Is there really a perfect mom? Are moms allowed to be “bad moms”once in a while? Is it okay to not be 100% available for your kids all the time? Are moms allowed to have some ME time once in a while?
In my 23 years of being a (working) mother, I have learned a few things:
1. Being a mom is not a walk in the park, more so with being a working mom, though I really admire those who opted to stay full time with their kids. For me, they are so blessed to have experienced most if not all of the milestones while their kids are growing up.
Though I’m a working mom, I can safely say that I rarely missed any of my three kids’ school activities. I always made it a point to file leaves in advance so that I’ll be able to attend whatever activities that they had. I can’t say that those days were perfect because there were times that half day leaves were the most that I could do, and I will only be in their school at the exact time that they were participating in their activities.
2. Don’t berate yourself if in case you missed some of your kids’ school activities. It’s inevitable. Yes, it’s alright to feel guilty, that’s normal, but afterwards, let it go.
On my part, there were some missed milestones, yes, especially since my two older kids were born before the time of digital cameras. That was the time when you always had to make sure that films are available at home, and that your analog camera was always loaded and ready to shoot anytime.
3. It’s okay to keep the chocolates to yourself and hide them from your kids once in a while! That’s part of my ME time. I am an only child and was not used to sharing food with a sibling, so when I had kids of my own, it was a struggle. I learned to share and I learned to let them have all the chocolates… well, once in a while.
4. If you’re not good in cooking, your kids will learn to live with it, and not take it against you, but be prepared to get funny side remarks about it when they suddenly see you in the kitchen cooking lunch or dinner. I always get surprised look and comments from my youngest daughter Faye whenever she sees me cooking.
I remember when my daughter Izah was around 5 years old. I cooked a dish with coconut milk. When she asked me what it was, I told her it was a recipe I got from a cookbook. She didn’t like it so much that she just skipped lunch, and afterwards, whenever I tell her that I will cook our lunch, she’ll say, “I don’t like the recipe” She got traumatized with the word “recipe”! I think that’s the reason why I now have a future chef daughter.
5. If you’re not into cooking, try to at least learn how to bake. Your kids will love you all the more for it because aren’t cakes, cupcakes and cookies more delicious than the vegetables that good moms try to feed their kids?
I learned to bake just 3 years ago, and now my kids always look forward to the goodies that come out of my oven almost every weekend, or whenever I’m bored and stressed. Baking is my stress reliever and my family knows that.
6. During the times when you’re in your kids’ schools to attend their activities, let them “take advantage” of you, after all, you very seldom go there to pick them up after school.
When Faye was still in grade school and junior high school and even now in senior high, she always asked me to buy her something from the cafeteria, or from the stores outside the school, or snacks and ice cream from the nearest McDonald’s. The smile on her face and her appreciation for our quality time together were always more than enough for me.
7. Don’t pamper your kids. Teach them to be independent and able to stand on their own. Don’t give them everything that they want. Make them do household chores; they will appreciate it later, and their spouses will thank you when they get married. I give credit to their dad on this. He taught them to do their own laundry and to iron their own uniforms.
8. Kids are resilient. They learn to adjust. They learn to adapt. Keep that in mind whenever you have family conflicts and you think your kids will be scarred for life because of it.
9. Mother’s instinct is real and proven. If you feel something is wrong with your kids, trust your instincts and be more sensitive and observant because more often than not you’re right. This is very important especially for teens.
10. Always pray for your kids. I don’t need to elaborate more because it covers everything. It is always said that a mother’s prayers are very powerful and I have experienced this a lot of times and it has never failed me.
I am actually in a continuous journey as a mother, and I think every mother knows that. Everyday is a journey towards something that is not even close to perfection, but towards something that I’m hoping will forever be etched in my kids’ memories and which they will eventually pass on to their own kids. So, yes, it’s absolutely fine to have some ME time once in a while, in fact, it’s a must, for you to be able to give more to your kids.