You know those moms that you see in the grocery store, at “Mommy and Me” classes, or at story time at the local library?
The ones with two or three kids who are well behaved. The mom that has the super cute outfit on that she claims she just threw together from Target or Kohl’s. She always has the long hair that has those perfect styled waves and highlights.
Of course, she has the accessories, like a chunky necklace, cute earrings, and bangled bracelets. She never looks tired or a mess. She is skinny even though her baby is six months old and you know she isn’t eating last night’s left over mac and cheese for breakfast.
Yeah, I know her too. However, let me be very clear: I am not her.
Now it’s not that that I haven’t tried. Oh, I have.
I have gone to Target and tried to find that cute outfit. But between chasing my son through the aisles, refolding the pile of shirts he pushed off the table, taking out the twenty toys that magically appeared in our shopping cart, and chasing him into the dressing room three different times, I never can seem to find that super cute shirt that goes amazing with those leggings.
And let’s be real honest, I am not the person that should be wearing leggings. Because I did eat the left over mac and cheese for breakfast and followed that with a half a chocolate bar in the bathroom while my son ate an apple.
For that reason, my outfits rarely ever change. They are simply rehashes of the same combinations — jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flops (unless it’s snowing and I was able to find boots). Also, my hair is not highlighted. Besides not having the time, who has the money when you’re a stay at home mom? I don’t have cute accessories, I don’t even know how to keep earrings in my ear without my son pulling them out!
The “Other” Mom …
I am the other mom you see.
The tired mom. The “running after my kid” mom. The show up late and forget the library books mom. When you see me, your first thought isn’t, “Wow, what a cute outfit!” Rather, it’s “Um, it is November! Why is she wearing bright pink flip flops in the rain?”
It is not that I don’t want to be the other mom; it is simply that I am too tired to try.
So what kind of mom am I? I am the attachment parenting and child-led learning mom. Not because I read thirty books on different philosophies and made this conscious decision that this is how I was going to parent. Instead, I became this type of mom because I was tired.
Let me explain.
Did I mention I was tired?
When I brought my son home from the hospital, I had created a $6,000 nursey. I had ripped out the carpet and put down hard wood floor. I had hung bead board and crown molding. I had gotten Pottery Barn furniture and a beautiful white rocking chair. I had dreams of sitting in this room and singing and reading to my son before laying him in his beautiful crib with a mobile that would lull him to sleep.
Then reality hit — and he nursed for 24 hours a day. Okay, not really 24 hours, but maybe 18 (and most of those hours took place in the middle of the night).
I was tired. I was also not going to get up 15 times at night and walk down the hall, nurse him, burp him, rock him, lay him down, and walk back to my bed only to get up 15 minutes later.
Nope. So, I moved a cradle next to the bed, except he didn’t like sleeping without my heartbeat. He screamed and screamed when I would lay him down. I ended up propped up in the middle of a bed with no blankets, no sheets, and no pillows in January all so we could practice safe co-sleeping. I learned all about it while reading my phone at 2 AM on Day 3 (we had him in October of the previous year).
We ended up nursing for 15 months not because I believed it would make my son smarter, more independent, or even that breastfeeding is best. Rather, it was simply the fastest and easiest way to put him to sleep.
Also, because it didn’t require a ton of extra work. There were no bottles to wash, no bottles to forget, no supplies to carry, and nothing that needed to be kept cold. Plus, there was no reason to get out of bed. I also want to mention that I baby wore him for the first year only because I couldn’t figure out how else to clean and cook without doing that!
As we entered Year 2, I have discovered that I practice “child-led learning.” (Apparently, it is “very Montessori.” Go me).
Actually, this is reality. When we are going somewhere or doing something, we stop and pull over for every cow, horse, sheep, pig, digger, tractor or truck.
I can’t tell you how many farms I have stopped at or how I somehow know where every digger in the surrounding three towns is located. But I do.
Now I would love to tell you that I do this for the simple joy of watching my son learn, grow and experience life. And while that is part of it, the other part is not wanting to hear him shout “Dig dig … DIG DIG, DIG DIG, DIG DIG … DIIIIIIIIGG!” for the next forty-five mins. It is much easier to pull over, investigate it, and then, after five mins or so, say bye-bye and drive on.
If I am honest with you, it isn’t a big deal.
I am not the working mom who is facing a glaring boss when I show up late. I am not the business mom who is meeting clients on her lunch break and my lateness costs everyone time and money. I am simply going to music class, swimming lessons, story time at the library, art or gymnastics. So, in truth, being ten minutes early isn’t much different than being ten minutes late.
So we stop. We look at every frog, turtle, and weird tree. We pick up every rock and visit every construction site. We do it because we can and because sometimes it is easier.
Being a SAHM is a labor of love. Pun intended.
But let me tell you something about me that you don’t see when we meet at the grocery store and I am waiting while my son looks at every type of jelly and lines them up on the floor from biggest to smallest.
I am the mom who fell in love at her 9-week ultrasound.
I am the mom who quit her $100,000-plus business that she built from the ground up.
I am the mom who sold her dream house in her dream town and moved to the middle of nowhere because it was cheaper.
I am the mom who used to shop at Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren.
I am the mom who use to use her Master’s degree.
I am the mom who saw her bobble head baby and changed overnight.
Because in that moment, without reading a hundred books or studying hundreds of child-rearing philosophies, I knew exactly what kind of mom I wanted to be.
“My” type of Mother
I am the kind of mom who asks herself four questions every night:
- Does my son know that I love him more than my own life and that my heart exists fully for him?
- Did my son experience something new today?
- Did he have a childhood experience that will shape the foundation of his life?
- Did I weave God into the tapestry of our day?
I want my son to know without a shadow of a doubt that he is loved, he is safe, and he is protected.
I want my son to experience life and have a full, happy childhood. I want him to pick apples, pet goats, feed baby horses, see tall buildings, ride on diggers, play with a hundred different kids, do a million nature walks, and never stop being excited about seeing a frog hop or a rabbit run across the backyard.
More important than all of that, however, I want him to look at the world around him and see God. I want him to know that no matter who he becomes, where he lives, or what he does, that he is enough and his only true purpose is to love God with all his heart, all his mind, and to call his mama every night before bed.
So, I may be late to swimming today and my swimsuit maybe ten years old and wearing off in the butt. I may be a little bigger than I am supposed to be two years after having a baby, but it’s okay.
Because there was a really cool rock outside the YMCA and we just had to take those 10 extra minutes to look at it and discuss how God made each rock special and different.
Just like my little boy.
I know I am not alone. I have met countless other moms just like me. My story is not unique or special but I share it because if you are ‘the other’ mom. This is blog is for you. I want to hear your story, your sacrifice and your funny daily life. Pop me a message, join our Facebook group and join our community!