I read an article recently about all of the different "types" of moms there are. Some examples are The Crafty Mom, the Super Fit Mom, the Well-Dressed Mom (with well-dressed kids, of course) and Organic Mom, who feeds her kids nothing but the healthiest, organic, whole foods.
Tangent: I actually tried to be Organic Mom about a year ago for a few months. I'm a firm believer in eating healthy and taking good care of our bodies. I did a pretty good job of it for a while, but I came to a disappointing conclusion: I really don't like spending SO much of my time and energy on food. I don't like to be in the kitchen all day, and I felt like that's what it took to feed everyone completely healthy. Although I felt good about what was going into our bodies, I wasn't happy. It was too high a price for me to pay.
Anyway... that article used some stereotypes to make a point, and it really got me thinking. There are lots of ways to be a good mom, and nobody is ALL of those things. Super Fit mom does what she does because (presumably) it makes her happy. Crafty mom must be really happy when she's doing crafts. (A little hard for me to relate to!)
So I started thinking, what kind of good mom do I want to be? A happy one! I want to be the kind of mom that spreads joy in the home, and makes her children feel happy and loved.
I'm sure that is every mom's goal, but it was good for me to come to that realization again. The hard part, then, is to figure out how I, with my unique talents and personality, can best accomplish that in my own home. I came to the conclusion that I am happiest when I have time to slow down and enjoy activities with my kids. I love to take Simon and Eli to library story time. I like to take the older ones out to lunch for some individual time. I love to do things with my kids that help me get to know them better. I love it when I have enough time to notice the little details that make life sweet. That's what makes me a happy mom, which will hopefully translate to happy kids.
The problem is... with 7 kids to clean up after, shop for, cook for, etc., it takes a whole lot of effort to create those kinds of moments. There is so much work that needs to be done!!
So I haven't totally solved my problem. I know that organization helps. If I make a good plan, I end up having more "slow" time. I know that taking time for scriptures in the morning helps. When I am doing well spiritually, I'm better able to discern what is most important, and I am more aware of blessings in my life. And it helps to step back and remember the big picture. To remember why I do all of the work that I do: So that I can love and nurture and enjoy these children (and husband) that I am so blessed to have in my life.
So, to be a good mom, I need to be a happy mom. Some days that comes easily, and other days I have to fake it 'til I make it. But when my kids get old enough to reflect on their childhood, I want them to remember that their mom was happy being a mom. For me, that would be the ultimate compliment.
My inspiration for this record of my days:
“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen