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You Don’t Have to Mother Like Anyone Else

When Layla, my firstborn, was about 18 months I started taking her to storytime at the library. She danced, sang, listened ok, we picked out books and went home. It was precious and uneventful. When we added my secondborn, Barrett, things got a little interesting, but I could still manage babywearing him, things were just a little stressful. Fast forward to the surprise pregnancy and having third baby and move to a new city. We now have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and about 1 year old. I decide it is high time these kids get some education and go to library storytime. Surely they will be behind on all the good books (I mean our 200 books at home aren’t going to cut it!) and socialization and learning how to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Little boy running in pine trees

I can’t even describe the horror that ensued. It was like my toddler was overcome by an evil spirit. Writhing and screaming and kicking and more screaming. I’d strap him and his brother in the double stroller and calmly walk around looking at books while EVERYONE stared and my insides churned.

Finally, after 3 or 4 tries of library storytime I gave up. I said “bye” to library storytime and “yes” to reading the same books at home on the couch. My wallet thanks me–I’ve coughed up quite a bit in library fines! My sanity thanks me, for sure!! The other library patrons surely thank me!

So here’s the thing….

You don’t have to mother like anyone else.

I hope one day my kids thank me because they will remember the mama who unapologetically herself, mothered in her own unique way, and was happier for it.

I hope they remember

I didn’t let anyone else’s preconceptions about mothering shame or guilt me into doing motherhood in a way that was less than fully lit up.

(Read more about my journey to chasing vibrance here!)

Mother holding baby and looking at him

If you are the crafty mom with Pinterest Perfect birthday parties and themed holiday crafts, I applaud you!! I don’t have to be you (unless I want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

If you are the educational mom that wants to do science experiments and read thick books to your kiddos while playing Chopin, I applaud you! I don’t have to be you (unless I want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

If you are the Amazon prime mom shopping for deals and steals while trying to keep everyone happy and sane in the least amount of time and money possible, I applaud you! I don’t have to be you (unless I want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

If you’re the crunchy mama oiling up your kids with frankincense like baby Jesus and growing fresh produce and staying off the grid, I applaud you! I don’t have to be you (unless I want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

If you’re the Instagram mom who loves to share your kiddos dance moves, fancy coffee, daily rants, and day to day life with friends near and far, I applaud you. I don’t have to be you (unless I want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

If you’re the social mom running from playdate to soccer practice to small group to book club with a big smile on your face and your extroverted cup filled to the brim, I applaud you! I don’t have to be you (unless I want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

If you’re the busy mom hustling from home to work to school pickup to home to side gig burning the midnight oil in pursuit of your dreams, I applaud you. I don’t have to be you (unless I  want to!), but I am here cheering you on!

real family photo - kids crying parents crazy

We are all unique moms. We are all good moms. We don’t have to all do it the same to mean we are all doing it well.

Our motherhood makes a beautiful patchwork quilt–each pattern and texture adding depth and warmth and beauty.

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts yet one body.

That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”    -1 Corinthians 12:12-20; 25-26

Kids running through pine trees

God made us different, not so that we could have “mommy wars” and judge each other for our personal choices, but so that we could WORK TOGETHER and in doing so bring Him greater glory than if we were all carbon copies!

Learning what lights me up as a mom takes time, experimentation, and failure.

I learn more everyday and hope everyday to be a mom that looks more like Jesus!

Sweet mama, don’t stop. Keep seeking out the things that make you feel vibrant as a mom, keep looking for the stuff that lights you up. The way YOU mother is beautiful.

This post, Vibrant Motherhood, is an exert from my upcoming course Chasing Vibrance Challenge: 5 Weeks to a Life that Lights You Up. 

Photography by Katie Osborn Photography

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