I have been asked so many times, “Tracie, How do you do it all?” “How do you balance a blog, kids and everything else?” “You seem like you’ve got it all figured out.” To these comments I just nod and say “I try my best.” That is the truth, but the secret is – I don’t. And honestly – I don’t want to do it all. I just live my life in the way that works for me.
I read other websites or see photos and often find myself comparing myself to these other moms. You know the ones I am talking about, don’t you? Those who have the perfect Easter crafts done by their kids. Those who plan elaborate meals for their family every night of the week. The moms who play with their kids every second of every day — and still have not a hair out of place. I wonder, how do they do it?! I start to question myself. I question if I am doing all I should. I quickly smack myself and say “Wake up! You are not perfect — and neither are they!”
You see, when you look at a blog or a mom on the playground, you see only what they want you to see — and often you see only what you want to see. They may be fighting an illness or marriage problems. One of her children may be dealing with developmental issues. She might be a pack rat who lives in a house filled with clutter. She might be on her phone checking for an email about a sick relative. Her blog may be her escape from what she is dealing with at home. The point is this – we don’t know. Not unless they share, of course.
What you may not know about me is that I often stay in bed until close to 7 am while my kids are playing downstairs. It is my chance to get myself geared up, ready to face another day. Then, I get up and immediately corral kids to the counter to get breakfast — usually by my having to call them a minimum of 4 times before they finally “hear” what I am saying. After that, I repeat myself another 4 or 5 times reminding them to get dressed, make their beds and brush their teeth.
Once they are out the door and off to school, I try to squeeze in a game with my youngest before she too heads off to preschool. However, most days, she would rather just play by herself. Does this make me a bad mom? Nope! I ask her if she wants to do something with mommy and then if she tells me no, that was her choice. I then start working. Truth be told, I have to set a timer for myself so I don’t forget to stop working to take her to school.
There are times when I turn to my computer to escape my life. I need to block out the fighting, the arguing, and the chaos which can come with being a mom. It isn’t always work. It is often trying to connect with others (as some of my closest friends “live” in my computer). It is reading blogs. It is following a feed or even reading the news. I sometimes need just five more minutes to get a post done and need the kids to wait for a drink of milk.
There are other times when I want nothing to do with technology. I want to snuggle with my kids. I want to play Red Light Green Light with them in the front yard. I choose to hire a sitter and have a dinner out with my husband.
I’m the mom who says “Just 5 more minutes” which turns into 10 or 15 minutes. I’m also the mom who drops what she is doing when her child asks her a question. I’m the mom who loses her temper and yells. I’m also the mom who drops everything to get another glass of chocolate milk or to find that lost toy.
Does any of this make me a bad mom? Of course not. I am far from perfect, but tell, me – who is? What does perfect or a “good” mom mean? To me, a good mom is one who loves her kids with all of her heart and does the best she can. It isn’t about the diapers she uses, the way she feeds her infant or how she educates her kids. It isn’t about the games they play, the crafts they do or the meals that you fix. I am so tired of us all comparing ourselves and trying to achieve this perfect mom status.
None of us are perfect. What we are, is human. We are moms. We love our kids. We do our best. That makes us all more alike than some may want to admit. Ask your kids and I am sure that they will tell you that you are the perfect mom. And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters anyhow?
So, do I do it all? Nope. Well, not perfectly. And you know what? That’s OK by me.