The Best Mom in the World

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.


Myya said…
What a beautiful tribute to your friend, I hope that she reads your blog. I think every mom yearns to hear that they are doing a great job from others because acknowledgement really is confirmation to yourself sometimes.

Congrats on 999 - that is a BIG deal!!!

P.S. I did the same exact thing when I was on WIC. I even went to a different town to shop. I am dissapointend that I thought that of myself yet I don't have those feelings for other people when I see them using WIC. I think we maybe are just too hard on ourselves?

Trish said…
I like your thoughts here. I've been thinking similarly lately. The area I live in is full of a lot of unkempt people! At first I think, "why can't that mom do her girl's hair all nice for church?" And then I look at all her other kids and think of my own super stubborn son who wants to do everything himself and suddenly I stop judging. I've finally figured out that if I can stop myself from judging people all the time, somehow, that I will be able to love them! Wow!
Chantel said…
Well, I guess I must be Mother of the Year because Avy always looks crazy. She has to pick out her own clothes or it's such a battle we don't get out of the door on time. She almost never matches. I usually just shrug my shoulders at her preschool teacher as I drop her off. I'm sure they think I'm crazy for letting her come dressed like that, especially since at least once a week she's in her Spider Girl costume from Halloween.
Susan Anderson said…
Sounds like my kind of mom.

And you're a pretty good one yourself.

Noodle said…
I've recently let go of a lot of control over my kids... As long as they are dressed in clean cloths and there hair gets brushed at least once a day I'm good... They help me pick there food for lunch and breakfast but I get to chose dinner... I'm surprised by there healthy choices in snacks and lunches... I still have a hard time letting go over there choices in out fits but I'm making progress and letting my kids totally be them self's and let there personality's shine =)
Crystal Collier said…
LOL. I've been on blogger since 2008, and I'm nowhere near 999. ;)

I know what you mean about trying to "look the part". I've got apostles & pioneers in the bloodline, and my grandpa was a mission president, prestigious community doctor, and best friends with President Faust. There was always this imposed sense of propriety in my family.

As for myself, after having lived in NYC, upstate NY, and a couple places in Florida--all while home schooling and raising babies, I've come to the solid conclusion that we're doing okay. My house is perfect--that is, a perfect disaster (a significant amount of the time), but that's the price we pay for allowing kids the opportunity to tidy and bear responsibility. My daughter dresses herself, and I often wonder what people must think of me as a mother based on her style--but she's happy, outgoing, and not judgmental toward others, especially those who have less than we do.

You're exactly right. It takes courage to let imperfections show, but those imperfections are often where we find true character and real growth.

Wonderful post.

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