I love my children enormously, but I don’t always love the details of mothering.
Loving my kids looks like quiet conversations at bedtime. Reading endless chapters of my son’s favorite book. Laughing hard together. Inside family jokes. Taking a photo of my oldest and losing my breath at the beautiful blue eyes staring back at me. Watching my daughter care for her horse—her tiny body so small next to his long legs. The crew of crazy boys at our house on a Saturday afternoon. The pride I feel when I see my kids being kind. The coziness of the house when everyone is safe and tucked in for the night.
The details of mothering (for me) are a whole different story. It looks like endless piles of laundry. Packing lunches day after day, locating overdue library books, field trip forms, the purple shirt for “wear it Wednesday.” It’s the bigger-than-life mental load I always carry. The sole responsibility of knowing all the things—who forgot their jacket, the Minecraft passwords, the coach’s birthday, where the unicorn headband is. It’s birthday party RSVPs and gluten-free bread and e-mailing teachers.
It’s also the questions. Did I do enough for them today? Was I a good mom? Did I handle that hard conversation in the best way? Does the teacher think I volunteer enough? Is he happy? What summer program should I sign them up for? They know how much I love them, right? Should we get a puppy?
It’s a role I try to fit into that I feel totally unfit to do. It’s hard to be myself and be a mom. By nature, I’m glow-with-the-flow, type B, unorganized, messy, laid back, fun. As a mother, I feel this pressure to have it all together, to be this totally different person. A responsible person—tidy, organized, professional, well-prepared, always on time. The fixer of problems, a solution creator, a peacemaker, the one with all the answers. A constant clash of two opposite personalities inside of one person trying to be a good mom.
So, I trudge on . . . like all of us. Caught between loving my three amazing kids so big and being absolutely bone-tired from the details of mothering. I love my kids. I don’t love the details of mothering. I hope I’m doing a good job. I hope you feel you are doing a good job. Loving and mothering—all tied together in simply being “Mom.”