If there is one thing I've struggled with in my two years of being a mom is BALANCE. Not so much balancing my duties as a mom/wife/homemaker/vintage seller, but balance in how I am a mom. You see, I've set up these ridiculous standards for myself, that I'm pretty sure are unattainable yet I keep beating myself up when I don't meet them. Let me explain.
Up until a couple of months ago, I would take Jacob out to super fun toddler destinations about four out of five weekdays. I felt like I had to be out with him everyday for the five hours before his nap, fully and wholly immersed in being a super! fun! mom! I struggled with letting him play by himself at home while I got things done. I felt like a "horrible mom" if I wasn't 200% engaged in an activity with him, 100% of his waking time.
I cringed whenever we would show up at a gathering and there were cookies or chips, because I knew he would want them. I am very choosy about the hippie food we eat at home. While I kept telling myself that because of our healthy homemade meals, it wouldn't bother me when he occasionally ate that stuff, I struggled with feeling like a "horrible mom" if he had one cookie, because chances are that cookie wasn't baked with carob instead of chocolate chips.
When Jacob self weaned at just a few days after his second birthday, I felt like those other moms did a "better" job of breastfeeding their kid till four. When I needed a break from cloth diapers, I felt like a jerk for making it "only" 22 months. Again, I felt like a "horrible mom."
I wish I could say I was exaggerating with that term, but I have used the phrase "I'm such a horrible mom." to Josh over and over again. He, being a rational adult, reassures me that no, probably I'm not even close to that. But still...WHAT KIND OF MOM FORGETS TO SNEAK KALE INTO THE PASTA SAUCE!!?" if not a horrible one?
The twisted and backwards thing about this all is that I have not once thought less of another mom who uses disposable diapers, who lets their toddler eat cookies, who has apps downloaded just for their kids...you know, a mom who mothers her children in the way that she sees fit. I also am not the type to feel like other's lives are so put together based on what I see on social media outlets. But, I feel like I have to follow up a picture of a night out for ice cream with "Oh, you guys, this is a really rare treat. He NEVER eats sugar!" or something dumb and unimportant like that. I don't want people to assume that Jacob eats sugar all day long, as if it made a difference in our lives either way. I do struggle with finding my footing as a mom, and my balance is shaky.
I recently came to the realization that I'm comparing myself to idealized versions of moms I know. In my mind, my mama raised us four kids in the most impeccable way...but the reality is we were probably sent to bed without brushing our teeth a night or two in our lives. My mom sewed us tiny Barbie clothes and played with us, but also sat us down with some desert and a cartoon now and then. I'm sure the moms I have put on a pedestal in my mind have made a meal without perfect nutritional balance once or twice.
I'm trying to gain my confidence as a mom in public. I'm trying to ENJOY the fact that it's pretty fun now for Jacob to enjoy treats like ice cream and a super sugary cupcake and sometimes a donut just because! I'm reminding myself that some days we just barely make it to the park across the street for twenty minutes because I'm busy, and that Jacob playing by himself is GOOD for him. As it turns out that if Jacob watches a couple of shows a week so I can get caught up on getting orders shipped out, it's not a big deal. Who knew!? Basically, I'm trying to learn to be a normal and balanced mom.