I try to be a good mom, really I do. But I yell way to much. Too often, criticism comes out of my mouth when acceptance should. And sometimes I would rather hang out with my lap top at the end of the day than read my kids a bedtime story. And I feel awful about that, no matter that my dearest friends tell me not to, that no parent is perfect, that we all have our bad moments and we all need time to ourselves.
You know what makes me feel better? When I read about some really amazing Moms. It inspires me to be a better momma. And for some reason, three really amazing Mommas stories came to me this week.
Like Ellen Stumbo, mom to 3 daughters, one with Down Syndrome. She and her husband adopted their daughter, Nina, from the Ukraine. She has Cerebral Palsy and lived her first four years in one room in an orphanage, rarely going outside.
When Ellen went to the Ukraine to see her daughter, she insisted on bringing her outside, despite discouragement from the orphanage staff. Not only did she carry her daughter past the disapproving looks but she decided to let Nina choose where to go and explore. She decided to “be her legs”. And then suddenly, Ellen took off running around with Nina in her arms, because she sensed that Nina needed that. She ran fast. And what she saw was her daughter’s face full of joy as she felt the breeze on her face and the thrill of careening around outside in the open space. And Ellen said to herself then and there, “I will be her Yes.” And that is awesome.
You can read Ellen’s story here, on Rachel Coleman’s blog.
Rachel has her own awesomeness. She is famous for creating the Signing Times videos, which my kids all love. For years, I thought she was just the Signing Times lady who learned sign language because her daughter, Leah, was deaf. Then I read some more about her. She went on to have another daughter, Lucy. Lucy has Cerebral Palsy. The odds of having one daughter who is born deaf and another born with Cerebral Palsy, well, at the very least, it’s a really, really, really, really, really looooooong shot.
As Lucy grew older, she grew heavier and Rachel and her husband, Aaron, needed to get stronger in order to move their daughter in and out of her bed, wheelchair, car seat, the bath tub. Rachel and Aaron went to a gym and began a fitness program. They weren’t setting out to lose weight, like most people who join a gym. Their goal was simple. “We definitely need to dead-lift 50 pounds over and over and over again. Every single day.” And they did. Not only that, they started to run marathons. That wasn’t enough, though. They’ve just completed their first triathlon together.
You can read more about Rachel Coleman’s family here.
One day, I heard about an author named Lisa Cottrell-Bently who wrote some books about characters who are also homeschoolers. I thought that was interesting. I was thinking about homeschooling. It would be nice for my kids to read some books about other kids who did that.
So I followed Lisa on Twitter for a while. She posted a lot of stuff about veganism and unschooling and then she posted something entitled I’m THAT Mom, an amazing list about how she became a vegetarian because her 3 year old was aghast at the thought of eating animals. She made snow in Arizona because it was the only thing her daughter asked for at Christmastime. And she became an author and started her own publishing company because her children wanted to read books about people like their own family. That is one amazing Momma.
Do you know what Ellen, Rachel and Lisa all have in common? They are amazing Mommas, yes. But what makes them so awesome is that they find ways to give their children exactly what they need. Not only that, but they show their kids what beautiful jewels they are. And they do it often. This is their priority.
I strive to do this as well. To let the everyday things that bug me like the 400th sock left on the floor or the next fight between my older two just be what they are: Little, everyday things. They don’t matter. When my kids grow up, I want them to know that I put them first. That I figured out what they needed and found a way to get it for them.