I'm Not That Type Of Mom
I'm not the mom I thought I would be. I was a nanny before my son was born. I considered that a privilege and counted it as advantage when it came to caring for my son. I never had the typical "what the heck am I doing?" moments as a first time parent. However, much to my surprise the advantages ended there. The nanny skills did not transfer over when it came to the heavy stuff, the big choices, and my overall parenting experience.
I think we all have an idea of what kind of parent we'll be. We all have expectations of what parenthood will look like for us. Coming from a career in private childcare, I got to see a lot of family dynamics and parenting up close. These experiences meant that I not only have an idea of what sort of parent I would be but I felt very sure of these ideas.
But truthfully, most of my ideas have not been reality. Parenting looks much different than I expected and I don't need to explain that to anyone. I don't know anyone who didn't find parenthood a surprise at best. Instead of discussing all the reasons parenthood isn't really going according to plan, I wanted to discuss things that, although unplanned, are some of my favourite parts of being a mom.
I'm not the tidy mom.
I honestly expected I would be able to keep a clean house. Messy things would be done outside. My house would be orderly. Could I do better? Sure. But that would mean prioritizing it over other things. This isn't a jab at anyone who DOES prioritize cleanliness and order. Honestly, it's still pretty high on my list. My house isn't dirty or even cluttered really. But I've discovered that I'm the mom who blows bubbles in the house to see my baby smile. I'm the mom who let's my kid snack in the living room and puts up the crumbs. (Seriously, that one was NOT supposed to be me.)
I'm not the extracurricular mom.
When I was pregnant, I believed play dates and outings would be at the heart of all my days. But the reality is, as a mom, I'm way more "go with the flow" than I expected. I do sign up for activities and make some plans but most days, we do whatever we feel like. Maybe we go to the park or take a walk. Maybe we stay inside all day and play. I've really never fully embraced schedules and organized activities. It just never felt like a good fit for us. I'm sure as he gets older and his interests emerge more things will change but I've come to a place where I'm really okay with who I am and what works for my family. I'm the mom who has fun without scheduling it. I'm the mom who doesn't pressure myself or my son.
I'm not the modern mom.
I always imagined myself reading parenting books, buying the latest baby products, and being overall "together" as a mom. I'd have everything my baby needed in my stylish diaper bag while we attended all the best mom and baby events. I pictured myself sipping coffee and talking about this new piece of baby gear everyone just HAD to have or the article I read last week that enhanced my life SO much. I would fit in. Boy, was I wrong. We never fit. I never ended up worrying about what everyone else was doing or what was "in" in the parenting world. In the beginning, I just wanted to sleep. I just wanted to make it through the day. I literally did not care about anything. And I guess I realized I like it that way because it stuck. I'm the mom who does what works for us. I'm the mom who isn't afraid to not fit.
I'm not the au natural mom.
Initially, I could not have cared less if we were "natural." I thought people who were super obsessed with being all-natural were weird. I wanted to breastfeed but I expected a medicated birth. I wanted no screen time but I was fine with electronic toys. You get the idea. Reality? I ended up with a natural childbirth, exclusively breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and a strong preference for wooden toys that make no noise. But we also let our son watch TV (GASP), eat mostly non-organic foods (sorry guys, on a budget), and don't explore nature everyday. I do consider what's healthy and good for the environment when I make choices. But I also consider what's easy and what's cheap. I'm not sorry for that. I'm the mom who cares a lot but doesn't beat herself up. I'm the mom who is doing the best I can and accepting that sometimes it won't be what others want or expect.
I've stopped trying to label or define myself as a parent. Honestly, I always knew my parenting style (even when I had it perfectly figured out) wouldn't fit in a labeled box. But the reality of being the "unbranded mom" in today's world was tricky and I really did have to work at making my own rules and not feeling the need to justify myself to everyone. To be totally honest, I'm making things up as I go along and it's working for us. I've figured out what's important to me and it's actually pretty simple. I want my son to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. So I guess, even though I'm not the tidy, modern, natural, etc mom, I'm the perfect mom. Perfect for my kid, that is.