[Note: This one took me a four days to write. I still don’t know if I am quite expressing myself in the way I intend to, but I’ve wasted four days and need to move on.]
I am in that weird place where I am trying to figure out who I am as a mom. I don’t have a problem identifying as a mother. Zachary is the perfect baby for me. (Cheesy alert!) He fits me and Jay like a missing puzzle piece. I was always meant to be Zachary’s mommy. I feel like being a mother came easily and naturally to my own mom. While certain things do come naturally to me, I find it hard to figure out how to be the same type of mommy than my own mom was to me.
For starters, I work full-time and my mom did not go back to work until I was in middle school, and even then, she did not work full-time until my youngest sister was a little older. I am almost ashamed to admit that I like working, and I think that Zachary genuinely enjoys going to “school” (daycare). He gets excited when he is dropped off and is always happy when I pick him up. I don’t feel guilty that he is there when I see how social he is…and then I feel like I should feel guilty about not feeling guilty.
I have my strengths and weaknesses as a parent. I’m great at nurturing and having a conversation with him and the whole food thing (boob and solids). I like singing and dancing like a silly person for him to make him laugh. He’s started waving his arms around now to “dance” just like I do when I dance to music in front of him, haha.
However, I’m terrible at play time. I often find myself so exhausted that I can’t come up with half of the stuff that Jay does when I sit down to play with him – things like stacking his toys on top of each other so he can knock them down. It never even occurred to me to do something like that! I’m more of the “Let’s practice talking, standing, walking, and laughing and then, let’s sit and take a nap!!” kind of parent. Then, when we’ve exhausted those things, I sometimes just run out of ideas and life turns into a 30-minute game of peek-a-boo because that tends to get a laugh. I know that he doesn’t see me as inadequate, but I bet he doesn’t find me quite as fun as he does his daddy. And that is fine! That isn’t what makes me feel bad. Maybe another example will help me get to my point.
Last week, Jay and Jack had to record a podcast via Skype because it was a snow day. I worked the first half of the day while Jay watched Zachary. It was my turn to hang out with him while they recorded. I was so tired that I played with him while laying down until he eventually gave up and laid down next to me and we both took a nap for an hour. Jay came in and said, “Man, kiddo, your mom is a snoozefest – literally!” He was totally joking, but absolutely right. I felt so bad that I couldn’t even provide entertainment for an hour. I don’t ever remember my own mother being like that. She always had the energy to read to us, teach us things and play with us.
I’m also lacking in the developmental department. Sometimes, it doesn’t even occur to me when we play with his blocks that I should be telling him what color and shape they are. My mom does those things tirelessly with him. I do that on some days, but I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that other days, I go through the motions with his “talking” toys. Am I just an average mother and not an excellent mother for sometimes taking the easy way out by trying to make him laugh at night instead of reading to him or working with him on colors? Am I selfish for wanting to work? Do I have any business working full-time when it makes me so tired? I don’t even have a cool trait like playing an instrument. I’m boring and lazy, aren’t I?
This is getting long. I know my son loves me. I know that we have a fantastic relationship and he’s always happy to see me. I get kisses and hugs constantly. I know he loves when we practice standing and walking. I’m just concerned that I’m not as good as a mother as my own mother was to me. I desperately want to be, but I also desperately want to have my own identity as a mother. I want to be my own person while still being just as great as she was. I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet.