The Art Of Mommying, According To Me.

Noah fell in love with a little 7 month old Russian girl named Eva yesterday while on the grass under the shade of a tree at the top of the hill at Barnsdall Art Park. He gooed, smiled and gawed at her while attempting to gently paw at her hand and pretty pink dress. Amused but figuring that he was moving a little too fast, she smiled back while swatting at his grasping hand.

A little later the mommies that I had been waiting for arrived for our Wednesday "Babies On Blankies" playdate. The three of us kvetched about various typical SAHM's (stay at home mom) dilemmas--what will become of our careers, our multiple degrees, what about more kids and when, etc.--before all agreeing that being a SAHM is incredibly fulfilling and surprisingly loads of fun.

But all this talk about mommies and how to navigate the caregiver/wife/self road of motherhood, led me to ponder what kind of mom I want to be for my children--and husband, because let us not forget how important they are in this very equation. I am lucky to be married to a very handsome, incredibly sensitive, thoughtful and helpful husband who has read my mind more times then I give him credit for. And I think that marriages too often take the brunt of child rearing. The role of wife cannot take a back seat to that of being mom because it is essential to being a good mom. A mom who fosters lifelong loving relationships, and friendships for that matter, serves as a model for healthy interaction, trust, self-esteem and balance--essentially nurturing the child's awareness and development of these characteristics and behaviors while preparing the child to put them into practice later in life.

Therefore, I want to be a mom who has a healthy marriage.

I guess what it all boils down to is the problem of moms getting lost in the "duty" of being a mom. In other words, moms who get lost somewhere along the way in "momdom"--a place where she has lost the woman she was and has replaced it with a falsely frazzled and dull robot who superficially feeds her starving parent-child relationship. A mom who is in the midst of trying to provide materially for her children (clothe them, feed them, diaper them, bathe them, toy them, get them to and from activities, etc.) can easily lose sight of all the other aspects of mommying. Often a potentially deep emotional, social and intellectual connection between mom and child goes unfounded and lacking creating a relationship empty of intangibles--genuine communication and unfettered interaction--and full of "stuff"--replaceable and fleeting tangibles.

Therefore, I want to be a mom who gives my kids loads of "me", not tons of "stuff".

A mom who gets lost in the "duty" of being a mom isn't a bad mom necessarily--she's just a mom who has forgotten why she is mom. She's a mom who thinks she never has time because she doesn't create time. She's a mom who has gotten lost in the overwhelming amount of things that a mom must *or thinks she must* do day to day--and having multiple kids, I imagine, simply compounds the load. I mean, house chores alone are enough to engulf all of one's freestanding time without junior . . . forget about finding time to read, love your spouse, groom oneself, stay current with world events, practice a musical instrument, paint, garden . . . simply put, to stop and smell the roses of self fulfillment. But one must find time. Your gifts and interests don't die with an expanding belly, they become a conversation you can share, a lesson you can teach and a gift you can give to your child.

Therefore, I want to be the kind of mom who has hobbies, interests, passions outside of the home, goals, who always has room for self-improvement and never wants to quit learning--but, I never want to be too busy for my children.

"Momness" in all it's glory is all-engrossing. Frankly, it's hard not to fill every empty crevasse of my brain space with tot-centric tidbits of consumer report car seat ratings and grocery lists. But for Noah's and my sake I must not lose entirely the "self" that I was before kids. I guess what I am saying is that being a mom doesn't have to be a great sacrifice--you don't have to sacrifice time, relationships, hobbies, self. It's just about achieving balance between them all--a sort of happy place where they can all co-exist together. Granted some may dominate others at one time or another, but in the end they all get their fair share. It may mean that a load of laundry doesn't get done or the dishes in the sink may sit there for another day. Because in the end it's not those things that are important--it's not those things that Noah will remember.

Therefore, I want to be a mom who has a tidy, but not clean, house if it comes at the expense of my children being, well, children.

The amount of time we are given is finite, but the things we choose to do with that time is not. It's all in the way that you perceive the duty of being a mom that will determine how you spend your time as a mom. It's all about choosing what's important and keeping what's important in perspective. I am choosing now, before Noah has even uttered his first word, to spend my time wisely.

Therefore, I want to be a mom who is in control of my time and how it is spent, not one who lets time control me.

It is with these self-proclaimed axioms that I will progress forward and deeper into mommyhood. I know already that I will have to return to this blog, probably often, to read and remember all that I have promised. I know that success only comes through constant effort at achievement--meaning, I must never stop trying to try.


Rosanna =) said...

Hi Joni!
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I love this:
Therefore, I want to be a mom who gives my kids loads of "me", not tons of "stuff".

I'm sure I'll have to remind myself about this line every now and then.

Love the name Noah Finn! Our Fin is actually Finley.


jacqueline f. said...

joni! i can't wait to see you! it sounds like we are in the same place right now, you're just WAY better at expressing yourself than I am. xox j

Anonymous said...

Joni, what a beautiful post. I'm with Jacqueline - you said so very beautifully what I've been meditating on. Love this beautiful picture of your guys. Looking forward to seeing you at Barnsdall this week!

Carrie (Henry's mom!)

Shea said...

You are such an amazing writer Joni! This article on the Art of Mommying should be published!! You really should send that to Parents magazine or Real Simple,etc.


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