Gather around, young moms, and let me tell you a tale. It may sound like a fairy tale, but I assure you that every word is true.
Once upon a time, motherhood looked very different. In fact, moms and kids lived in a time when things actually happened, just as they unfolded, even though not one second was documented. Moms and kids were able to live in the moment, without any expectation otherwise.
There was no digital footprint on social media to document my children’s lives. Nope. My kids are so super blessed because this mama scrapbooked regularly with my girlfriends. My lucky kids are going to one day inherit these 12-by-12-by-12-inch books that weigh approximately 50 pounds each. It’s just one (heavy and bulky) piece of my legacy as a mom.
Non-GMO? Gluten free? Organic? Food was a simpler affair when my kids were little.
I fed our babies solid food at four months (gasp!), and shocking as it may sound now, at 11 weeks for the third kid. She was growing so quickly that milk alone wasn’t holding her, so I moved right on to rice cereal at bedtime, diluted with milk, and that did the trick. She’s over six feet tall at age 15, so I guess that might be the only side effect of such early solid food.
I grew up eating Pop-Tarts for breakfast and beef-a-roni for dinner because we fully embraced the wonder of the microwave for quick meals since we were latchkey kids. So, at the risk of being judged as a terrible mom, I’ll just say the bar for nutrition was set pretty low. In my defense, I have two grown and healthy boys, and a daughter who has always insisted she eats a very healthy diet.
Maybe can we credit that nutritional prowess to the fact she ate rice cereal at 11 weeks?
Charcuterie boards? Naw. Hey kids—you want some crackers with that string cheese?
Let me tell you more tall tales of mothering in the pre-social media, pre-Pinterest days.
I did not see in real time how quickly other children were developing and succeeding. Those types of comparisons happened on the playground in actual conversations. In other words, they weren’t in my face all the time. I also avoided the real time news and information about all the ways I was messing up my children.
We sat at the dinner table and restaurants, engaged in face-to-face conversations. Screen time was determined by how many videotapes my children could watch daily. It may all sound archaic, but it actually happened this way.
And birthday parties? Hey, what invitations are on sale at Wal-Mart? What kind of cake does the kid want? Done and done. The whole party favor pressure began to come into play when I was a young mom. But it was far simpler and less expensive because the lack of social media gave wiggle room on many aspects of motherhood.
I sit back and see you young moms raising your beloveds, and my heart aches for the pressure you endure on a minute-by-minute basis.
I want to reach across a table over a cup of coffee and tell you BRAVA. Brava, Mama, for all you do as a mom and for the love of your sanity, do not receive the mommy guilt that lies to you about measuring up.
Don’t let the pressure of culture deceive you. Your kids feel your love and attention, and it’s in the tiny little things you do every day, all day. The cumulative effect of your offerings sends a strong and clear message to your kids that they matter. Don’t think you have to pull of an Insta-worthy existence to demonstrate your worth as a mom.
It’s in the private and quiet moments when life happens that you mother well. When you fill up the sippy cup, again and again, you are filling up his or her souls and filling your child’s needs. When you snuggle during a fever, your baby learns you can be counted on in rough times. And when you fail, as we all do, you apologize for losing your temper and your child learns how to work through the bumps in relationship.
Moms, the substance of incredible mothering has nothing to do with always getting it right or making it pretty. Children learn how loved and valued they are when you just keep at it, getting up every day to give it another go.