might·y: possessing great and impressive power or strength

tow·er: a place of defense; a protection

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid. I loved the excitement of knowing that I could choose any of the options and they would all be a complete storyline. But what if I had looked at those books and tried to turn them into something they’re not? What if I had tried to take every possible outcome and combine them all together to make one story. Truth is, it wouldn’t have worked. Each branch of the story is written with exactly what it needs to fulfill that storyline.

Sometimes I feel like as mothers we try to do just that. We see Athletic Mom and Crafting Mom and Party Mom and Musical Mom (I could go on and on) and try to fit them all into one person: us. There are so many beautifully talented mothers that I know and with Pinterest and blogs it’s easy to think that some moms do have it all. In reality there is no “perfect mom formula.” We are just like the choose your own adventure books I used to love and we have everything we need to create our own motherhood storyline.

I was reading an article recently that talked about this very idea. The author was lamenting that she wasn’t this mom or that mom and felt discouraged. What she finally figured out was that while she wasn’t perfect at crafting or baking she was the perfect mom her children needed.

So what kind of mom are you? Maybe you’re Crafting Mom who makes beautiful quilts for her children. Or, maybe you’re Athletic Mom whose children do Crossfit and Yoga right along with you. Perhaps you’re Baking Mom who makes gorgeous cakes and even gets called on to help friends in their baking endeavors. Maybe you’re a mix of several “moms.”

Can I tell you a secret? I’m not any of those moms. However, there were definitely times in my life where I felt like I had to try and be. Sure I like to bake cookies with my kids, do 5k’s with my daughter, and have tried my hand at simple sewing projects. These are all interests that I have, but I don’t have to be perfect at them.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my village there are moms whose talents and abilities amaze me. The beauty of living in a village is that we can be the mom we want to be, not the mom we think we have to be, and the village can help whereever we lack.

When my daughter was six she really got into watching cake decorating shows. She loved baking and I have an oven that ruins anything you put in it, or at least that’s my story. When she begged and begged to decorate cakes I felt discouraged. There weren’t classes available for her age range in our area and I was not equipped to teach her myself. That’s when I thought of my lovely friend who is well known in our village for her amazing baking skills. A quick phone call later and she agreed to teach my daughter. I’m sure I could have looked something up online or read a book on the topic. However, I also realized that it takes a village and that I could utilize the beautiful talents of those around me.

In your Choose Your Own Adventure you get to be whatever mom you want to be. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have multiple interests or learn a new skill. However, it’s nice to take a moment and think about your strengths as well as the strengths of those mothers around you. It took me a bit of thinking to sum up what kind of mom I am. I thought about my strengths and personality. I also thought of when I have the most fun with my family and what moments speak to me and my deeper yes as a mother. The result?

I am fun outing mom.

I love going on outings with my family! Whether it’s a spontaneous picnic at the park or a day at Disneyland, I love it. These are the moments that speak to me as a mother. I love the planning of these outings and trips whether it be to museums, zoos, theme parks, foreign countries, or the neighborhood park. I love the planning I do with the children as we decide what we want to see or do while we are visiting a certain place. I enjoy doing scavenger hunts on our outings and taking pictures of our adventures. One of our favorite outings is a simple nature walk where we wrap a piece of tape around our hand and find rocks, leaves, petals, etc. along the way that makes a unique bracelet.

Of course, being fun outing mom I use a lot of other talents to plan and carry out these adventures. And perhaps as my children and I grow and learn together the kind of “mom” I am will shift and change. But for now, I am happy with being who I am and can appreciate and love myself for it.

Now it’s up to you to choose your own adventure. What motherhood adventure does your story hold? Remember that no one is perfect and that you are equipped with exactly what you need to be the kind of mom you are meant to be. We can’t combine all of the storylines to make one perfect motherhood story. But we can try out different adventures and focus on the ones that speak to us.  

Question: What things have you done today to shape your own motherhood adventure?

Challenge: Make a list of your own talents and abilities that make you the perfect mom for your children. If there areas you want to improve think of the moms in your own village who can help you along your adventure.

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