We live in a world where parenting information is at our fingertips and we can see other people's seemingly awesome family life unfold through the lens of social media all day long. As a result, it can become really easy to get down on ourselves about the job we are doing as parents. We tend to start focusing on all of the things that we aren't and beating those things into our brains.
I yell too much.
I get too focused on tidiness.
I don't play with my kids enough.
I don't make creative meals.
These are the messages we tell ourselves. We exalt the negatives and never really take the time to think about the areas in which we excel as parents. It doesn't help that our current culture tells us so often that speaking positively about our abilities is bragging and we wouldn't want to do that, right?
Recently, I said, "Screw it!" and decided to make a list about ways in which I am completely and unapologetically awesome as a mother. I was having a bad day and feeling like a total failure, but decided that instead of wallowing in self-loathing, I was going to turn my focus toward positive things.
At first, it was really difficult and uncomfortable to write, but after the first two I was on a roll. It made me realize that for all the ways I'm probably screwing up at motherhood, there are a ton of other ways where I'm totally killing it. Plus, there shouldn't be any shame in saying so.
This exercise made me feel so great that I decided to put the call out to other mamas on Instagram, asking: "What are you totally and unapologetically awesome at as a mother?" They had some really great responses that were all across the board, so I thought I'd share them with you in the hopes that you will be encouraged to own your awesomeness today.
"I'm really good at throwing birthday parties—like 'Pinterest mom'-level. My mom threw me parties like that before Pinterest was a thing, and it was a highlight of my childhood! I want my kids to have that same experience, but I also feel like I get a ton of crap from other moms for wanting to throw an amazing party for my kiddo." - Erika
"Making holidays (even small holidays) special. I rock those, thank you very much." - Darcie
"I let my kid dress like a rainbow unicorn child and I even kind of love it." - Echo
I am really good at library time and making reading a priority in our family.
"There are a lot of things I'm not fantastic at, but one of my strong suits is encouraging my son's imagination. If I see he's into something, I try to imagine and play along with him and then watch him become immersed in whatever world he has created. We get lost in whimsical worlds every day." - Brooke
"I am awesome at finding ways to say 'yes' to my daughter! She's 3 and I get tired of having to always say 'no' or 'stop that.' So, I've been consciously choosing to find ways to say 'yes' and I think I'm doing really well and we're both a lot happier." - Raquel
"Playing! I know a lot of my mom friends have a problem with it or get bored by it (I get it), but I love it! Make pretend, trains, jungle gym ... I'm into it!" - Marie
"Dancing!" - Jennie
"Feeding my kids healthy foods. It takes a lot of extra time, but I enjoy it and it feels good knowing I am putting good things into their bodies." - Meghan
"I am really good at library time and making reading a priority in our family." - Katie
"Traveling! I love flying with my kiddos and road tripping with them. I am an excellent packer and planner and somehow more laid-back when going through TSA." - Sam
"I am REALLY good at going with the flow and I'm exceptionally difficult to upset." - Michaela
"I am amazing at taking my kids on fun adventures. We go to the zoo once a week, we go on hikes and explore new parks whenever the weather allows it, we go to story time, and the science center and the aquarium. I work hard to make their childhood as fun and as full of adventure as I can." - Jen
"Saying 'no.' People are often extra cautious or apologetic about having things around my kids that they might want. Like candy or cookies. I don't hide sweets from my kids. I just tell them 'no' and now they can accept 'no' from other people too." - Meg
As a mom, I think I'm really good at making my kids feel loved.
"Morning affirmations. Every morning, we sit in the recliner and we say, 'I am kind. I am faithful. I am giving. I am loving'." - Mari
"I'm going to own that I am really good at letting my kids do their own thing and refraining from helicoptering too much. Both of my littles are really independent and good at solo play, so just maybe it's because of all that free-range parenting I practice." - Emily
"As a mom, I think I'm really good at making my kids feel loved. I want my kids to grow up and be able to say that as kids they were smothered in love, kisses, hugs, but mostly just felt Mom's love." - Liz
"I feel like I'm good at being intentional with my children. I cultivate important conversations and try to live life with my kids instead of allowing life to just happen to us." - Kristel
"Glitter in my house doesn't scare me." - Angie
"I'm awesome at apologizing to my kids when I'm wrong. I'm also awesome at getting all four kids out the door at 7:30 a.m. for school in the morning. I still don't know how we make it every day!" - Julie
"I think I'm great at scheduling and organizing and planning our days. Not so great at being spontaneous and flexible and the 'fun mom', but organized I can do." - Natalie
"Baking and bedtimes!" - Jes
Here's to embracing your awesomeness and remembering that it takes all kinds to raise the next generation of amazing humans. You're doing great and you are definitely enough.