When I was a teacher, I was a believer in writing notebooks. Places where kids store writing ideas to use for stories and writing pieces. I’m still a believer in writing notebooks for my own kids.
One of the strategies I used to help kids develop ideas for writing was to make an “expert list” in their notebook. It was a way for kids to think about things they knew a lot about as a place to start writing, particularly informational pieces.
Now, most of us know kids think they know a lot about everything. But I was always surprised when I used the word, “expert,” they hesitated a bit. Because being an “expert” at something means you really should know a lot about something.
So I always had some fun making expert lists with them to get their juices flowing a little. Here’s a few things from my “expert list” I shared with kids back in my teaching days.
I’m an expert at:
- Pressing the snooze button on my alarm
- Eating too many chocolate covered almonds in one sitting
- Giving my kids kisses
- Reading a book on the beach
- Having sharpened pencils on my desk
- Talking with my hands
See? Nothing crazy, right? Nothing that should make anyone feel threatened by my amazing abilities. Lists like these made the kids laugh and realize there were lots of things they knew a lot about.
So if I’m okay admitting that I’m an expert at eating chocolate snacks, why should I be afraid to admit that maybe I’m an expert at parenting?
Really, who admits to that anyway?
Most of what I read out there is quite the opposite. Almost as if admitting to knowing something about motherhood is a bad thing so we’ll confess to all the things we’re so terrible at with this mom thing. We’ll post pictures of all the laundry we have to do, the dirty dishes, the messy house, the mismatched clothes and dirty feet. How tired we are and how much we need a break. And I confess, I do that too. Just to make sure people know I’m not some kind of super mom and I don’t have it altogether.
But why are we so hesitant to say we might actually know something about this thing we do day in and day out? You can’t flip a switch and suddenly not be a mother for a few hours. Even if you’re at work, you’re still a mom. Even if you’re having some alone time, you’re still a mom. You, mama, know an awful lot about being a mama. Do you have to know everything about parenting to be an expert? Heck no! Where would the fun and adventure be in parenting if you knew it all before it happened, right?
So I thought I’d have a little fun and share a few things that might be on your expert mama list.
I asked some friends to share a mom confession. I left it very open-ended. And as I predicted, the confessions turned out to be things that we would typically share to make sure other mamas know we have our own struggles. But I say, these confessions, really show what an expert you are.
Maybe you’re like this mama friend who confesses, “After having my second baby, I told my husband I also needed some ‘me time’ since he goes to the gym every evening. He responding by saying, “Sure! We can rotate gym nights!” Totally not what I had in mind. Once in a while I go to the gym BUT for the most part, I go sit at Starbucks in my gym clothes and drink overpriced coffee in peace. It’s amazing.”
If you’re like this mama, you are an expert on knowing that coffee is way better than exercise.
Or how about this confession? “I rarely ever have the desire to cook and my husband does more laundry and cleaning than me!”
If that’s you, mama, you are an expert on knowing how to delegate responsibilities.
Another mama says, “Sometimes if I’m having a really tired day, I will put my daughter’s favorite show on and let her watch some while I nap beside her!”
If that’s you mama, you are an expert on knowing the value of sleep. And I’m a bit jealous that this is not on my expert list!
I love the honesty in this one. “My mom confession would be that I occasionally resort to drive thru windows when we are really rushed for time. I am a huge proponent of real, local, minimally processed foods. I especially love to eat in season and from farmers I know and trust. I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen planning and preparing meals. I love to cook and I care about the ingredients. And I’m a busy person. And I’m not perfect. And I love fast food breakfast sandwiches…..there, I said it.”
And this one too: “I’ve dropped both my kids as infants, have driven places and forgot to buckle them in their car seat, and let them eat popcorn for both supper and breakfast.”
You, mamas, are experts in recognizing that it’s not about being perfect.
In all seriousness, none of us are the kind of experts that can say with absolute authority–this is the way to be the best mama. This is how it’s done. Because we all know by now that there isn’t one right or wrong way to raise your kids. Just because you make decisions that are different from someone else doesn’t mean your way is right and their way is wrong. We’re all on a path to find out what works best for our kids, for our families.
Does that mean we’ll always make the best decisions? That we’ll never make mistakes? Of course not. If you expect yourself to be the perfect mama, let go of that expectation.
We can learn from each other, yes. We can seek advice from fellow mama friends and try things like they do, yes.
But then at the end of the day, we ask God for guidance. We ask Him to lead us to make the best decisions we can and trust He’s guiding our paths.
And all that stuff? All the stuff we feel makes us a bad mama or a good mama or somewhere in between? None of it really matters as much as the little people we were given. God gave you your tribe, your crew, your littles, whatever you prefer to call them. He treasures them and He treasures you. He entrusts you to be the expert on them. All the other stuff? He’ll help you with.
No one knows them like you do.
And that, my sweet mama friends, makes you an expert.
If you’re so inclined, comment below with some encouragement for a mama you know. Share this post with them through FB or email or whatever and tell them to read the comments. Let’s be okay with lifting each others up for others to see! You’ll have the opportunity to comment on other posts too. So you can encourage more than one friend throughout the series.