Look at these two boys. Happy, smiling. Both 1 year olds. Both boys loved by their mama and dada. Running around chasing us.
What you don’t see is the hour prior to this, when I felt more like a referee than a mama.
“Ethan. You can not hit him”
“Ethan. Did you just take that ball from him? You need to share.”
“Ethan. Are you being naughty?”
Ok. I’ll admit. Playdates with my mama-friends often are designed to benefit me, more than my son. I love the girl time to talk, to connect with another mama, to have another kiddo to watch and cuddle, to make the time go by faster, and feel I’m not alone.
But now, putting two toddlers together is a whole new game than two infants.
In the midst of all the refereeing and re-direction and distraction….I realized something about myself that surprised me.
I cared a LOT what other mama’s think of me.
When I grab my son, place him in my lap, and say “No Ethan. You can not hit”….what do they think? Did I grab him too hard? Was my tone OK? Should I have done something else? Do they think his naughtiness is my fault? Am I “that” mom?“
And I’m ashamed to say that I care too much about this. I’m a successful professional working woman who is a mom and a wife, loved by family and friends, cherished as treasure by my Savior, and I STILL feel that urge to look over my shoulder and assess what other’s think of me. To even consider changing my actions just by who’s around me. Is my self-esteem so fragile as a mama (and only one year into it!)?
And so I am humbled. Knowing I will make mistakes, and probably fail epically in new ways in front of others. But with toddlers, there is no room for being a timid or shy parent. I’m me. And Ethan is…well, hilarious and frustrating and amazing all in one. And my mama friends are my dear friends and sisters, loving me despite how I perceive myself. Loving me as I learn what it all means to be a mama.
These little kiddos are so precious to us. And so we give it our all.