Call me crazy, but this picture is one of the few I have of me being the mom I aspire to be every day — the fun, silly mom, letting go, playing make-believe, making beautiful memories with my children.
This silly picture of me pretending to be scared of my then two-year-old son, Captain Kirkham, is one of the crown jewels in my collection of mom memories. It’s what I like to call my mom-print, the lasting imprint I want to leave on my children — a mom happy simply being a mom. I want my children to know, to feel, that being a mom gives me complete joy and that my life would not be complete without them.
Sadly, I often fear my mom-print is the other kind of crazy: The mom that’s always rushing them, frantically running from here to there, telling them to do this or not do that. The mom focused on her to-do list, and my kids’ can’t-have list. The task-master mom so serious about homework, practicing piano, chores… and what else can I tell them to do or not do! I got exhausted just writing that! Imagine how my children feel.
And too often I wake up tired, start my day tired, live out my day tired, and go to bed tired. This mom gig has made me a professional sleeper! Wake up, Mommy. It’s time to reboot!
That’s what inspires me to write — to be a better mom. I want to leave a better mom-print, like the one my mom gifted me. I remember my mom so joyful and always singing. She was the ultimate volunteer at my school, often taking children to nursing homes just to sing. For years, she taught music for nothing at all. Nothing. Her heart was complete just singing and sharing her love of music with children. What a beautiful mom-print!
Tomorrow is the perfect day to start working on my mom-print. The boys have a day off school for parent-teacher conferences. I’ll have all four kids to myself, and what a JOY that will be! (That was not sarcasm.) I truly can’t wait. I’ve got big plans for us, and it all starts first thing in the morning with basic training for Mommy:
- Wake up happy. This is HARD for a deep sleeper like me. I hate to admit this, but my husband truthfully calls me a professional sleeper. Waking up Mommy at 6 am can be painful. But I’m ready to replace pain with joy. I want the first thing my kids to see is a caffeine-free smile on my face so they know I can’t wait to start my day with them. They’re happy to have the day off school, and I’m happy I get to be the one to spend it with them! (And then I’ll go get some caffeine.)
- Embrace every moment with them. On our way to the parent-teacher conferences, we will crank up the song, “Boom, Boom, Ain’t It Great To Be Crazy!” My kids love this slapstick song sent to them by my mom, Grandma Val. We will sing it together, and then I’ll fill them in on the crazy-fun day ahead to celebrate their good report cards.
- Check the Mommy-memory list (not the to-do list). This list is the ultimate bucket list for moms, the list of basic things you want to do with your children before it’s too late. On this day, I’m keeping it real…. really simple: My four young children and I will celebrate a day together with a picnic lunch in the park. We will PLAY and wander and dream. We’ll spend the afternoon riding our bikes, hunting for new critters for our critter jars. We will dream up funny names for them like Kingaroo and Wimpydoo and introduce them like pets to all our neighbors. We’ll do story-time before naps (a professional sleeper needs a nap). And when they ask for an extra story, I’ll say, “Pick two!” All this crazy fun, so that before the day’s end, we’ll be telling our own stories inspired by the new memories made with Mommy.
I can’t wait for tomorrow — to wake up happy and spend the entire day with my kids. And that’s why it’s time for this professional sleeper to go to bed. Tomorrow is a big day: I’ve got a mom-print to make!