Monday, April 20, 2009

I just want to be a good mom!

I have always wanted to be a mom. When I was a little girl, I would play “house” with my friends and I would always appoint myself the position of mommy. Not only did I get to care for the children, but I also got to boss everyone else around! I also loved playing with dolls and pretending to be their mommy. I have also done a lot of babysitting, taught Sunday school, kept nursery at church, taught cheerleading, dance and gymnastics. Looking back, children have always been a big part of my life.

I knew as I got older, becoming a mom would be a priority in my life. But the practical side of me chose to go to college first, get my degree, and then get a good job. Next I started the traditional life path of getting married, buying a house and settling down with a few kids (with a few bumps in the road along the way). Now I am in my mid-30’s, working in my chosen career, married to my wonderful husband, settled in a home and expecting my second child.

I fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming a mom almost three years ago when I gave birth to Sophia. It was an emotional, overwhelming, and exhilarating experience to go through pregnancy and childbirth. (I keep reminding myself of these feelings as my due date approaches with Baby T but the fear of the actual childbirth is still lingering in the back of my mind). However, nothing prepared me for the realization that I would have in those first few weeks and will continue to contemplate throughout my lifetime as a mother… I just want to be considered a good mom.

Becoming the parent of an infant forces you to question every decision you make – Am I doing this right? Is this normal? Is the baby cold, hot, hungry, wet, gassy, tired? Is she entertained, getting the proper nutrition, getting enough of my attention? Am I wrong for going back to work, putting her in daycare, giving her formula? Should I only feed her organic foods, read to her every night, put her on a schedule, rock her to sleep or put her down awake? There are so many chances to second guess every move you make. We eventually survived her first few years of Sophia’s childhood and have settled into a working family routine, but I still worry if I am a good mom.

I want Sophia to know how to say please and thank you, to sit at the table in a restaurant, to not run in the library, to share her toys with friends on play dates, to sing songs in her class at church, to learn her numbers and letters, to learn how to read a book, to pick up her dirty clothes, to sleep in her own bed, to learn how to pray, to know how much I love her.

Not only is it important to me, but I want others to think I am a good mom. I want approval from my husband, my mother, my sister, my friends, our daycare provider, the teacher in her class at church, the lady behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store, the person in front of us on the airplane. When Sophia grows up, I want her to look back and think I was a good mom.

I also worry about how I am going to be a good mom to both of my kids once Baby T is born. He will be so tiny and have so many basic needs that will require my attention, and I worry that Sophia is going to feel left out. Also, I worry that she is going to feel like she is losing a part of her mom. I still want her to feel loved by her mom.

Before I had kids, I didn’t really worry if I would be a good mom. I guess I assumed it would come naturally, but I didn’t realize how DIFFICULT it can be to take on the role of motherhood while maintaining the other roles of my life. Career woman, devoted wife, loving daughter, supportive sister, caring friend, friendly neighbor… I also did not realize the pressure and scrutiny surrounding motherhood that comes from so many outside sources such as the media, family members, other mothers, and even friends who do not have children. The good thing is that I have learned not to succumb to outside pressure, advice that comes in the form of criticism, or to follow what works for other moms if I don’t feel it could apply to me. I am doing the best I can to be a good mom.

Motherhood is a journey that I feel like I am still just beginning (or maybe I am just starting over because of the new baby). I have the benefit of a few years experience this time, but I know I will continue to worry if I am a good mom to my little boy. I will never stop wondering if I am a good mom, but I will also never stop trying to be the best mom I can be for my children. I strive to enrich my children’s lives emotionally, spiritually, and educationally while still having FUN with them every day. I don’t have a specific formula for being a good mom or have any idea of what a “Good Mom Checklist” would look like. Instead I will just pray, consult my husband, seek advice from trusted sources, and love my kids unconditionally.

Do you ever worry if you are doing a good job on the mother of all life’s journeys, which I call motherhood? If so, please share your comments.

* First picture of Sophia - She wanted to wear her sunglasses on top of her head "just like mommy"
** Second picture of Sophia – I let her dig in the dirt in the backyard with her new bucket and shovel. She flung some dirt in the air and it landed in her hair. She turned to look at me with this face…


momma's heart said...

I think about this a lot, and pray that my kids won't have any reason to resent me, down the road. But, no one is perfect. The best thing we can do is provide unconditional love, and hope that they return it. They'll really appreciate us when their own kids are over three and have minds of their own. It'll be a real aha moment for them.

You seem like a wonderful mommy!

Justin and Rachel Smith said...

What an awesome portrayal of what it means to be a new mom! I'm so thankful for your honesty as you anticipate baby number two and I'll be praying for you, that you'll feel that you're a good mother because of the gifts that God has given you.