I've always known I would be a Crunchy Mama. It probably could have been predicted way back in seventh grade when I joined the Environmental Protection Club, started a chapter of Amnesty International, and became a vegetarian. Traditional Mama was in the cards too, when I made baked ziti and chocolate chip cookies for all my friends in high school, and reminded everyone to zip their coats when it was cold. There are some other Mamas I thought I might be who remain more elusive; in spite of my inclination to make jewelry when I was younger, I will never Crafty Mama, who makes cool things from Pinterest with her kids. I may love to cook, but I think my pleasure in creating in the kitchen actually prevents me from being Cooking with Kids Mama. One Mama I knew I'd never be, but who I look at with admiration and a twinge of envy is Exercising Mama, who looks and seems to feel awesome.
When I get below the surface and start talking about characteristics like Patient Mama, Never Yells Mama, Sits on the Floor and Plays Mama, Fun Mama, Laughing Mama, Endlessly Giving Mama...it gets a little more personal and a little more painful. I have so many things in the back of my mind that I want to do and be, and sometimes I realize that no matter how "in the moment" or okay with myself I try to be, I do hold myself against impossible standards. I have fantasies of the kind of Mama I'd like to be, but when I'm honest, I don't think they inspire me to grow as much as they inspire me to feel bad about how I don't measure up. Did our society put these impossible standards in my head? Maybe. But it's up to me to get real with all those Mamas taking up space and give them the boot. The truth is I'll never be one kind of Mama, and I'll definitely never be all the kinds of Mamas I admire and aspire to be. My hope is to be the Mama that I am, the Mama my kids already have, and to give her a break, because she's a pretty great Mama to be.