Since we started this discussion on knowing who we are as moms, I couldn’t help but go back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine about our roles in helping our kids create who they are and the balance of outside school activities and just being kids. It’s such a large part of what we do as parents – helping our kids create their own personal identity. It’s big stuff when you think about it!
I was talking to my mom last night, and there’s no doubt I am who I am today because of my parents. Recalling back to my earliest memories, I never remember a point when my parents weren’t telling me I could be anything I wanted or do what I wanted if I worked hard for it. They were my cheerleaders, my support system, and helped me learn more about myself and who I was proud to be.
My mom’s birthday was yesterday, so the launch of “Here’s to momma,” is in large part a raised glass to MY momma. She loved the blog idea and of course was already encouraging me to write for some big name blogs and maybe start a children’s book series. She even had an illustrator in mind I could connect with. Oh, Mom.
But even when I think to myself, “oh, mom” I know she has and will always support me in my dreams. That’s what we do as moms.
So back to the conversation with my friend. We talked about what life looked like for us at that awkward middle school age. Did we know who we were? Will our kids know who they are? Those years can be brutal and if our kids don’t have a good sense of self, I can’t even imagine how much harder it may be for them. I remember my middle school years in painful detail. Those stories of humiliation, girl bullying and finding strength and learning what true friendship looked like are for another day, but even though those years were rough, I made it through because I was involved and knew what I was good at. I played the viola in the orchestra and played basketball as part of a local church team – neither of which I was particularly great at, but I had fun participating. And I identified as a big sister, feeling like I needed to be the big helper at home and watch out for my three younger siblings; a writer, writing poetry and short stories in my Lisa Frank notebook; and as a dancer, creating choreography alone in my room or with friends in the basement. (My siblings may even throw in songwriter, claiming I made up a song about my love for George Clooney. I still deny this.) What I did and who I was kept me going.
I already wonder if I’m doing the right things for my oldest daughter who is just five years old. At five, she’s experienced more than anyone should, even at my age. We want her to grow up with a strong faith and are working on our faith journey as a family. She knows that life is fragile, has the emergency routine down, plays with her dolls in the same room as her screaming sister without it bothering her most days, and understands that you can love someone with all your heart even if they can’t say it back. There’s no doubt her younger sister is helping her become an amazing kid and surely an amazing person. But I also want her to know herself and have outlets when those days are too much.
As a youngster, we did lots of baby and toddler classes including music, diaper gym and one of our favorites, signing class with Communication Junction. Now that she’s grown out of those classes we have explored dance, gymnastics and swimming. But only signing up for one class at any given time. I was writing out my goals for the year and there are so many things I want our oldest to experience sooner rather than later – swimming, dance, soccer (or some team sport), ice skating and music. She also wants to paint and take cooking classes! So when do you start and how do you balance? Clearly the budget keeps us in check, but I can’t decide what is too much or too little. I would love to hear from moms with older kids on what you’ve learned along the way.
Us moms have big shoes to fill and a responsibility to help our kids find the shoes they fit in most comfortably. Like I said, it’s big stuff but I know I can count on my fellow moms to learn from one another and each put together our own solution on what works for us.