I subscribed to 'Family Fun' magazine (ok - everything is online now, but at one time...) and scoured the pages for cute crafts to do on rainy days.
I organized playdates, for which my house was typically clean and the Thomas the Train railroad track was assembled and ready to be used (no longer strewn about the playroom from the last time the tracks were used as swords).
The kids made snowmen pins out of white buttons for Christmas presents and every birthday party had a theme, along with the perfect cake.
My kids went to bed on time, their clothes matched, and I even mopped the floor every evening (Yes - this is a true story).
I was a stay-at-home mom of three young boys.... and I really, really wanted to get it 'right'.
When my children were little and I was busy being the perfect mom, my mom told me that what would be important as my children grew up was to make sure I spent 10 minutes a day with each of them. I may not have looked at her like she was out of her mind, but I definitely thought it.
10 minutes a day? Please...
I'm a good mom. I spend hours a day with my kids.
And then I went back to school for my Masters (with three small children just graduating was a feat), got divorced (hardest thing I've ever done), and started working as a pastor (a joyous and heartbreaking job). My kids were lucky if they had clean underwear and I could scrounge up something besides pop-tarts for breakfast.
I see posts on facebook promoting adorable cupcakes found on Pinterest (seriously - cute bunnies with marshmallow ears and coconut fur) or a new fangled way to decorate the yard for Halloween (shoot - I'm aiming for getting the pumpkin carved on time) or some amazing cubby system that will surely tame the beast known as homework (WHAT?! Just spreading it out on the dining room table doesn't work?).
And two things pop into my mind: "Who in the world has time for this...?" Which is closely followed in the thought process by: "Me. I used to have time for that."
I used to be a good mom. I'm not anymore.
And I honestly sometimes mourn that. Wish I could give my children more or make sure somehow they know that they are my whole reason for living.
Now, sometimes I'm exasperated beyond belief because somehow one cleat is at their father's house and the other is at mine. And sometimes we really have eaten pizza for three days in a row. And sometimes the only time I sit down with my children all day long is when tuck them into bed to say their bedtime prayers.
10 minutes a day, with each of my kids....individually, that sounds like heaven. And impossible. Where do I find 30 solid minutes where nothing is pulling at me?
Or them. Because let's be honest... their schedules rival the President of the United States.
My 16 year old son still lets me tuck him in (if I don't hit the sack before him)...
And my 14 year old son still kisses me on the lips (I'm confident he would die if he read this)...
And my baby, who is 11 - which seems downright impossible, still cuddles with his blankie...
Maybe I'm still a good mom. My kids might tell you otherwise when I'm harping on them about homework or having a psycho-mommy moment...
But at the end of the day, I love my kids as much today as I did when I was impersonating June Cleaver.
And they teach me that there's more to being a good mom than what the glossy pages of magazines and flashy adds tout. Sometimes being a good mom is smelling the T-shirts to find the least stinky one. Ok, ok. It's not typically this bad.
I try really hard. And my kids try really hard. We make family work the best way we can.
Here's what I've learned through all my reiterations as a mom.
All families look different. All kinds can be good.
All moms look different. All kinds can be good.
All dads look different. All kinds can be good.
All kids look different. All kinds can be good.
Sure, continue to 'pin' or 'post' or 'publish' the latest and hottest trend in baking or crafting or home organization, because I may just pick up one of the ideas if it works in my small corner of the world.
But sometimes, I honestly just need to know that someone else out there wishes they didn't have red gatorade stains all over their van and ran out of toilet paper and is trying to figure out what to make for dinner when all you have left in your fridge is a bag of saurkraut and 3 eggs.
So, anyway....If you've ever felt that way and thought, "I used to have it all together. I used to be a good mom..."
And I love my kids like crazy.
I'm still a good mom.
(Just don't ask my teenage son...)
As a sidebar - the cinquain above was written by my youngest son. I'm not sure what 'mom' he was thinking of when he described me as 'calm' but..... whatever. MOM. Nothing like it.