Meet my friend, Heather. I'm so glad I met her, and I bet you will be too. I still remember how excited I was 2 years ago when she knocked on my door and invited me to a little playdate at the park. My baby was only 2.5 months old, and certainly didn't care if we were playing with other kids or not, but it meant a lot to me! I was new to the area and new to my role as a mom. I was so tickled that a more experienced mom thought I was cool enough to come to her playdate. But that's Heather, for you: finding that person who needs a pick-me-up and being a true friend to them in her gentle, soft-spoken way. She is the mother of 2 cute kids who we instantly fell in love with. She is a gifted crochet-er. She's the kind of mom that makes her childrens' interests her own interests as well. She goes to great lengths to provide her children the tender love and understanding they need. Like many moms on this blog, she is a shining example to me of the kind of mom I want to be. I was very reluctant to say goodbye to my dear friend when they moved to Delaware last summer, but I'm determined to always keep in touch. True friends like Heather are very hard to come by.
Heather's words of advice bring up a very important point that I want to keep at the forefront of this blog: we moms need to SUPPORT each other, and never COMPARE each other.
The purpose of this blog is not to make anyone feel bad about themselves as a mom. That's the very last thing I want! Rather, the purpose of this blog is to help moms find ways to be there best selves and feel good about the things they are already doing. Maybe that message doesn't come across well enough, but I feel very strongly that that is my goal. Anyway, Heather expresses herself beautifully, so I'll let you read it yourself:
I finally got around to reading your blog. I have to admit, I felt discouraged the first time I read it. Maybe it doesn’t help that I know most of the women contributors and I think they are stellar mothers and would love to follow all their advices and have the great outlooks they have and be perfect just like them. Anyway, after initially reading, I had to step back and tell myself, “I’m a good mother too and these women aren’t perfect”. I don’t have the strengths, backgrounds, experiences, knowledge and interests as some of these other fabulous mothers, but I’m still a good mother and they are too. God has given my children to me for a reason. I know them best and have experiences, backgrounds, knowledge, interests, strengths, (and weaknesses), and interests that they need." Often I find that I compare myself to other moms and often ask myself “Why can’t I be like …… She’s great at this…. Or be like ……..Her home (or family) looks like this (or always does that)……” These thoughts can be debilitating and devastating to my emotional health. I don’t know if other mothers feel like this or have similar thoughts, but I wanted to stress the importance of always improving. There is no one perfect mother. There are zillions of ways to be a great mother. And every mother has the potential to be a great mother. It’s important that we’re always improving ourselves as mothers to be the mothers that God would want us to be. When we first become mothers, we come packaged differently (different family and cultural backgrounds, experiences, mother examples, interests, strengths, etc.). Sometimes some come better fit for the job than others. But I know the importance of taking one step at a time, finding one thing at a time to change and become better at. For example, as a kid, my parents both worked. They were tired. We ate out often. We weren’t a healthy family. But since I’ve been married and have had kids, I’m a much much much healthier eater and so is my family. I take each day at a time. Try a new meal. Try something from scratch. Try out a new vegetable or fruit. Grow some vegetables and fruit and find ways to use them. Use less meat and more beans. Try out a new grain. Try out foods known to be healthier for our bodies. Drink more water. Eat packaged foods with less sugar or salt. Eat more whole grains. I’m not near to having the perfect food and diet for my family, but I know I’m working on it and it is blessing my family. I know eating healthy is a strength to some women (maybe given to them from their mothers or interests), but it’s not a strength for me and I can’t compare myself with others in this area. Is isn’t fair to myself. And so I write these comments to remind myself, and maybe other mothers that it’s important to take the good we already do and make it better and to take the not so good and improve it and make it better. AND THIS ALL HAPPENS ONE STEP AT A TIME! One day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time. I know I’m a better mother today than I was a year ago or even a month ago. This improvement is what counts… not what this mother can do better than me or what I can do better than that mother. The improvements we make as mothers bless our families immensely.
I don’t know if this any good advice. When you invited me to try to add something to your blog, I tried hard to think of something. I couldn’t come up with anything. I finally took the time to read what others have posted. I do like their advice and tips. Hope to try a few, one at a time until it actually becomes natural so it’s not overwhelming. Anyway, this is finally my attempt to add. It’s not really a tip, maybe more of a reminder. I did try to start out writing about something I specifically know I try to focus on as a mother, but instead this is what you have. Work with it as you want. If it helps.