A Million Ways

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When I was younger, I remember thinking my mom was awesome.  Maybe not 100% of the time, but most of the time.

I remember hopping up to sit on the kitchen counter and talking to her endlessly after school.  I remember watching Lifetime movies with her on the weekends while putting together thousand piece puzzles.  I remember how clean she kept the house, even when no one was coming to visit.

These memories are all from the perspective of myself as a child.  They may not even be the same memories my mom remembers about those days.  But they are what I remember when I think about how good a mom she was (and without a doubt, still is!).

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I spent the majority of my pregnancy imagining what it would be like to be a mother to a boy (I was positive he was a boy from day one).  Oftentimes I couldn't picture it very well and when I did, it was just a tiny glimpse into a dream reality of a little boy, about 3 years old, talking to me.  It was all I could come up with.  I couldn't even fathom what our every day would look like, let alone how I would handle it.

Five years ago I was dropped into the reality of motherhood.  Learning things as I went.  And in those first few years it was mostly about keeping them alive.  Providing enough to eat and in small enough pieces for them to chew.  Keeping interesting toys with in reach and dangerous ones away.  And kissing every boo boo.  

Motherhood was exhausting, but, for the most part, uncomplicated.

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As my boys grow out of that baby stage, I'm struggling to be a perfect mom.  It's not just about keeping them alive anymore. It's about teaching them to be little people. Giving them my attention without losing interest.  Cleaning up the house every day, making sure toys and backpacks and clothes are clean and put away and organized. Being a good example.  Showing them how to be good friends, siblings, students.  Cooking healthy meals and always being on top of groceries.  Teaching the benefits of vegetables and fruit over candy and cookies.  & on top of that, finding time to be creative, to read a book, to get out of the house, to teach myself something.

But the truth is that all of these things cannot be a reality.  It is impossible.

What I'm learning is this:

There is no way to be a perfect mom, and a million ways to be a good one.  -Jill Churchill

I love having mom friends, both in person and online.  But it is second nature to constantly compare.  I'm learning that instead of comparing, we need to determine what being a good mom means for ourselves. It will be different to all of us, as we all lead different lives. Our children are different, our commitments are different, and our families are different.

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I'm not usually so wordy on the blog, but I wrote this up for myself as I contemplate what my definition will be. It all comes back to adjusting my attitude. On being a good mom. A good wife. A good person. A happy person. One who can sit back at the end of the day and be proud of the choices I made.

So as I spend time determining what that list is for me, I'm curious, what is your definition of being a good mom?