After attending three different events and encountering three completely different sets of people, with three completely different sets of expectations about the way my motherhood should be executed, it hit me:
There's really no right way to do this.
Motherhood, that is. (Alright, so I'm a little slow on the uptake. Seems like the 4.0, college - no, Masters - grad should figured this out a little more quickly.)
It hit me on my third round of "oh you shoulda..."
...as in, "Oh, you shoulda brought the pack and play! You could have put her to bed here! Don't want to let her get too well-routined, she'll start to run your life!"
..."Oh, you should take that plastic spoon away from her so she doesn't trip and ram it into her brain and bleed all over our lovely brickwork."
..."Oh, you shoulda stayed home!" (Insert look of judgement.) "It's important for children to have routine so they don't turn out socially imbalanced and odd."
Whereas I would never take the pack and play, because I know that Leah doesn't do well in unfamilliar situations and wouldn't settle down for bed.
Whereas I elected to let her play with the plastic spoon, because nothing else at the event was small-child friendly and it's really, really unfair of me to tell a nearly-15-month-old NO at every.single.turn. when she's just behaving like a nearly-15-month-old. (Besides, at this BBQ she had already picked up and licked a rock. I mean, come on. Plastic spoon, or rock?!)
Whereas I got her home a little past her bed time so we could attend the event at all. Besides, wasn't I just accused of letting Leah "run my life" by someone else? Now I'm too liberal on the rules?
In other words, my version of motherhood is never going to look just like someone else's. I refuse to accept that my version is any less valid, however.
Doesn't make me perfect.
Doesn't make them.
So, in honor of my new revelation, here's my attempt at tackling this monumental task called raising up a person out of nothing, and a resource.
Yes, I recognize that I am a tad OCD. Maybe more than a tad by some standards.
Last summer, I stumbled upon a website called Inspired to Action that was all about the idea of professional, intentional motherhood. Motherhood that tackles the job with the same passion and dedication that one might tackle, say, a JOB.
I love it. And it works for me.
When I teach, I use the concept of backward design. In short, I figure out what I want the kids to know and be able to do, I identify exactly what that looks like, and then I write daily lesson plans that address the big goals.
This process of starting my mornings helps me to do just that with my motherhood. Time to work out. Time to study God's word. Time to prayerfully and planfully begin my day and my week, and ensure that I'm taking time to address the big goals I want to address as a mom. Otherwise, it's much too easy for me to lose sight of big goals in the fray of minute little tasks.
I've had to amend my list, too.
Notice, nowhere on here does it say, "change diaper" or "put Leah down for her nap." This is my list of BIG ticket items to accomplish each day. I'm discovering that I can't always do that in between all that other stuff.
But, it's something we're working on.
And it helps me to ensure that my priorities are in there somewhere, too. God. Family. Me. All of these need to be tended and nurtured in order for my sanity to remain intact.
So, with a nod to all the mistakes this mom is going to make along the way, here's hoping I can do a few things right.
Even if I do let my daughter run with plastic spoons.