I am –
The list could quite possibly be endless. But these are the six ‘things’ that spring out at me when I think about what/who I am. This list was prompted by a few things. Today my youngest three were wanting a photo of me printed out for Kindy for something they are working on at Kindy (apparently it is top secret). They have (and I don’t know how) set up Photo Stream on their iPads and chosen a photo that is a couple of years old. I can’t say I would ‘approve’ of the photo, but I am trying to be all about positive body image. My issues with how I look are mine, and I don’t want to pass those onto any of my kids. So here is the chosen photo.
Brendan’s explanation of this photo is amazing (and he was just over 2 years old here) – “we were playing Mummy. We were playing funny games and singing. I beeped your nose Mummy”. He also said that Hayden took the photo (which he did!) and that he thought we had a swim after the photo (I honestly can’t remember if we did). What really hits home here for me is that even though I think it is a crap photo of me – my kids don’t. They are only 2 and a bit here, but still look at this photo and they get a memory, or something similiar to that in their crazy 4 year old minds. They see their Mum, spending time with them and they love it. Caitlyn (being the stubborn little Miss) chose another photo –
It is grainy, and not a good shot at best, but she loves the fact that she has a photo of me walking with them on the beach. To be fair, this is probably the only photo I have of it because I am A) either taking the photos or B) deleting them because I look bad. Poor form right here by me. Caitlyn told me a whole story about this photo – about giving the ‘silly seagulls’ some chips, and Brendan running off (all true!). She also talked about sand castles and waves and the sound of the sea. All true.
This all got me thinking again – I am a big fan of photos, and love capturing everyday moments and things that make up our lives. What is painstakingly evident is a lack of photos of me. I did a post a few months about about this very issue, and since then I have really tried to get into the picture more. So far, I am, to be honest, not doing so great. I am still deleting the odd photo, but am getting better at leaving the kids photo stream alone and letting them have the photos they have snapped of me. Especially when they tell me about why they like the photo! It certainly gives me a big lump in my throat when they take a photo of me making their lunch or something random and then explain why they wanted to take the photo. Things like ‘one day when I am big Mummy I want to be able to make my own lunch, but remember how you made mine’; or ‘I love how you cut my sandwiches Mummy”.
Now I know that not all the photos they take are with an end game in mind. Some times they are just being silly and snapping a mile a minute because they can. But it still makes me feel uneasy! I think, and wait for it, my problem is that I want the kids to have this perfect mum who can do everything and look good. But you know what? I can’t. I can juggle working, school and kindy runs, cooking, infrequent cleaning, baking, groceries and all the extras like dancing, swimming and tennis, but I can’t do it all and look like the perfect mother I have in my mind! In my mind, the perfect mother is one with clean and ironed clothes (and to think, I wear things that don’t need ironing) and great hair, makeup and a smile (and a TRUCKLOAD of patience). But you know what I am slowly, slowly, coming to see? This is not attainable! I would rather be wearing daggy clothes that I can comfortably run after my chickens in, and hair in a ponytail for no other reason than that is the only way I wear it, and no makeup (because I don’t actually know how to put it on) and be REAL to my kids.
I am never going to be wearing fancy clothes – for many reasons, none other than it is not practical to do what I do every day in them. I value ‘good clothes’ and when we go out, be it as a family, or if on a night out sans kids, I will always wear something I think is awesome! I am also never going to have good hair – there are many reasons to this, and the biggest, most confronting reason is that I am far to lazy to style my hair, go to the hairdresser regularly, and well put more effort into it than brushing it (also optional) and putting it into a ponytail. All of these attributes that I think a perfect mother should have are not attributes that my kids think I should have! Sure, they see that I am not the same as other Mum’s. But they also don’t see any of the ‘stuff’ that I do. They see me, they see warm hugs, hot chocolates, bedtime lullabies, big tickles and a whole list of things that only I do.
So, today I have worked out one thing that I am NOT. I am not, nor am I ever going to be, a perfect Mum. But, I am the perfect Mum for my chickens! I know exactly what they need, exactly what they want and I can multitask and problem solve at warp speed. I am a Mum that is trying every day to not lose her patience, to smile, and to keep it all together. Well guess what? I am not always good at that either! I lose my patience, I yell, I cry, and I lose my grocery list. So far, no children have been harmed from weet-bix for tea, or getting yelled at for breaking _________(insert item here). So now it is time for me to shift my train of thinking. To be a healthy mother, I need to accept who I am, and who I am not. I need to accept that right now, my kids LOVE me for what I am, not what I am not. And I need to accept that no matter what, they will love despite my daggy fashion sense, and poor taste in music!
So, here is me, with one child, and the others playing around me. With laughter filling the air, and talks of hide and seek and methods in getting out of eating vegies with their tea tonight.