Now, we all know we aren’t bad moms. Like, we’re not withholding meals as a form of punishment or locking our kids in closets for a week (not that we haven’t briefly contemplated that). But what I mean is, there are some of us who aren’t a mom’s mom.
In the American Literature classic, The Awakening, Adele Ratignolle is described as a “mother-woman.” A mother-woman is the mom who patiently sits in the floor and watches as their child tries to fit the square block through the square hole seventy-three times until they find success. A mother-woman gets out finger paint on the regular and doesn’t have an anxiety attack when it spills on clothes, counters, and floors. A mother-woman thrives solely off of caring, nurturing, and engaging with her children.
A mother-woman is who I’ve always wanted to be as a mom, but I am not mother-woman. I am not a mom’s mom.
Here are some confessions:
– I get bored during one-on-one play with my daughters. (Why can’t they just FOLLOW THE RULES OF A BOARD GAME, FOR THE LOVE?)
– I have to be intentional about leaving messes in my house long enough for my girls to actually play (“Mom, where’s the dollhouse toys I just got out?” Cue: Me, shrugging guiltily.)
– I have all these ideas I want to do for my girls, but rarely follow through on their execution. (I want to scrapbook, be room-mom, go to Mommy and Me Dance class, and keep elaborate potty charts, but who is going to clean the kitchen?)
Don’t get me wrong—I adore my girls. I find boundless joy in being their mom. I don’t take my role for granted, especially after dealing with fertility issues. My two girls hold my heart in the palm of their tiny, grubby hands. But the truth is, they didn’t get a mother-woman. They got me. Me, who loves writing. Who loves friendships. Who loves exercising. Who loves date nights. Me, who must intentionally slow down and engage with my children, lest I become a tornado of cleaning products, meetings, and take-out.
I am not a mother-woman, but I am who God chose. And I have to believe that being the best version of me—of the mom I am—is what He intended when He gave me Lilah and Ezzy.
So when looking for ways to serve my children, I looked at my skillset. What am I great at? What do I enjoy? Luckily for me, that’s a short list! Writing. I can write. I can serve my children through writing.
You want to know where I excel? Where I think I could truly reach Olympic levels of achievement? Texting. That’s right. (Please, hold your applause until the end of this blog, because I know you are writhing with admiration.) I have taken what many consider to be the armpit of this generation’s form of communication and gone pro in it.
So, I decided to take a shot at leveraging this affinity for my girls. I created Gmail accounts for both of them, and I entered them into my contacts list. Now, whenever they say something funny, or something awful that I think will be funny in a few years, or when I take a particularly cute video or picture, I simply text it to their email address.
I praise them in these messages. I try and speak life into their future lives. One day, I wrote out this whole conflict I had with a coworker and sent it to Lilah, because I can see we have similar people-pleasing tendencies. Essentially, I want these words over time to show my girls that my heart is for them. That they are loved immensely. Not just by me, but by their heavenly Father, too.
I want them to grow up and be whatever kind of mom God wants them to be. And I want the same for you and for me, too.