While this post would actually be a lot more appropriate to post in May in celebration of Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to go ahead and put it up at the beginning of the year when we all tend to do a bit of self-reflection and goal setting. And what many of you reading this may not know is that I am gearing up for baby number two… literally as I write this. I’ve got less than five weeks to my due date, so all things mom have been on my mind lately. I originally started this post about seven months ago and just never got around to finishing it, but it seemed fitting to finally post it as we welcome the new year.
I have to say that if the criteria for determining whether or not you are a good mom were based upon your skill level, enjoyment, and frequency of doing artsy crafts, then I would be a complete failure. I’m not very good at doing crafts by myself or with my son (though to be fair, I don’t really apply myself either). I’m not creative in this particular area, and when I do actually attempt a craft of some sort, I usually lose interest or patience…or both. And even if I manage to finish something, it usually looks like it was done by a first-grader, unless my husband comes to the rescue to finish the project for me.
I went through a phase where I started to feel like I was the only mom on the planet who wasn’t a “craft mom.” It seemed like everyone I compared myself to was always trying the latest thing on Pinterest or coming up with some really awesome idea that looked like it came straight out of a magazine. And even though I try to avoid the comparison trap as much as possible, I started thinking that maybe I needed to develop this particular interest and skill to become a better mom. I do stay home with my son after all; don’t all the other stay-at-home moms do crafts with their kids all day long?
And then it hit me. No, I don’t have to try and develop that skill. Moms are not made in one size fits all form, nor are they meant to be. God has created each one of us to be uniquely different with not one of us having an identical set of strengths and talents. I don’t need to try and reshape or modify what God has already declared to be “beautifully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
To put a picture with words, imagine what it’s like when you are trying to “squeeze” into some pants that, let’s be honest, just aren’t your size (every woman knows what I’m talking about). If you can just hold your breath long enough to get the zipper up, do a few squats to stretch them out, and then avoid sitting for the rest of the day, then the pants fit, right? Well, no, they don’t. When we do this, we just look ridiculous and feel extremely uncomfortable until we put something on that actually fits. Yet this is exactly what we do when we start trying to force ourselves into some mold that was never meant to fit us.
And bear with me; I can’t help sharing another example that came to mind as I was writing the last paragraph. If you’ve ever seen the movie Men in Black, you probably remember the farmer whose body is overtaken by one of the bad aliens who is actually an insect. Since he’s essentially an insect trying to function in a human body, he is visibly uncomfortable and extremely awkward the entire movie. To a lesser degree, I think we sometimes go through life in the same manner, awkward and uncomfortable trying to be someone we’re not.
So while I may not be good at crafts, sewing or knitting (all great mom skills), I realized that God has given me other areas in which to thrive. Not every mom enjoys cooking or baking, but I love to bake, and I hope my son and any future children will enjoy baking with me as much as I loved helping my mom and grandmother in the kitchen when I was a little girl. And I’m a tomboy at heart, so I love doing physical and athletic activities with my son rather than just watching from the sidelines. While some moms would prefer that Dad teach their children those basic athletic skills like throwing or catching a ball, I love getting to be right in the middle of the action. That is not only my comfort zone but my happy place as well.
Like many things in life, learning to be comfortable and content with the mom size God gave me is an ongoing process. The temptation to compare and doubt myself inevitably creeps in from time to time, but when I embrace my unique God-given strengths, the weight is lifted from my shoulders, and I’m free to be the mom God intended for me to be – the one my son needs me to be!