First, I have to say, this is my 999 post. Really. Part of me is surprised and thrilled, the other part is a little ashamed. It has taken me 5 and a half years to get to 999 posts? I must not be keeping up with our lives like I should. I blame that year we agreed to never mention again.
Also, I have to say, this is a post I have been meaning to write for a long time. But I kept not writing it because I wouldn't write for so long, and then I had to play catch up. But this is important to me, so I feel the need to record it.
I have a neighbor who I think is the best mom in the world.
She is not the hallmark mother most think of when they think "Best Mom in the World" award. But if I could become a little more like her, it would do me well.
It is so easy to get caught up with the Jones'. Especially with blogging, Pinterest, and magazines plaguing our lives. People like to show only their best side, which is natural, yeah? I am sad to say, I subconsciously buy into the "perfect life" myth. It is hard not to. I want that life, and so if I can pretend to have it, you bet I will.
When we go out, I want my kids to look good. I want them to look put together. Because somehow, in my mind, it shows that I love my kids. It shows that I am a good parent. It is all about me, after all. I know it is wrong, but I also tend to fall into the stereotypical judging of people with kids in dirty clothes, unkempt hair, etc. It somehow seems to reflect neglect and lack of love, which I know is not true, but I somehow still tend to buy into it. When I was on WIC, I made sure I was put together, and my kids were looking cute, because I didn't want to be classified as "white trash" (and I actually feel really bad for even expressing that thought!). I guess I am shallow like that. I am really ashamed to say it.
Which is why my friend Shantel is so amazing.
I invited her kids over to play. And her daughter came over so happy and proud.
She had fixed her own hair.
Another time she came over and had dressed herself in the typical 4 year old fashion. You know, mismatched everything, but so proud of herself.
When my kids go over to their house to play, I find Shantel happily engulfed in the lives of her kids. Her house is not spotless. It is not magazine ready. She has 5 kids, after all. She doesn't worry about keeping up with the Jones'. She worries that her kids are happy. That they are building independence and self confidence. So they go to the neighbor's house with funny hair and/or mismatched clothes. Her house isn't always magazine ready. But her kids are doing well in school. They are loved, and they know it. They are in an environment where they can learn, and grow, and be themselves and not have to worry about any negativity.
I want to be a mom like her. I want to have the confidence and enough love to be able to let go of my preconceived prejudices and ideas, and to be able to just let them learn and grow in such a positive and encouraging atmosphere.
I have a lot to learn.
I am so lucky to have her as my friend, and can learn through her example.
Because a good mom keeps up with the Jones'.
A great mom embraces their individuality and lets them grow despite what others may think.