I thought it was interesting that they had both "Mother of the year" and "Young mother of the year" awards. To me, it really denotes the very different stages of life we go through. Young mother, to me, says "this is my crazy life and I'm doing all that I can despite sleepless nights and endless diapers and hysterical tantrums (by toddlers and mothers alike!)" Mother, I guess, speaks more to an older, wiser woman whose children are ready to leave the nest, or perhaps already have, who are still mothering in their own way (for you never retire from being a mother. It is the stage when you can finally take a breather and gather in your years of experience to perhaps impart some wisdom to us young mothers who aren't sure we're going to make it.
As I read about the gala honoring this specific young mother, I of course began to reflect on my own role as a mother. Just how am I doing? What am I doing that I might be considered in such a light?
This line of thought immediately led to negativity. Well, I'm short-tempered when I'm tired, and I snap at my sensitive 5 year old, and I'm annoyed at having to carry around my one year old all day, and I never do crafts with my kids, and I rarely have anything long-termed planned, and I haven't been able to get on the chore bandwagon, and just this morning my oldest son looked up at me while we stood at the bus stop and sadly stated that he never gets to spend any time with me.
No doubt about it...I would never even be nominated.
Then I checked myself. I immediately banished all negative thoughts, and I reframed the question to myself like this:
What is something that I AM doing that would qualify me for young mother of the year?
This made me think of all the good, even great, things that I do. The purpose was just to come up with one, but once I started going, I realized I could come up with a good list of positives about myself as a mother.
Here are some of them:
1) I encourage questioning, curiosity, and inquisitiveness. I like my kids to ask questions, then we discuss the answers, then we ask more questions. I think this is one of the most important tools they can develop as children.
2) I love to read to my kids. We read 2 books at nap, 2 books at bedtime, a bible story, plus I tell one "made-up" story, every day. We read lots of other times as well, but the above is a daily minimum.
3) I fill our house with music. We sing just about all the time. I play the piano and guitar and sing children's songs. We make up songs about everything. Everyone in our home can be found humming a soundtrack to their life at least once a day.
4) During the good weather, we get outside all the time. Parks, beaches, hikes, backyard, soccer, baseball - we love it all.
5) We hug and kiss and cuddle constantly. My boys are very affectionate, which I think is awesome.
6) While I haven't been able to yet, I'm excited to volunteer in their classrooms at school. Once all my kids are in school, I intend to be in their classrooms constantly. I also hope to run a music class, since there isn't one at their school.
This was a really good exercise for me. I realized that while we might be hard on ourselves that we don't fit a specific mold that we think is "young mother of the year," there are definitely, positively, without a doubt, things that we are each AWESOME at. It's important to remember them now and then.
I think I'm going to organize a gala of my own, for all my friends who are young mothers, because I think we all deserve the award for "Young Mother of the Year."