I've seen a lot of articles and blog posts lately about "mom performance" - particularly in the elementary school scene. They all seem to be snarky, defensive position papers rooted in a perceived judgement by other moms. It's starting to get on my nerves.
First of all, I don't believe that most moms are judging each other - at least not to the over-dramatized level you read about. The judgement is only speculated. Really, these women are judging themselves and using other moms for perspective. I think it's ridiculous. Eventually those elementary school days end, and it won't matter one bit whether you orchestrated every classroom event and produced goody bags that rivaled the SWAG bags received by Oscar presenters, or you grabbed a box of store-bought cookies for a school party on your way to the office. It doesn't matter if you wore sweatpants every day or dressed like you were being featured in Vogue. Eventually your kids get older and things change, so don't get too wrapped up in the K-6 mom scene.
As I've discovered, with older kids there is an inevitable transition to a less hands-on role as mom. No one cares what you did when the kids were in third grade. Once your children hit middle school, you're not imagining how you're being sized up at drop-off or whether or not you're present at classroom parties. You actually don't see other moms that much anymore. And any insecurity you may feel is no longer camouflaged by the elementary school scene. It's staring you in the face.
I think we all feel insecure as moms from time to time. Whether or not you're using your level of outward involvement as a barometer, we often feel like we could or should be doing more. I believe we feel that way because we love our kids. We love being Mom.
It can be confusing though, to find our way as we experience the lengthy stage of metamorphosis as a mom of older kids. As our kids move into middle school, high school, and beyond, we need to do something to keep insecurity about ourselves and our changing role from making us less than we want to be. We need to grow as our kids grow. They are at a fascinating stage in life during these years because they are actively learning and creating themselves. We need to learn and create along with them.
One of the keys to this self-creating, I think, is to invite new experiences into your life. I've seen it with so many women I know. Whatever style of mom they are, they all have more of a light to them, more of a freshness to their spirit when they have stepped out of their box to take on a new experience. Some are taking classes, some are adding an extra-curricular involvement, others have started new fitness programs, and some are reinventing businesses and careers. Either way, by bravely taking a step forward and trying new things, they are living more fully. And it's these new experiences that guide us to what is next, as we and our precious kids grow and evolve together.
Not only does this growth make us better moms, it makes us better women.
I'm wearing this today.
I think everyone should have at least one article of clothing that feels like pajamas. This particular tunic serves that role in my wardrobe. I don't wear it often because when I do, if I sit still for too long it turns into a nap.
It's Meatless Monday and we'll be having a stir fry tonight. Leftover rice from last night makes it imperative and the frozen Asian veggies from Whole Foods make it easy. Ta-da!
gratitude: cool morning air, my new running program, watching football as a family, reminding kids about homework
thanks and love.