I really don’t want to come off as a bragger, but I’m kind of a pro at this whole parenting thing. For almost half a decade I’ve been with my children 80% of the time. The remaining 20% is mostly made up of bathroom breaks, showers, that “one” time I hid in the pantry with a glass of wine and the very few times I’ve used a babysitter. I think it’s safe to say that as a SAHM I’m an expert on my children.
Put me on the field and I will identify a cry in an instant, sing any lullaby on demand, translate the words of a babbler in seconds, change two diapers with my eyes closed, turn a frown upside down, and rip a Band-Aid off without a blink of an eye. I have over four years of experience with nose-cleaning, butt-wiping, clothes-dressing, hair-braiding, coloring, finger-painting, more than enough “hide-and-seeking” and figuring out who’s at fault in a “she did it” battle.
So, yeah. My mom game is strong.
But I’ve been blind to one important thing missing on my resume: Dad. Grandma. New Friend. I am none of those, but little did I know, this missing bullet point, is a pretty big one.
I’ve been benched! I mean, I (literally) gave birth to this team and I find myself regularly getting benched.
See here’s the thing, it took me a little while to be okay with this but… it’s okay! It’s good to know that other players are just as important. In some cases, sometimes more important. If we don’t see each other on the same playing field and don’t praise one another for our unique qualities or root for each other while we take our turns on the bench, then we might as well forfeit… and well, that’s not really an option.
As little brains develop, hearts grow and childhood memories are being built, there are many components to their success. As you may have heard, “It takes a village!” However, I often found myself in moments of, “Nah, I got this,” and I did feel like I had it all together. Until recently, when I realized that I need to consider and embrace all the components for success and know that they are not my opponents! For example, as parents, we need to shine together and individually. We should not be competitors, proving to one another how great we are. At times, I found this to be a tough concept. But as a mom, I needed to let go of all the stuff I thought I owned.
It’s like one moment I’m the sole provider of food to my newborn babies, and the next moment they’re spitting out the food I made and telling me about the classmate who always has the best snacks.
I was over confident in all my parenting skills, and I wasn’t sure anyone could do my job better than me. I would sometimes find myself overlooking all the credit my other half deserved and currently, the better half. Especially after a regularly occurring weekend of, “No, Mama, I want Daddy!” Followed by, “When can Grandma play with me? I’m bored!” Which will quickly lead me into many requests that sound like… “Mom, can you go somewhere else? I just want to be with my friends.”
heart = broken
game = over
This became my default reaction at first and I found myself wasting time on self-doubt and failure, wondering how I got benched. Me? Mom? Mommy? I quickly realized that parenting is not an individual sport. We all need to give and take encouragement, as teammates and cheerleaders, but we also need to accept when to step back and let others take over for a big win! If you are indeed a pro at this whole parenting thing, then that is great! I don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t be at the top of their game as a parent, but when the opportunity arises to let others shine for the sake of your children’s happiness, the bench is really not a bad place to be.
Sit back. Cheer. Keep rooting for the team.