5 Years Behind

There was a point in my journey as Mama 2 that I always felt 5 years behind because I didn’t join our girls’ lives until our oldest was 5. It seemed I always scheduled meals out or meet ups with grandparents during nap time, and I never had the needed stuff in my mom bag (really, how often except that one time are we going to need scotch tape to repair a broken diaper tab).

It’s just when I think I am getting this mothering thing down that I realize it’s a never-ending learning process, but there’s something else I’ve realized. Other moms who have shared almost every day with their children still feel the same way. In fact, moms who have to work full time have just as hard of a time with commercials like these that picture moms at home with their children.

When I was working in high poverty schools, I met several hard-working single moms who didn’t get to see their children much because they were holding down two-three jobs or they were running their own businesses hoping to provide for the children. I don’t think this makes them any less of a mom. In fact, I would tell them to help their children understand how hard they were working by having their children work for the things they wanted, not needed. If your son wants a new pair of shoes, then explain to him that he needs to work for them just as you work to provide food and a house for him. When I explained this to this particular mom, she breathed a noticeable sigh of relief. I think maybe she needed to know that someone else saw how hard she was working and she needed to know it was ok to have her son work just as hard as she was.

Natalie Morales recently explained the mommy guilt she felt as she trained for a marathon in addition to her work schedule:

For marathon moms, guilt is a hazard as common as shin splints. Any mom with a time-consuming hobby knows the pangs of “should I be doing this?”

“You do feel a little guilty,” she says. “It can feel like a self-indulgence when you’re working out for two and a half hours, even though half the time you’re grumbling about it to yourself.”

The best I can figure, there is no right way to mother because there is no one way that we become mothers. Some of us become mothers after carrying life inside of us for 9 months, some by joining the journey 5 years later, some by welcoming children into our family after crisis, some by welcoming children into our family who don’t have families. The best I can figure being a mother is inherently tied to being the best version of yourself admitting your weaknesses, sharing your passions, living into the unique individual you were created to be, and most importantly not comparing yourself as a mother to any other mother.