Danigirl at Postcards from the Mothership tagged me with this meme. A meme where you use "Real Moms" as a writing prompt and go from there. It seems a deceptively simple idea at first glance, but not really. I've thought a lot about this over the last week or so, as I've seen this meme blossom and flow through the blogs I read, and I've come to this conclusion:
Real moms do the best they can with what they have.
It's not always easy. In fact, it's hardly ever easy to juggle the responsibilities of being the centre of a small person's universe and the demands of...well, everything else. Life.
Some moms have an easier or harder time than others due to circumstances largely out of our control: the job loss or promotion, the marriage break-up or happy, stable relationship. We do what is in our power and within our means to make life good for our children.
And we beat ourselves up for some of the decisions we have to make due to the exigencies of our budgets -- the money and time we have available for spending -- can we afford swimming lessons? Is private school an option? Should I skip book club to take her skating? Will he be devastated if we can't do camp this summer? And we shouldn't. We should learn that if we love them and spend time with them and encourage them, they will be fine, whether or not we can give them all that we wish we could.
We play the hand we're dealt, while still striving to do all we can for our kids -- to do better, to be able to provide materially and emotionally for them. To mix metaphors, it's a tricky tightrope to walk, and the crosswinds of fate and doubt are always blowing. But each step across the abyss brings us more confidence that whatever we are able to do for and with our children is going to be enough.
I have a little wooden sign that hangs in my kitchen. I bought it at a stall at the Carp Farmers' Market last summer. It's oval and green and painted with little flowers, and it says: "Martha doesn't live here.... Adjust." I thought I bought it because it made me laugh and would let visitors to the house know, if they hadn't figured it out already, that I'm not quite a domestic goddess. But I've come to realize that I really bought it for myself. To remind me of what's important. That I don't have to be Martha. That spending time with my girls (sometimes the only thing I have to spend) matters more than the clean house, the chores done, the errands run, the laundry folded.
Real moms leave the dishes in the sink and go tobogganing with their kids.
Now I'm supposed to tag five other people. So, let's go with the usual suspects:
Alissa, Briana, Susan, Stacy and Kimberly. I'd like to know what you have to say.