In Breaking Busy, Alli Worthington tells a story about her childhood jar of marbles. Some were dusty and muddy colored, some were vibrant and glistening. When she removed the dingy ones, the whole effect became more beautiful.
She wraps this story up in a beautiful metaphor. Our shiny marbles represent our unique talents, gifts, and passions. The dirty marbles are the lame expectations and distractions muddying our brilliance.
Some potential dirty marbles dragging you down include:
- Outdated obligations
- Shoulds and oughts
- Needless guilt
- Fear of failure
Parenting without comparison
We have a family friend whom I respect immensely. She and her husband have 6 kids, whom she homeschools. Her children are a delight. They are respectful, engaging, unique works of art. Each of them has a special talent for ballet, drawing, robotics, poetry, or piano.
Mrs. T has given them all her love of art. She does beautiful projects with them. I don’t mean those cookie-cutter crafts, where the focus is on the product. Together they dig deep into rich, authentic art processes. Her children win contests, decorate the halls of her home, and have a creative outlet to carry the rest of their lives!
Yet when my parents complimented her artistic home, I didn’t hear her satisfaction. She expressed to my father that what she really wished for, was to cook like him. She wasn’t happy being the art mom if she couldn’t also be the homemade-gourmet mom!
What kind of mother are you?
I’m the book-reading mom.
Before he even turned two years old, our son would take books from dad and give them to me. I make signature voices for different characters. Big hand motions to act out the book. Crazy faces in reaction to the story. Most importantly, I can give the same performance whether it’s the third time or the 13th time we’re reading the same book in a day. Storytelling is a joy to me.
I’m the free-range mom.
Do you want to climb to the top of the jungle gym? Awesome, I’ll spot you.
Do you want to carry in the 5 lb sack of potatoes? Be my guest!
You want to run through the puddles, and make squishy-stompy sounds in the mud? No problem. That’s what the washing machine is for.
Anything you think you can do, I’ll support you. And be there to catch you if you fall.
I’m not the arts and crafts mom
I don’t paint, knit, hand-letter, or draw. The baby book is sporadically updated to around one year. My two-year-old is still impressed by my wobbly circles, but he’ll be better than me soon. And you know what? I could not care less. It’s ok to not rock everything out there.
You don’t have to be everyone, to be someone.
It is impossible to serve every function! In fact, you weren’t created to.
God has given you certain talents. He has made you to be the mother of your children. As they grow, they will learn from others’ talents as well. Your husband, family, friends, fellow parishioners, and countless other people will invest in your child’s life too. If your child needs the sports mentor, the touchy-feely emotions lady, or the amazing chef, God will bring them into your child’s life.
Who you are is sufficient. If you’re worried about being a good mother, then you already are. What kind of mother are you? A good one.
I am the singing mom! : ) I love (99% of the time lol ) listening to my little one’s cds of Patch the Pirate or Awana Puggles CD. I add motions or sign language or included it with a craft. She even has her own youtube favorite list. lol How can I be more intentional in that more? thanks for the challenging post. visiting from TellHisstory #30
How sweet. You sound like the fun mom too!
If you want to cultivate a new daily habit, and make sure you’re having these musical moments every day, my #1 tip would be to find the cue. Rather than trying to create a new habit from scratch, hook it onto an existing cue. So whenever you finish breakfast, or give your LO a bath, or some other daily activity, let that be the cue to transition into a song.
Hanging a new habit onto an old one is how I add a-n-y-thing to my routine. 🙂
This was a great topic! I am the mom who loves a little bit of everything. I am the mom who almost wasn’t sure about clicking this post because I’m so insecure in my mommying sometimes that the title scared me lol!! But I’m glad I clicked it because the thing she lists, including “obsolete obligations” is one I have definitely had an issue with. Thanks for sharing this!!!
The obsolete obligations definitely bring us all down from time to time. Other people’s expectations may be all very well for them, but not fit your family 🙂
I hope the post wasn’t as scary as the title.
I’m a free range and non-crafty mum too. It’s so true that we should never compare ourselves to other parents. What works for one family may not work for another.
I’m a free-range and non-crafty mum too. It’s true that we should never compared ourselves with other parents. What works for one family may not work for another.
