Wait, You Don’t Like to Bake?

Cookies from Danville Bakery

In my current season of life I’ve been struggling to find the sweet spot. The transition to stay at home mom has been difficult for me. I wouldn’t choose to work during these precious developmental years, but I have to be honest. I hate doing arts & crafts, scrapbooking, playing hide & seek, and Sesame Street. Many of the activities you’re supposed to do as a mom of small children just aren’t my “thing.” The left side of my brain dominates my existence, so the mere thought of walking into a craft store gives me the shakes. Play dates with toddlers fighting over the same toy give me panic attacks. I don’t like volunteering in my kids’ classrooms, which sounds strange given that I’m a teacher. I can’t stand being around large groups of children who can’t tie their own shoes. It must have to do with the age, because I do love being in a middle school classroom. I also get irritated and feel insufficient when my friends decorate cookies or do craft projects for every holiday known to man. And while we’re on the subject let me be very clear about something: I do not bake. Can you feel my pain?

I have made the conscious choice to stay home with my children, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. (To say “stay home” just sounds stupid, though, because I am rarely ever actually at home). While I do enjoy many aspects of my current job description, I feel like a fish out of water when I look around at other women in my peer group. They seem to love these things that I can barely force myself to do. Am I the only one who feels this way or the only one willing to admit it? Either way, it can be very isolating.

I decided it was time to make some changes or I was going to lose my mind. I started by going through the process of evaluating my gifts, my passions, and the needs of others in my circle of influence. I joined the board of directors for a local non-profit organization with an incredible cause. I was also invited to serve as an executive mentor with an international non-profit and have been growing tremendously as a result. Both in my Sweet spot. The former competitive athlete in me made exercise a priority again. I started kickboxing and playing in a men’s basketball league. Sweet spot.

Most importantly, I started letting go of the guilt I feel when others expect me to be someone I’m not. I will never be that mom who brings in baked goods for the fundraiser. I will never complete those gorgeous scrapbooks that other moms put together for their kids (I tried it. I suck. This OCD perfectionist, bean-counter’s daughter took hours to pick out which papers to put on a page, so I had to stop). I will volunteer for things that line up with my skills and passions, and feel ok that I don’t fit into the SAHM mold. All of this adds up to a better, happier, more helpful me. And it makes me a better mom.

When have you felt like a fish out of water, and what have you done about it?

 
 
  • heather

    i so hear you on this. so often i am hard on myself for not loving being with my kids. and you are right it is very isolating…even though i am “involved” . what is more isolating is the fact that we don’t address it. we fill our time with gatherings yet are not real with our heart. in deed i face some dark days, yet am not always comfortable including others in the battle that wages within me.
    i will challenge you though and say that God will not always have us do (volunteer) for things we love to do; in fact often times it is the exact opposite. that is when we come face to face in how much we really “love our neighbor as ourself”
    appreciate the time you have devoted to this. love getting to know you more.

    • Heather,

      Thank you for the comment and I agree with your challenge. We should offer to do things that we don’t necessarily love doing, especially when they involve our God-given talents and the tasks are serving others. For example, I might not love taking notes in a meeting, but I will volunteer to do it if I’m good at it and the task will help the group. My realization about baking cookies was this: I don’t enjoy it, I’m no good at it, and therefore I am not benefitting anyone by doing it. I was putting pressure on myself to bake because all of my friends were doing it with and for their kids. One day I woke up and realized there’s a perfectly good bakery right down the street, so why am I wasting my time?

      Love getting to know you better, too. Wishing you guys the best in your new adventure!

      -Tracy

  • sara

    oh…you have no idea how much this hits the nail on the head for me right now. i am so excited to stay home with my baby next year but the mom’s group thing kinda gives me the shivers (as does scrapbooking and the like!). thanks for saying out loud, (or writing!), what many of us must feel. there are a million ways to show your kids love and respect…being strong and loving yourself are 2 great ways to start!
    and p.s.-i loathe baking and sesame street as well.

    • Hi Sara! I love hearing that you can relate to this. Can’t wait to hear news of your little one’s arrival. You are going to be a fantastic mom!

  • Love this! I dread when mykid is old enough to want to go to Chucky Cheese. I will pay a sitter to go there! I picture it being a giant booger.

    • Julie,

      Do not feel guilty if you NEVER take your child to Chucky Cheese. I’ve been one time and it was one too many. Museums, parks, and a Wii at home are much more enriching and have far fewer germs!

      My best,
      Tracy

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