There is no such thing as perfection as a mother. Not when there are way too many things on our To Do lists. Go here, do this, move that, buy something, work harder, get more, help again. It never ends, does it? Sometimes it wears on our patience. Sometimes it means we snap, sigh, even yell. There are moments, days, weeks even, where we have so many regrets about how we spoke or acted or things we did not do, things we simply forgot because we were too busy to remember.
Too often moms feel guilty, embarrassed, upset, disappointed in how they are as a mother. They feel like they are failing. You do, don't you? From time to time, you feel like nothing you're doing is right as a mom.
Too often women compare themselves to other women. Why? I think because we're women and emotional and always wanting to do a good job at everything, particularly at being a Mom.
All of these feelings, while not pleasant, are quite normal.
But I also know something to be truer than those ridiculous feelings: There is SO much more right than wrong in our days and moments as mothers. I guarantee this to be true. If you stop to pay attention to what you ARE doing versus what you are forgetting or messing up, you'll find more smiles, more joyful moments, more things you did that worked than that did not.
Today I had one of these days. Where nothing felt like I got it right. Where I was exhausted, so snappy and impatient. Where I yelled. When I wasn't sure I could make it to bed time...
I forgot to send my daughter with gloves to school. But I remembered the hat, jacket and boots.
I have no clue where my son's library book is (eek!), but we are half way through Charlotte's Web at bed time.
I didn't get enough time to play with my children tonight. I was putting groceries away, making dinner, cleaning out the sink because I couldn't strain the pasta without the sink clear. They were cranky and tired from a busy school day so they watched TV. We didn't play. Our only time together and we didn't play tonight. Then it was baths and water was everywhere. I was impatient. But I gave them a healthy meal, made sure groceries were in the fridge, and cleaned them up in the tub. I didn't yell at the water everywhere.
I helped them brush their teeth. I snuggled them up in warm towels that were clean because I washed them yesterday and hung them up knowing they are their favorites.
I dried their little bodies, snuggled them into warm pajamas, tucked them into bed. All while my back hurt and my belly was hungry and I was oh so tired myself. I was there. I did bed time routine solo tonight.
We didn't read stories. We didn't clean up the toys on the floor. We didn't talk about the artwork that came home tonight. But I kept the artwork, with plans to go over each and every one with them tomorrow at dinner time with Dad. I see the toys and they make me think we'll make time to play tomorrow night. And the stories... we read so many books, it's all good.
They are wearing mismatched pajamas, but at least they are warm. I can't remember if I washed the blanket this weekend or if the laundry is still in the washer and never was put in the dryer. I don't remember if I bought a birthday gift for the next party or if I got enough teacher gifts. But at least I'm trying. I'm trying to do it all.
I didn't get it all right tonight. Or most nights probably.
Nothing was perfect. It never is.
But everything was great. It was better than so many other things that don't matter.
When I put my tired boy to sleep, I lay down next to him and told him a story. Before I even told him I was going to share a story with him, he smiled, huge grin over his face. He knew. Because I tell stories all the time to him, it's our special thing. It was maybe 7 minutes, but it was the best 7 minutes of my day. And I made my son's day, I do believe. That's more important than playing trucks or snuggling on the couch together or making sure the laundry is put away.
Then I moved to my daughter's room and I sung her a bed time song, like she always asks me to do. She put her tiny arm around my neck as I sung and said "Love you, too." I forgot all about how impatient I was when she was cranky at dinner and refusing to eat my meal.
Here's the thing. It doesn't have to be perfect or even close to perfect. It doesn't have to be right every second, every moment. You don't have to do it all in one day. You can mess up most of a day and then have some amazing moments that last maybe 10 minutes and those are all that matter, those are what count, what they will remember the next day and the day after that and years later.
They'll remember that you showed up, cared, loved them, and helped. They'll forget when you forgot. They won't recall that you snapped. They won't remember when you seemed so tired you only read one story versus three like they wanted.
They will remember what you did. They will know that you loved them. Even if nothing was perfect.
They'll just know they were your everything.
Give yourself a break, moms. You are great. You are enough.