I know you have met a mom who seems to be so sad when the end of summer rolls around and she has to send her kids to school.
Seriously, she’s heartbroken.
I used to live next door to the loveliest girl ever. Not only was she beautiful and so so kind, but she loved having her kids around and literally was so bummed when she had to send them back to school.
When I met her, I was confused.
That fall, I was sending my oldest daughter to first grade and my son to kindergarten. My third was about 2 years old and would be home with me.
While I was a little nervous for my son and for his teacher, for that matter, I was pretty excited to be down to having just one kid tag along to the grocery store with me. Just one kid to wrangle into naptime/quiet time so that I could take a minute to breathe on my own.
If I’m honest, I was downright ecstatic.
Not my friend, though.
Her youngest was starting kindergarten and she took her to meet the teacher day, back to school night and to the actual first day of kindergarten with tears in her eyes. After I figured out what she was crying about, I thought it was so lovely.
“How nice,” I thought and started to believe in the back of my mind that she somehow loved her girls more than I loved my gang and that this was certain proof that she was a better mother than I was.
These are fairly harmless thoughts, or so I thought – I mean, who isn’t constantly comparing themselves to their friends and neighbors to check up on how they’re doing as a parent?
I certainly did do that and was pretty satisfied by what I came away with. I’m not doing too bad, was my usual thought. You know, not the best but definitely nowhere near the worst.
But this idea, that somehow if I was a good mom, I would prefer to have my kids home with me stuck around.
It wasn’t a huge deal, but whenever I thought of it, I would feel a tiny tinge of sadness, thinking that maybe I wasn’t quite the caliber of mother that I had always hoped I would be.
I’m going to stop right there to point out the obvious – these are the worst kinds of thoughts that I could’ve been entertaining!
I wish I had known about the power of my thoughts back then.
I would’ve cleaned all that up and decided there’s no way of knowing if that was true or not.
And believing that was not inspiring me to be any better of a mother.
If anything, the opposite was true.
Feeling that twinge of sadness only made me feel less inspired to connect one on one with my kids, less inspired to plan a fun outing after school, less inspired to make the kids put away their tablets and join me for a fun family game of monopoly or Twister.
It just made me want to try and escape them even more.
I’m so glad I know better now.
The thought that those moms who love having their kids home are better moms is optional. And I’ve opted against that one.
They are good moms, my old friend included, no doubt, but they certainly don’t hold the corner on the market.
They’re trying to be the best mom that they can be, as am I.
We’re all just doing our best.
I’m also choosing to think and believe that I’m exactly the right mom for my kids. And, I happen to love routine and order and schedules. These three things tend to go right along with our daily routine when school is in session.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
So, when you find yourself feeling a slight twinge of sadness or worry that perhaps you’re not being the best mom that you can be because of some way that you’re comparing yourself to others around you, just know what power those thoughts have. And perhaps consider a different thought.
Know what you’re thinking may not be true and try to find a better thought.
There’s lots of options in the thought department. So find some that are really working for you.
And go out and be that mom you’ve always dreamed of being – whether that includes endless games of monopoly with your kids or not.