Few things bring anxiety like sitting down to Google “preschool crafts”. Really, I love creativity. I love artistic expression. But my brain just isn’t wired to seek out toddler activities when mental space opens.
Which leads me to consider advice I gained from a mommy mentor of mine just last year. I had recently shared my personal struggle in falling short of my own dreams for mothering two small children.
“Don’t beat yourself up. There are preschool moms and there are teenager moms.”
The relief, I must admit, was instant. But lately, that very idea has come to haunt me.
Am I okay with being one or the other?
One of the best things about parenthood is the freedom you have to open your children up to new worlds – spheres you know well. For myself, literacy was a no-brainer. And millions – okay, maybe hundreds – of books later, I still find thrill in sharing this special time with my children.
But, then, a voice finds its way into my psyche.
Fine motor skills.
And before I know it, I am reconciling my motherhood with Google, the ultimate bearer of inadequacy. Truth be told, this is why I steer clear of Pinterest.
But I am an educator, and it’s difficult to feel a sense of pride when you realize your gifts in the classroom are different from those at home. I teach college freshmen, and I thrive on discussion, inquiry, and research. At home, however, I am still learning my niche. I can tell you it doesn’t involve Elmer’s glue.
Just last night, after a full day of teaching tasks, I invited my kids to play in the backyard. In our house, books and nature are the default.
As my daughter placed a plastic ball on the tee, her brother reared back for a mighty swing. In that moment, my husband and I – both five feet from the scene – could only watch in terror.
The hit was, in a word, perfect. And Little Sister? Unscathed.
Sometimes it can feel like our own parenting is insufficient – that we showed up to the game unprepared. But we have these gifts. And they persist. And they’re beautiful.
I am coming to peace with the fact that I am not a preschool mom…or a teenager mom. Perhaps I am just simply a mom.
And, in the mean time, the kids will teach me what I need to know: grit, glee, and everything but Google.