Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Love My "Overachieving" Mom

It's that time of year again.

Time for everyone to start sharing those articles about why people hate THOSE moms. Oh, I'm not talking about those moms who scream at their kids for being kids or the crazy ones who get arrested for locking their kid in a closet for 10 years.

Nope. I'm talking about THOSE moms-- the ones who make homemade goodie bags for their kid's Christmas party and do silly things with their Elf on the Shelf and make snowflakes and other holiday crafts with their kids. The ones we all love to hate on.

Nothing says happy holidays like judging others, right?

When I first came across an article complaining about the "overachieving mom" a few years ago, I clicked on it thinking it was going to be about a "pushy mom" who puts a lot of pressure on her kids to make straight 100s and compete in the olympics.

But then I read the article. And I was like, well shit. They just described Rose Cacibauda. Also known as Mom.


This is my mother. She's an incredible artist (especially when it comes to pottery), a hard worker, and occasionally an expert at annoying her middle child who is basically Rose Cacibauda part 2. She's a woman of many traits, really.

But mostly? She's what today's world calls an "overachieving mother". Actually, I'm pretty convinced that one of my classmate's moms probably met her and created the term overachieving mother. 

She was a stay at home mom when my siblings and I were younger. She filled our toddler days with educational activities, crafts, books, and trips to the park. When we were in elementary school, she did things with the PTA, went on our field trips, helped with field day, and painted sets for school plays every time one of us volunteered her because we told everyone how good of an artist she was.

When I turned 7, I had a Spice Girls birthday party, and she painted the Spice Girls on a huge piece of cardboard/wood/something with face cutouts so my friends and I could put our faces in and take our pictures. She created microphones out of styrofoam and fabric and created a "stage" for us to perform on. I was Sporty Spice and it was awesome. 

In my 4th grade Mississippi play, I played the role of the teacher and we made and decorated a "teacher vest" for me to wear. She never sent anything store-bought to our class parties unless I was signed up for chips. She was simultaneously my brother's cub scout leader and me and my sister's girl scout troop leader, and we ALWAYS went camping with the cub scouts. She planned and ran a cub scout day camp every summer, and created Camp Cacibauda, where she had tons of special fun activities and outings for us to do as a family all week. 

She played with us and let us get dirty and pick out our own outfits, even when I was 3 and wore my cowboy boots with everything, including my pjs and swim suit. She brought orange slices and juice boxes to our soccer games, taught me ballet positions when I didn't have time to play sports AND do dance, and spent most of her days sitting in the stands at the baseball/softball fields. When we go to Disney World, she spends months working on getting us a reservation to eat in Cinderella or Belle's castle because we still think it's magical.

She's made every birthday cake my siblings and I have ever had (except that year I discovered the cakes with whipped cream icing at Walmart and became obsessed). When I turned 13, she and my aunt took me and 2 of my friends to New Orleans for a weekend to stay at the Alexa Hotel. When I turned 21, she said she would take me to New York to see Derek Jeter play at Yankee Stadium before he retired. Even after my accident happened, she still did everything to make it happen this past September and pushed me all around New York City.

She let us "camp out" in our sleeping bags in the living room on the weekends, and made matching Easter dresses for me and my sister on a regular basis. And the holidays? Let's just say she's the reason I'm so obsessed with Christmas. We still do the same things we used to. We decorate and make homemade Christmas cookies and make all of our homemade Italian food. We make goodies to send to her best friend in California and we play family games. She writes riddles and sticks them in the advent calendar, and on Christmas Eve morning we get to hunt for our new ornament that is hidden somewhere in the house.

But here's the thing-- I know it sounds like it, but my siblings and I weren't spoiled. Were we so, so, SO incredibly blessed? YES. No doubt. But we weren't (and still aren't) rich, and I heard the word "no" (nicely) plenty of times. We were a family on a budget, and I know my mom didn't do it just to one up the other parents. She didn't do it because she thinks she's perfect. She's still a mom and a human. She likes to spend a day in her pjs and gets frustrated with her crazy kids sometimes and still isn't very good at taking selfies. ;)

Do you know why she did it?

Because she WANTED TO. Because she thought it was FUN. Because that was, and still is, her personality.


Maybe that's not your personality. Maybe you are a store-bought cookie kind of girl and think the Elf on the Shelf is too much work. AND THAT'S OKAY TOO! It doesn't make you any less of a good mother.

But we can't tell women that they are awful and "setting the bar too high" just because of the way they are choosing to be a mom. If it makes you feel bad or you don't like it, then you have two options. You can step up your mom game, or you can just ignore it and keep on keeping on and loving your kids the way you love them. 

Because at the end of the day, I promise that the "overachieving moms" aren't doing all of these things to prove that they're a better mom or make you feel like an inadequate mother. Because the secret is that all of those "overachieving" things aren't about YOU, they are about their kid(s).

I'm thankful that my mom fits the description of an "overachieving mom". I'm thankful that I have that same personality, and can only hope that I'm as awesome of a mom as she is. I'm thankful that she still chooses to go above and beyond for me and my siblings.

But mostly, I'm thankful for my overachieving mother, who went above and beyond even though she knew we didn't fully realize just how good we had it at the time. I thought all moms were like mine when I was younger. I thought she was just being a mom and doing what she was supposed to do. 

But man, I was so wrong. Rose Cacibauda is definitely one of THOSE moms. And she did it all before Pinterest because she's just that cool. But you know what? We love it. 

We love our overachieving mother. You rock, Mom!

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