There is something about the end of summer, and the start of school that kicks my mom-genes into overdrive. Maybe its the overexposure to Office Max buying school supplies, or the dreaded thought of packing lunches again, I don’t really know…but every year it happens.
And, last night it peaked. I mean, my daughter’s jaw dropped when she saw I was pulling out ingredients to bake cookies. “Um, Mom, what are you doing?” she asked. I tried to play it cool and act like it was really no big deal. (Let’s be honest, lately, my idea of making dinner consists of calling Pita Jungle to place our regular order.)
My cavalier attitude must have worked because she just shrugged and continued on to finish the last 10 pages of her summer math homework that we had procrastinated to the night before school started. (Stop judging me.)
Things were going along fine until I couldn’t find any flour. (I mean who doesn’t have flour in their pantry!?) I knew it was there somewhere. I searched until I found a zip lock bag of what looked to be flour. I finished up my batter, grateful that I had the foresight to store my flour in an airtight bag to keep it fresh.
I took my spoon out to do the standard taste. Cookie dough sampling is a must in my house. I put the spoon to my lips waiting to taste the deliciously sweet oatmeal batter. I immediately began to gag and spit the batter across the room. It was NOT cookie dough batter, that was for sure. No brown sugar goodness, no gooey buttery flavor.
All I tasted was salt.
And then it hit me.
That zip lock bag was full of home made play dough ingredients. Not for human consumption.
I quickly tossed the batter and went to dust off my Mother of The Year Tiara.
There would be no fresh baked cookies for my kids after the first day of school.
This got my wheels spinning. Lately I have been thinking about the delicate dynamics between moms.
It’s so easy for us to fall into comparing.
We look around and see that her house is spotless, or she bakes her own home made bread, or she has the body of Jillian Michaels. Even when we walk into each other’s homes, we’re sizing up the situation. Where do I fit in? How do I compare?
And if we’re not comparing, often, we’re competing.
We’re determined to throw the best birthday party in the class, or pushing our kids to outperform their peers. We strive for perfection and often accept nothing less. It really is exhausting.
I guarantee we’ve all fallen into these traps.
Maybe it’s was my foiled baking attempts or my scattered summer, but lately I’ve been wondering what our relationships with fellow mom’s and other women would be like if rather than comparing or competing…we celebrated.
Celebrated others. Rather than comparing homes and status, what if we saw them as a reflection of the beauty in our friends? Each of us at different stages, with something unique to offer the world.
Celebrated our children. Taking time to savor each stage, the fun ones and the ones that make you want to pull your hair out. What if we celebrated their little personalities and declarations of independence?
Celebrated ourselves. How would our days transform, our self-image take shape if we celebrated ourselves? For the beauty we have to offer the world, and the circumstances we find ourselves in. Sure, there are tough times (and I mean REALLY tough times) but there is also beauty in those moments. We look at a caterpillar as they struggle in their cocoons and know that the very process that is uncomfortable is what transforms them into the butterfly. So, in the same way, we can celebrate the process.
Since I have no cookies to offer you, I thought I’d give you some food for thought.
Noelle Larson is a mom still searching to find the “balance” between her spiritual journey, family, ambition, inner peace, world peace…all while trying not to blink so she doesn’t miss one minute of her beautiful, messy life. Noelle writes at metromom.org where she journals her crazy days chasing after her kids and husband, deep thoughts, and captures her latest adventures.