What good moms do

I left my kids to go to work today. Not with their dad or grandma… with a sitter. This is something I swore I would never do. I’m a stay-at-home mom. That kind of mom. I’m not a go-to-work and leave my kids kind of mom. If I only go once a week does that really count? And when I work at home and I can’t cater to my kids every need and they are sitting in front of the TV what kind of mom does that make me?

When my oldest son was born I had very clear ideas of what attitudes and behaviors warrant placement in the good mom and bad mom categories. Good moms, I ascertained, are excited to stay home with their kids all the time. They sit on the floor and engage their kids in stimulating cognitive activities, shape sandwiches with cookie cutters and plan arts and crafts to foster those fine motor skills. Good moms don’t need hobbies or distractions or any kind of personal fulfillment because their kids are fulfillment enough… top priority at all times. Good moms never complain about motherhood or anything attached to it. They don’t need to get away from their kids, ever. Moms that do, of course are selfish and unenlightened. Right?

As usually happens in any aspect of my life where I have things “all figured out” I turned out to be oh so very, very wrong. It is true that good moms do many of those things listed above. And many feel very fulfilled doing just that. Other good moms go to work every day to teach children math or build airplanes or enforce the law. Good moms love their kids. They love them wherever they are every where they go.

When good moms must leave their kids, they take great pains to make sure they are safe, well cared for and enriched. Good moms take care of themselves. They chase dreams. They teach their children to do what inspires them, to work hard and never to give up. When good moms go home, they snuggle with their kids, learn about their day, and make up for lost time.

Do I have to be a particular kind of mom? Don’t make me choose. Can I just be a good mom because I love my children, pray for them and do everything in my power to raise them right? I want to be a good mom. But I also want to be a good me. A happy me. Can the two co-exist? I like to think so.

What do you think?

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6 responses to “What good moms do

  1. Oh, Brittney, you are SUCH a good mom! You celebrate your children and the whole process of motherhood with every ounce of your being. As the “been there” working mom of two grown sons, I can tell you that children who grow up with a mother who follows her passions (whatever they may be) become adults who find and vigorously pursue passions of their own — with a great sense of purpose and personal fulfillment. You just keep doing what you’re doing. You will continue to doubt yourself and you will often wonder if your priorities are in the right place (I certainly did!) but some day, when your sons are as old as mine, you will know that in simply trying to do your best you did just fine.

  2. The two can coexist, but that’s where the ‘good’ comes in—you have to be able to live with all the different layers in your life (practical, social, economical, spiritual, logistical, thoughtful, intellectual, etc.). It’s all about the layers. And although this makes life rather like a Napoleon or a Baklava-type pastry, the only way you can get through it is by taking small bites and savoring. Or by putting one foot in front of the other and by trying to do all things with love and respect at the base of your motivation to make any action. Ok, time to get up from the couch and stop the philosophy session so that I can go put away the laundry!

  3. Thanks ladies! I appreciate being able to learn from example!

    I think I was a little shaken up by William’s bus accident happening on the same day I left the other two boys with a sitter for the first time but I’m recovering today.

  4. “Good moms take care of themselves. They chase dreams.”
    Growing up with a mom who follows her passion and shares her talents with the world is a really, really good thing for kids to see.
    Great post.

  5. Pingback: How To-sday: 8 ways to keep your kids busy so you can get stuff done « notes from a been-there mom

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