The Best Mom

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My mom is the best. No, really. Don’t a lot of us feel that way?

Some of us were lucky to have a fantastic Mom. Yes, Mom with a capital M. She deserves that capital letter, doesn’t she?

From my Mom, I learned the infinite strength of a woman. An unwavering pillar through the many storms of life, she was able to get through everything, even when there wasn’t anyone else to lean on. My needs and the needs of my brothers were always put before her own, no matter what. We always had clothes on our backs, food on the table, and a listening ear to hear the highs and lows of our days.

Does this sound like your Mom? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the narrative you would write about your Mom would sound different from mine.  Now, I could dive into the minutia of day-to-day living, which would probably serve to highlight the fact that all of our Moms are/were different from each other in some way or another.  The bottom line is that many of us feel our Mom is best.

When I became a Mom, I began my own quest to become the best Mom to my own child (now children).  As many new Moms do, I (subconsciously or otherwise) did what I knew from my own Mom. Sure, I read, I researched, and we all have things we want to do differently. But, as those of us who have the best Mom know, we also use that barometer that we grew up with as some sort of gauge as to how we might be doing at this new role of Mom.

I found myself falling short. Quite often.  I had so many expectations based on how I was raised, that I never felt I could measure up.

You see, I had always been an independent person. Self-directed, self-motivated, and out to conquer the world.  The sky was the limit, and I was driven throughout my life to succeed.  I did well academically, and pursued a very rewarding and challenging career. How could I be the best Mom if I had all of this going on in my life? How could I push all of this aside to raise this tiny human I was now responsible for?

So I put things on hold to a large degree. My career took a back seat to being home with my son. I stayed home, but honestly couldn’t wait to get back to work in some capacity.  I received praise and encouragement from family and friends, which further solidified the notion that I was doing the “right” thing. Speaking with my Mom, she revealed that her happiest years were when she was able to be a stay at home Mom. I couldn’t help but feel an incredible sense of guilt.

I wouldn’t say my happiest months/years were the portions of time I was mostly a stay at home Mom. Not because there weren’t incredibly happy times, or countless moments when I realized that life is fleeting and I wouldn’t get these years back. There were so many wonderful moments during those times, and I don’t regret them at all. I just wouldn’t characterize them as my “happiest.” It took me a long time to be able to admit that.

But I feel compelled to admit it. I am someone who doesn’t just enjoy working, I thrive in that environment. I just don’t feel whole unless I am using my professional knowledge and skills, and constantly adding to that skill set.  I can finally admit that this is the way I am wired, instead of feeling that there is something wrong with me.

My children still occupy my thoughts countless times a day. Their health, education, and overall well being are my priority, so much so that I tend to overanalyze it at times.  I enjoy cooking for them (most nights), reading to them, taking them fun places, and just being with them. I enjoy it more tenfold now that I am leaning back into my career.

Many of us feel we have the best Mom.

So who’s right?

We all are.

Our Moms are all so very different, and yet they are the best. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors; all different backgrounds, personalities, and habits.

I think if we stop trying to fill the shoes of other best Moms, and take good care of our very own shoes, we can all be the best Mom.

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