The other day, I was sitting in my office, pretty bored as there was nothing to do; so I decided to write an article (I know, an article about writing an article, silly). The only problem was I was totally suffering from writers block and nothing was coming to me. I started getting very frustrated, so I decided, in the name of research of course, to take a look at what other moms were writing, on different sites and blogs alike (you would not believe how many mommy bloggers are out there). I found blogs on everything and anything you can think of written by moms; money saving tips, DIY projects, scrap booking, recipes/menu planning and the list goes on and on! As I sat there, and read these blogs from all these other moms with their cool little niches, I started to feel discouraged. This was not helping my writers block, it was making it worse. So I took a break and decided I would write when I got home.
On the drive to pick up Tony, I started to think what’s my niche? What did I have to offer the world of mommy bloggers that hasn’t already been done 10 different times in 10 different ways? Nothing came to mind. I didn’t, and still don’t, have a niche. I started feeling like a failure as a mother! The fact that I didn’t know how to build a head board for my son’s room was irking me, and not knowing how to make perfectly shaped cupcakes from scratch is apparently universal mommy knowledge that I don’t have! I kept asking myself why I didn’t have my menu for the month planned out, and why don’t I know how to sew a hem in a pair of pants, and why oh why did I not have my own collection of crock pot recipes! The fact that these things were not within my abilities OBVIOUSLY meant I was a horrible mom! If not, why would all these other moms have the knowhow on how to do these things and not me?
As my ramblings of how horrible of a mother I was went on in my head I was parking the car at my son’s school. It was now only about 5:15pm. By the time Tony and I get to the car and drive off, it’s 5:25pm. On the trip home, Tony is telling me his preschool gossip about how Nikki knocked down the apple house and how Melissa chased him around the playground to give him a hug; but he didn’t let her, and why would he? He says girls are YUCK! We continue making small talk about the things we see outside the car, about his birthday (which is still months away) and then he starts his negotiations on how many cookies he can have before/after dinner; that always last a while. Before I knew it, we were home. It’s now 6:15pm.
When we walk in the house, we start our normal routine. The first part of that is walking Cookie, Tony’s puppy who we call Cooks. When we go to get her out of her cage, we hit our first hiccup. Cooks couldn’t hold it apparently and had an accident. She was covered in her own pee-pee, my poor little Cooks! So, instead of a walk, it was a bath; which of course is a much longer process, especially when the 4 year old wants to help. By the time we were done, Tony was in his underwear dripping wet and Cooks had run around the bathroom trying to dry herself. Needless to say the floor was soaked! Since Tony was already half way in, I told him to take an early bath. It is now 6:45pm.
While Tony was in the bath, I came out to the living room to clean up Cooks cage and to finally take off my heels, but when I get to my room to put my shoes away, I notice a stain on my curtains. Apparently somewhere between her drying herself off and me getting Tony in the bath, Cooks had an “accident” in my room too…so into the washing machine the curtains went and out came the mop. While I was getting the mop ready, I noticed the clock, again, and it was already 7pm!!! I hadn’t even started dinner, so down went the mop and off to the kitchen I went. It was pasta night, and both of the pots I needed were, of course, in the sink! So I quickly did the dishes and started the chicken. “Mom I’m DONE!!!!” Off to get Tony out of the shower. Tony picks out his pajamas and asks me to read him a book, so I do. As I am reading to him, he kindly points out the smoke in the kitchen. “AHHH the chicken’s burning” I run to the kitchen to find my partially burnt chicken. It is now 7:20pm, no time to start a new dinner, so I just take the partially burnt chicken out of the pot and put it aside to add to the pasta once it’s done, I figure the sauce will cover the burnt taste.
“Mom, you have to finish the story” Tony is pleading with me to finish the story when I notice his book bag and I decide to look inside. And what do I find? HOMEWORK! So, down went story and out came the pencils. Tony is not a fan of homework, as I can only assume most children are not, so it was a battle, but I won. By the time he finishes his homework, dinner is ready to be served.
“Mom I’m DONE” Tony yells at me from his room with his plate raised in the air as if eating his dinner plate in 45 minutes was an award winning accomplishment. It is now 8:30pm, Tony’s bedtime. When I tell him it’s time to for bed, he gets so upset because he feels he didn’t get any “playtime”, and I sulked with him, because neither did I. After he sheds a few tears, I get him all tucked in and ready for bed. When I come out of his room, it’s time to do the dishes, again, and to pack up the left over’s. Once I was done with that, I was FINALLY heading for the couch which I hadn’t touched since I walked through the door, and that’s when I see the mop out of the corner of my eye. I hang my head low and almost cry out loud, but no matter how much I just WANTED to sit down, it just wasn’t in the cards for me yet. So I was off to my room to finish mopping. By the time I finished, I remembered the curtains in the washer, so I go to put them in the dryer, and what do I find?? Last night’s load! So I took those clothes out and put the curtains in the dryer. I was off to my room again, where I put all the clothes away and even organized a few drawers while I was at it. By the time I reach the couch, its 9pm, and I’m exhausted and I still needed to go take a shower.
By now you are probably asking yourself what is the point of me telling you all this and I promise I am getting there.
When I was finally sitting down, I turned on the TV and grabbed my laptop to see if anything had come to me. I sat there and looked at the blank computer screen for a long while, and nothing. I was still obsessing over all the things I didn’t or couldn’t do. And then, like a light bulb, a switch turned on. It all started to hit me at once. OF COURSE I don’t know how to bake cupcakes from scratch (and still sometimes burn the Betty Crocker ones), or know how to sew, or how to build my own headboard, nor do I own a scrap book of any kind! It is not because I do not want to do these things or that I don’t try to do them, it’s simply because I don’t have TIME to do these things. My life is already filled with something to do at all hours of every day. As most moms, I work a full time job, I have to cook and clean, and read books, and play Superhero Squad. Where on earth am I supposed to find the time, or energy, to bake from scratch or to take up a cool hobby? Does the fact that I don’t have time for these things make me a bad mom…NO! It just makes me a busy mom who is trying to divide her time between 10 different tasks on a daily basis.
I think we all feel this way at some point or another, we feel as if we don’t do enough for our children, and we beat ourselves up for missing a school event because of work, and we cry in the kitchen when our made from scratch cupcakes look nothing like they do in the picture. It seems to me that in the midst of all these mommy blogs, their message has gotten lost in translation. Being a mom is not a competition of who has the best DIY toy chest, the best recipe book, the most creative scrap book or who throws the best parties with handmade party favors. Remember, at the end of the day, we all have the same goal; to raise a healthy, smart, well adjusted and kind individuals. The steps you take to get there are irrelevant, so long as the big picture stays clear. Don’t obsess over what you don’t do, and learn to give yourself credit for all that you do DO!
How about we get back to basics and start being moms instead of master crafters or master chefs? Whether you serve them homemade cookies or store bought Oreo’s, they will love you just the same. Spend the time you have with your children and not trying to complete some ridiculously unneeded DIY project. I think our kids would appreciate more story time and less “Look at what mommy made” time!
Let’s stop “Keeping up With the Joneses” and start
“Keeping up with the ________ (<insert family name here)”
Written by Veronica Diaz