There’s a mom at our school. Almost all the moms know her. She’s THAT mom. You know, the one who does everything, and does it with style. She’s room mom for both kids, cub scout mom and Daisy troop leader. She works in the science lab, the arts program, the PTA. She dresses up in cool costumes for Halloween, organizes elaborate games for every kid at the park, and goes down the slip and slide at the water play date she sets up at her house. Always cheerful, always engaging, always attracting small children like the pied piper. In her spare time (ha ha), she teaches spinning classes, runs full-length Ironman triathlons, and runs a minimum of ten miles per day.
She’s THAT mom.
I truly appreciate her deeply, but it took me a while to get to that spot. At first I could only feel intimidated by her, envious of her energy, jealous that she seemed to do everything and with more grace than I could ever imagine. But as I’ve gotten to know her, I see that she’s gifted in particular areas–but not in everything. And I’ve watched my children, among others, sometimes drift away from her exuberance, as though she was slightly more than they could handle.
I’ve also realized that I have my own gifts too.
When I take the kids at school in the morning, I often play tag. It’s a great way to stay warm, plus I’ve got early morning energy and exercise clothes on to boot. The kids love it, and it allows me to engage not only with them but with their classmates. “You’re going to turn into THAT mom,” one friend warned me, and shortly thereafter one of the other parents said as we lined up after tag, “Thank you!” with an apologetic face that said what I had once thought: thank you for being THAT mom.
Oh no. No, no, no. What I had realized was that I already was THAT mom. I’m the mom God knew my kids needed. I will NEVER (and I rarely use that word but of this I am certain) run an Ironman. I’m not planning on teaching spinning or leading Daisies, either. But I’m good with kids, quiet and a little funny. I make awesome breads and baked goods, and I’m always up for a board or card or video game. Birthday cakes get decorated exactly and as elaborately as desired. I plan our weekends so we go out for ice cream at least once, and I’m usually eager to fill any arts and crafts whim. And on some cold mornings, I’m good for a game of tag. I’m THAT mom. The one my kids need. That’s me. And that’s every other mom out there too.
The one who warned me? She’s got the gift of art like nobody’s business, plus she’s a stellar Christian example to her kids. She also has no qualms with serving nutella for dinner or chicken nuggets on tortillas. She’s THAT mom. And the one who thanked me? She’s the mom who pulls her kids to school in the wagon every morning. Going to school is so much more fun in a wagon!
We all have our gifts, and while some seem more obvious–and enviable–than others, our kids were given to us accordingly. They need our gifts, not anyone else’s. Instead of focusing on what others have and what we lack, let’s choose to be the best mom we can, whatever that looks like. THAT mom, she’s the one you need to appreciate.