How this one list can empower you to be the mom you are

I used to hide all my frustrations. Pretend I didn’t have them.

I used to just float about life with the good girl syndrome and a smile on my face. Keeping under the radar. Doing just enough of the ‘right’ stuff so I wouldn’t have to do any more or any less. I was on autopilot.

Then I became a mom and I had to simultaneously do more and do less, of everything.IMG_5194

I had to confront my frustrations. Especially the anger I had buried that motherhood has been more of a struggle than I ever imagined. The relentlessness wears me down. I thought I would be better at this.

But I’m learning that ‘better’ is really just the sum of everyone else’s best qualities. It isn’t attainable.

I am learning that my imperfections and my mistakes help me to love better. As do my strengths, my talents, and my natural affinity to make delicious breakfasty foods.

The case for not doing the dishes, simple on purpose
This child’s mother googles recipes and brings out measuring cups, but ends up using neither

I had been feeling so much pressure to have tremendous ‘intention’ behind my mothering. To ‘make the memories I want them to have’.  To be a certain type of mom who does certain types of things ALL THE TIME!

But I was letting my sights dart out into the world without seeing the scene playing out in my backyard.

I have said before that I feel like I have to ‘mother on purpose’. That I have to make myself stop, slow down, and just indulge. That I have to make myself do certain activities and tasks that I am so not interested in or comfortable with. (*cough, road trips* cough, picnics*)

I think this is a great thing to do. To identify some real intentions and be purposeful about doing them. But I also need to respect that God has already made me a mother on purpose.

This child’s mother does not fold their clothes, except the shirts, she’s not a cavewoman after all

Just as my Grandma always says, ‘they are just on loan to us’, and God makes no mistakes about who He loans His children out to. I am doing things every single day that are scribbling little notes on the pages of their heart. I was made to be me, on purpose. I am the mother they were meant to have. 

So, I made a list. Because lists have a magic power to pull more and more out of your brain that you didn’t know was there.  They seem nerdy but I’m fairly certain they are part of the path to enlightenment.

So….lists. I made one called ‘the mother my kids will remember‘.  I wrote down all the memories my kids will have of me being their mom. From the not so good to the not so bad. From the morning waffles, to covering them with blankets every time I see them laying on the couch (like it might magically make them nap (it doesn’t)). From me shuffling around in a housecoat complaining about kitchen counter space. To my gardening skills being limited to invasive squash plants and nurturing a weed I thought was a goji berry bush (it wasn’t).

what do we teach them about the pursuit of happiness
This child’s mother cannot open the peanut butter jar without additional adult assistance.

This list is becoming a snapshot of everything that makes me uniquely their mom.

Sure, I will always have that ‘list’ of things I want to do with my kids. I still have things I want to try, intentions I have set, and ways I want to grow as a mom. But seeing everything out on paper has made me feel empowered in the ways I do make their little lives tragically awesome……

Like forcing them to listen to me ramble about bird identification. Or breaking out into song when they won’t stop asking me the same question over and over. Or how I fumble through trying to discipline each one of them. Or building legos with them, but pretty much the same box-‘house’ that they find kinda boring compared to their dad’s castle.

This list has helped me to feel like I don’t need to apologize, or do more, or even do less. I can worry less about mothering on purpose and just be the mom I was made, on purpose….and know that my kids will grow up a bit on the weird side. But,  I mean…..we might all ask questions if they didn’t.

So I encourage you to do the same. Write a list of all the things your kids will remember about you being their mom. Don’t look around on social media and see what other moms are up to, look right in your own home. Because I’m fairly certain your list is kinda awesome! And that the more you pour into that, the more awesome motherhood can be.


20 thoughts on “How this one list can empower you to be the mom you are”

  1. Love your idea of writing that list, and I agree that seeing things on paper makes a difference, like a contract with yourself. I printed off a couple blog posts about my son — now a few weeks away from getting married — and put them in a memory box for him. Kind of like your list, I looked at this as a way for him to see my thoughts of him on paper and go back to them if he ever needs to. Glad to see you with #wholemama!

  2. “I was made to be me, on purpose. I am the mother they were meant to have.” There is so much freedom in this! Thanks for being vulnerable and honest. 🙂

  3. Two lines:
    I am learning that my imperfections and my mistakes help me to love better.
    (so true isn’t it – learning more about our weakness, opens us up to so much more love)
    I can worry less about mothering on purpose and just be the mom I was made on purpose
    (Such a freeing statement – beautiful!)

  4. I love the idea of making a list of qualities we are already bringing to motherhood. What a refreshing way to look at it, rather than zero sum game of comparison. And oh yes…the blankets never worked for me either.

  5. Aw, I love this. I feel like there’s such a push to EXPERIENCE with kids, to be CREATING EXPERIENCES all the time forever now now now now that we never let our kids breathe… and by extension, we never let OURSELVES breathe. My memories of childhood that are the best aren’t those where my mother manufactured experiences. It’s being carried up to sleep by my dad when I was four (until I got too heavy), or going to the bookstore with my mom because I’d been good during the grocery run. I love your “the mother they remember” list idea. You’re right – we discover all new things about ourselves when lists are involved.

    “But I’m learning that ‘better’ is really just the sum of everyone else’s best qualities.”

    This is such a true line, and I hadn’t really thought of it like that before.

    Great post! And a great reminder not to worry myself too much with entertaining my little one all the time, and worry more about -interacting- with her!

    • I love that Katie! I have such similar memories of my dad carrying me to bed out of the car (we’d pretend to be sleeping). Or singing songs in the car with my mom. Everything you said is just what I was trying to get at.

  6. I love how the simple acknowledgement that we are the mothers our kids are meant to have frees us up to live more whole and then even purposefully.

    Love your freeing words! 🙂

  7. My own trick is to just be PRESENT. It’s so easy to get caught up with to-do’s and to let ourselves feel overwhelmed, only thinking about what we have to do next. When I can shut my damn mind up and focus on what’s happening RIGHT NOW, then I can actually enjoy what’s taking place. Even if it involves cleaning up bunny pee, shaking myself out of my head so I can actively participate in the moment I’m living makes all the difference. The simple things are enjoyable and opportunities to connect are suddenly EVERYWHERE. I get caught up in my head more than I’d like, but once I remember I’m doing my robot/autopilot thing again I can snap back and go back to living.


Leave a comment