Not your typical mother

I was listening to a podcast today by two moms who have very successful home-and-family blogs. Each of them has written a book, runs a couple of blogs, homeschools, eats all organic natural food made from scratch… and each was emphasizing that they are by no means perfect.

Yikes. If I were that “imperfect,” I would crown myself with a diamond tiara and wear it in public. Every.single.day.

The blog world makes me feel like the “typical” mom is the one who is out there doing all of the above, while hand-painting seasonal doormats, whipping up their own chevron-trimmed curtains out of dropcloths, and cooking paleo meals – while taking gorgeous photos of it all and sharing them with the world.

I am not that mother.

I am in my mid-40s and still have Craigslist and IKEA furniture, heaps of clutter, and no window coverings. I am so hard-pressed to get a meal on the table that I have to make it my Lenten resolution. Not only do I not homeschool, I spent my child’s formative years arguing with him about how he holds his pencil… to no avail, I might add. I eke out a blog post every so often with blurry or discolored photos of my own or borrowed photos from others.

But that’s okay. As I used to tell Q when he was little, I believe that I have four Mom Jobs. I am supposed to:

  1. keep him safe;
  2. keep him healthy;
  3. teach him stuff; and
  4. love him.

I do a good job of keeping Q safe; I may even be a bit too overprotective. I struggle with meeting my own expectations for the middle two. I know our family could lead a much healthier lifestyle, and it is something that I agonize over and try to work on every day, but it is one of my personal weaknesses. I know I will never be able to teach Quinland everything I would like him to know, but I think he’s got a pretty good foundation.

But let me tell you, that kid knows he is loved. He has been hugged and kissed, played with and  talked to and listened to all of his life. (I genuinely like to sit and talk with my son and his friends,who are not typical 14-year-olds, which is another post in and of itself). And, oh, do we laugh together! We are silly and goofy and funny and downright wacky together, and we crack each other up. I make ridiculous BigEye faces that creep him out and make him laugh hysterically.

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From Q’s Instagram: Goofing around at a Norwegian bus stop…

So, I may not be typical, but my son thinks I am a great mom. He gave me the most wonderful gift a couple of weeks ago: I was feeling discouraged about all my maternal failings, and he said, “Mom, the number of things you do wrong is like this” – holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart – “and the things you do right could fill this whole room.”

That makes it all worth it.

Your mom (or you, if you are a mom): typical or not typical? Do you make each other laugh ’til you cry? How would you rate your mom or yourself on the Mom Jobs? Would you – or she – go out in public with hostel-hair like I have in the above photo? No? I don’t blame you…

My little family

Family Photo
Seriously, how cute is this photo?

Katie Bower, who blogs at my favorite blog (Bower Power), is consistently hilarious and honest and beautiful. Inside and out. She was sad today because she’s been trying to get pregnant for a year. She didn’t want tips or pity or advice… she just wanted to vent. I wrote a long comment on her blog just now, which may or may not ever get published, but I’ve decided to share it here. Because even if I will never be that drop-dead gorgeous or as quick with the celebrity analogy, I want to be just as honest. It could just be oversharing, I know. But hey, I do that in real life, as well.

What I said to Katie:

I am so sad for you, and I am 100% supportive on the whole cranky thing. I am soooooo not going to say, “Just relax; it will happen.” I have a 13-year-old and Baby #2 never happened. A few years back, I had to have a hysterectomy, and with a husband who does not believe that adoption is right for our family, it will never happen. I have a child who aches for that sibling as much as I do, who burst into tears the day he realized he will never be an uncle… and it isn’t going to happen. But I have to trust that God’s plans are right for me, that of course he knew I would be getting this rats’n frats’n MS – he gave me the most special kind! – and that I would have as much as I could handle dealing with that. And it’s not as though he hasn’t blessed me: I have a loving husband, a beautiful child, a wonderful supportive family. Yep, I have all those things AND an ache in my heart that will probably always be there. Maybe they are there to help me through it.
You know, I always tell Quinland that everyone has a challenge in their life, even the people who seem to have it all going perfectly. I guess I need to listen to myself. Maybe this ache for a larger family is just my hidden challenge. I hope it is only a temporary one for you, but maybe you’re going through it now, and sharing it, to help someone else with their situation… or to prepare you for a different situation in your future…

Edited: I deleted a bunch of stuff.  See my next post for details.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for my loving husband, my beautiful child, and my wonderful supportive family.  Love you guys!
  • I’m lighter! I wrote a gazillion lists for the Europe trip: stuff to pack, stuff to fix on the house before we leave, stuff to tell/show Greg about the house, medical appointments to have before we go, people to contact over there, ducks to get into a row. I also called and got info on COBRA medical coverage and did three loads of laundry. Whew!