things like ciabatta sandwiches, chicken tenders in a thermos, leftover soups, salads, wraps or fruit salads. Just things that they will actually look forward to eating. It also saves me the almost $3 the school charges for their lunches.
Another topic that in my opinion is in constant debate, is whether or not to drive your kids the things they forget when they go to school. I am guilty of taking my kids whatever they have forgotten at home and dropping it off at school. A lot of parents are of the opinion that the only way the child will learn is if they suffer the consequences of going without. I just don’t buy into that. It might actually work by helping them to remember in the future, but as their mom, I cannot just ignore the fact that their day will be awful if they don’t have a lunch, their gym clothes, their homework etc. Why would I want to make their day harder and throw them off their routine or cause them any inconveniences? I am their mom and my job is to take care of them and do whatever I can to make them happy and make their day go a little smoother. If I am at home and able to drive them their things, I will continue to do so!
Lastly, I make sure that each child gets to play either the sport or activity they like. Now this does not mean that everyone plays everything all at once. My oldest daughter swims a fall through spring competitive season, my son plays soccer, and this spring and summer we will be starting softball with the 9-year-old and the 4-year-old will also be playing soccer. It takes a lot of commitment, a lot of time and planning is key, but I feel it is super important that no one feels left out or that one is favored over the other. This doesn’t mean they all get to do whatever they want, because trust me, I have said no to quite a few requests. But everyone will get to do something they like and I will make sure that we all go as a family as much as possible to cheer on whichever one is playing.
Every mom will have different reasons or examples about what makes them great. Like I said before, no two moms might have the same qualities, but that does not mean we are not all GREAT moms, doing our best to make our children’s lives amazing.