Thursday, October 22, 2015

I’m not a Work-Out Mom, I’m not a Career Mom, so what kind of Mom am I?

We moved across the country this summer, and this meant my kids would be the new kids at school, so I began to have a one track mind on getting them assimilated quickly.  I made playdates with neighbors, I signed them up for soccer and Girl Scouts, but at Back to School night something funny happened.  When we walked into the school, I realized this was also about us as parents, and more specifically, about me.  I needed to meet the Moms too.  Now I felt like the new kid myself and something struck me.  There were Moms dressed in their fancy career clothes, there were Moms dressed in work-out clothes (at 7pm), and there were the PTA Moms.  The problem was, I didn't fit into any of those categories.

I work out a little, but I don't love it.  I used to be a big career Mom, but I quit when we moved to Colorado, since we were only going to be there for a year, so while I still remember vividly what it was like to be a working Mom, as far as everyone else is concerned, I am a stay at home Mom.  I'm not a trendy Mom either, or a shopping Mom.  Suddenly I felt panicked.  Where would I fit?  What kind of Mom was I going to be?  Would I go back to work?  Would I get super involved in school?  Would I join a gym?

I shared my insecurities with my Mom and my husband.  They pretty much thought I was a crazy person.  Why did I care where I fit in?

I tried to get over it by telling myself I was being silly.  I just needed to be myself and all would be well.  But I did care.  I went out and bought a fancy tennis skirt.  Then toyed with the idea of going back to work.  I joined the PTA.  I was sure something would feel normal soon.

Then one day my kids came home from school and for about the fifth day in a row, they were all upset about something that happened on the bus.  The bus company kept changing drivers, and changing pick-up times, and seating arrangements, and I realized this bus situation was causing them a tremendous amount of stress.  They said they loved the bus and truly there were a lot of advantages.  Everyone in the neighborhood takes the bus so they get to socialize a lot.  They got to trade Pokemon cards, which they loved.  Even I loved the bus because they looked so cute getting on and off and plus then I didn't have to fight the car line every day, but I knew it wasn't working.  I made an impulsive decision and decided to pull them off the bus.  They were sad about it at first, and I could tell everyone thought I was a bit crazy about the whole thing, but I decided to give it two weeks.

Two weeks later, I was amazed.  They never complained about school anymore.  They were happier.  There were no more tears at night.  The bus truly had been causing all the angst, they just didn't know it.  That's when it hit me: I'm not Gym Mom, I'm not Soccer Mom, I'm not Career Mom.  I'm Flexible Mom.

Since I'm not working I can change our schedule if we need to.  I can babysit my nephew if my sister in law needs a break.  I can get my husbands tire fixed for him on a whim.  I can go with my Mom on a crazy two hour drive to look at a horse she wants to buy, because I am flexible.

It's good to have an identity.  I think that's why Stay at Home Moms struggle so much, because sometimes just being a stay at home Mom isn't enough of an identity for us.  But for now, I'm content to be Flexible Mom.  Because someday, I might find something I'm really passionate about, and I can be flexible enough to jump on it.  And in the meantime, I'll just keep trying my best to be a good Mom, and I'll keep trying to live in the moment and savor every moment of my flexible life.

Please consider trying out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn!

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