Dannemiller shines a spotlight on the culture of moms who work hard to outdo one another. I have been a full time mom for 21 years, and have been on that crazy train many times. I recall a few pivotal conversations with other moms, during which we challenged one another to “dial it back.” A few times, we actually did dial it back.
I do not go to work outside the home. I have always considered parenting my job. I have, at times, longed for a job with the chance of promotion, paychecks, lunch breaks, peers, and vacation days. I chose, instead, to apply my job skills to being a parent. That is my chance to teach my three kids that doing a job right is not always easy, but always important. I have had the joy of parenting alongside a variety of intelligent, interesting, and fiercely ambitious women over the past two decades. We all want what is best for our kids. I am grateful for the fellow mothers who share my journey. We challenge and affirm one another.
I have tried crafty mom things over the years including wood burning, quilting, knitting, crochet, weaving mats from plastic bags, ceramic painting. I have never excelled at any of these things. I do not get a huge thrill from crafting, for its own sake. I need to be taken by the hand, given the idea, taught the skills, and helped to finish. I learned to bead delicate bracelets on a loom because it was a Camp Fire activity. It was fun and interesting. I still have the loom and a bunch of tiny beads and one really lovely bracelet, which I wove myself. I was all in for helping some kiddos learn to knit, but I still can’t purl.
One of the most amazing aspects of my decades a mom was having the opportunity to embrace new things. I learned all about cross country running. I’ll never be a runner, but I am more fit now than I used to be. And I am a big fan of runners. I embraced baseball–managed the team, kept score, and loved watching the boys play ball. Now that we don’t play anymore, I really miss baseball. It is soccer that keeps me busy now. I may never understand the offsides rule, but I love watching my son play soccer.
The birthday parties could fill a book. I have attended, hosted, and heard about some legendary birthday parties.
As I transition from full time mom to full time writer this spring, I find that I am giving mom life a lot of reflection time. Dannemiller, I hear what you are saying. Moms do sometimes go over the top, to the deep frustration of other parents. I have done it multiple times. For some of us, parenthood is our job. There are moments in our lives that we just need to go over the top–print custom stickers, make a personal gift, give a really fabulous party. Maybe it is all about the mom, perhaps it was all about me, sometimes.
I did the math during my son’s high school graduation. It took almost 7,000 days to reach this point in his life. 7,000 days for which I was present at nearly every single one. I have three kids ages 21, 19, and 14. For all the days of their childhoods in my home, I have either been present or organized for them to be: in a place of safety, well fed, cared for, and accepted.
Calculating that my two older kids were at home for roughly 19 and 18 years plus the younger one at 14.75 years (and counting): I have spent 18,524 cumulative days (so far) of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, schedules, tucking in, waking up, hugs, discipline, routine, and paying attention. The job is never done, it just starts all over again at the next meal.
Scott, you are right. I am enough. My presence has been and always will be enough. And I am beyond grateful that some days I get to shine, just a little bit.
Update– apparently, Scott Dannemiller received some ugly responses to his original post, about which I wrote this post. I am so sorry to hear that.
You can read his To the Moms–My Apologies .