I’m a Catholic mom. I’m a bless-us-oh-Lord before meals, teaching toddlers the sign of the cross, stockpiling children’s Mass books, no sweets during Lent kind of mom. I’m a saints’ names for my kids, crucifix on the wall, whisper a Hail Mary when an ambulance screams by, bless yourself with holy water but don’t splash your brother kind of mom.
Maybe you are, too.
Labels often get a bad rap when it comes to parenting. Too often they back us into opposite corners, squaring us off against each other in rival camps.
We want to say something about the kind of mothering we do – breastfeeding, homeschooling, attachment parenting, working outside the home – but these descriptors can have unintended effects. They can heap another layer of judgment on moms who didn’t make the same choices and feel the need to defend their own.
But adjectives are helpful and important, too, as any good English teacher will remind you. Adjectives bring color to our lives, appeal to our senses, and let our imaginations run wild as we wonder how to describe the world around us.
Maybe if we get more creative about the ways we describe ourselves as moms, we can break out of the tired divisions and find the beauty in our differences and similarities.
What kind of mom are you?
Here are a few ways I can fill-in-the-blank:
I’m a goofy mom. I’m a silly nicknames for everyone, dance parties in the kitchen, funny faces in the bathroom mirror, squawky sounds to make them eat their veggies kind of mom. I’m a making up songs in the car, tickle fests before bath, shouting “boo!” from the stairway to make the baby giggle kind of mom.
I’m a Midwestern mom. I’m a bare feet in the garden, husking corn on the front step, picking armfuls of apples at the orchard, get-your-hat-on-it’s-20-below kind of mom. I’m a wind chill reading, icy tires spinning, sunfish catching, sunscreen slathering, rain puddle splashing, leaf pile jumping, casserole simmering mom.
I’m a tired mom. I’m a five months pregnant, still first trimester exhausted, chasing after two wild boys, never mind keeping the house clean kind of mom. I’m a nodding off by the end of yoga class, falling asleep during the movie, squinting at the dark circles under my eyes kind of mom.
I’m a multi-tasking mom. I’m a reading while I nurse babies, writing while I rock toddlers, tossing laundry in the washer while I take a conference call, cook two dinners on Sunday to get ahead for the week kind of mom. I’m a six things on my mind at once, plotting Saturday errands strategically, tossing toys in bins while I vacuum kind of mom.
I’m an introvert mom. I’m a silence-savoring, cup of tea in the dark kitchen before everyone stirs, naptime quiet craving mom. I’m a curled up on the couch with a book, dreaming of a silent retreat, loving the at-home moments with my kids kind of mom.
I’m a fortunate mom. I’m a fridge stocked with food, heat pouring from the registers, two healthy kids asleep upstairs, safe yard where they can play outside kind of mom. I’m a car that started in the cold, closets full of clothes and coats, roof over our heads even if the garage leaks kind of mom.
I’m a thank you, God, for the chance to have these kids kind of mom, at the end of every day.
What kind of mom are you? What adjective comes to mind for you today?
Copyright 2014 Laura Kelly Fanucci
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