What an encouraging piece, Lorelai! I especially love when you say, “you don’t have to be everyone to be someone. You’re absolutely right! And I wish I realize this sooner in motherhood, but I’m enough–for my daughter and for my family. What I do is what’s best for them, and I have to just have trust in my instincts and myself when it comes to them. Thank you for sharing such a powerful piece with us on #shinebloghop!
Oh yes, trust your instincts, moms! There is no replacement for women’s intuition.
That was really insightful and made me tear up. I always felt somewhat lacking (especially when you are around the ‘other moms’…the creative ones, the fun ones, the sporty ones). I know that I am a good supporter – emotionally – encouraging them get to where they need to go. And, they know I love them. My kids are grown – they turned into good men. They still know I love them. I now have two granddaughters and I can’t say that I haven’t had some of the same insecurities come up. Only now, its about being a “_____ grandma”.
But you are correct, we are who we are and that needs to be enough.
I didn’t mean to make you cry, Krista!
You have the most convicting evidence of your parenting in your fine adult children. Your emotional support gave them roots and wings. Since you raised them right, just being yourself, I know you will do an admirable job as grandma too 🙂
I am the introverted mom who can’t handle noise. Thus my children are being taught to be respectful of other people’s ears and keep the noise down. I’m also a singing mom and an independence teaching mom 🙂
Those are all qualities that will serve them well in adult life too. Good job, Hannah!
Absolutely love this, especially the marble metaphor at the beginning. I’m not completely sure what type of mom I am…. Crazy farm mom, maybe?
That’s so cool! I have a black thumb. Potted plants cower in fear when they see me coming.
I’m the crafty, reading, cooking, science project mom but I am not the singing, history, outgoing mom. And my kids actually asked me not to touch any of their plants this year in the hope that we might actually grow something… so I’m not the homesteading mom either.
I’m so not a crafty mom but I am a momma who would do anything for my child and one who worries constantly that she is good enough. Thank you for this wonderful reminder not to compare ourselves as moms. #bbfh
I’m the travel mom, I love taking my kids to explore new places! I’m not the arts and crafts mom and I agree what we “can’t do” doesn’t define us! At the end of the day we are good moms and I appreciated your friendly reminder!
I’m trying to re-embrace this. It was a lot easier to be the “I’m not the good-with-hair mom” before my tweens hit an age where they’re not good with hair either, and we (and I do mean “we”) are all actively judged for it. It’s adding a large level of stress to my life to have to do three heads of very fine, damage-prone hair sometimes twice a day (because it’s so fine that it slides out of any braid it gets in). I just can’t seem to strike the balance between “our best efforts are good enough” and “how is sloth making us uncharitable towards our neighbor?” Great post, either way. I’m glad I found your through Catholic Mommy Blogs!
I’m sorry 🙁 That sounds like quite the challenge. With one curly-headed boy to take care of, our family is very low maintenance in that regard.
Beautiful post!! Thanks for linking up with us on Throwback Thursday!
Visiting from the Waywow link party. Thanks for the encouragement! I always feel like I am not a good enough mom. I am the “organizationally challenged mom” who never can seem to get a handle on clutter. However on a more positive note I am a crafty, pinterest loving mom who loves to cook and bake. I think no matter what type of mom, as long as we love our children and have their best interests at heart, we will all do just fine 🙂
Lorelei, Being a mother is the hardest thing ever. Especially when I look at myself as someone who is still growing, becoming who I want to be. How the heck am I supposed to raise another being? LOL I still mess up on a daily basis! But, I need to take your advice and realize that I can’t be everything, to take my strengths and build on them, not condemn myself for what I am not! Great advice! Happy Mother’s Day!
I love your growth mindset. I firmly believe we can become whomever we want to be. If it’s meant to be.
I hope you had a great Mother’s Day too, Nikki!
I absolutely loved this! I’m in the same boat, in that, I am not the arts & crafts mom. I want to be because I enjoy them, but they do not come out looking like much, ha. Great post! Thanks for linking up at #lifeislovely
Great post!! Every mom(and dad, too) has specific gifts that help her meet her children’s needs and grow up in the Lord! I was the book mom, too. My son has loved reading since a very young age, as I began reading to him right away and never stopped till he read on his own.
Appreciated this so much!! I’m the book-reading, organizing, be-there-to-cheer-you-on-at-every-event mom! 😉 I constantly fight the battle of comparison, so need reminders like these to encourage me in embracing the way I best mother my children, and letting the other stuff go.