A couple of weeks ago my daughter had her new curly, blonde-haired friend over for a sleepover. She, the friend, and Tucker were sitting at the kitchen table eating a ridiculous number of grilled cheese sandwich bites I had prepared, each with their own ‘dipping’ sauce.
As I was about to round the corner I heard her friend say, “Your mom is so nice. Seriously – like even her voice it’s just so calm and kind.”
I stopped in my tracks, I always thought I sounded a bit like Minnie Mouse.
Estelle replied, ‘Yeah. She’s awesome. She never yells, is always generous, and understands that we make mistakes.’ Then Tucker chimed in, “She’s always making us do things for other people which can get annoying–but that’s just how she rolls.’
I walked away with tears in my eyes and couldn’t help but think about the viral video from a couple of years ago – how as a mom, we think we are constantly failing…but our children think we’re pretty awesome. If you haven’t seen the video – here is the link. CRY WARNING!! DO NOT WATCH if you don’t want to cry.
I was so moved by what they said that I (of course) posted on Facebook. Then someone wrote, “You are such a good mom. Seriously, I don’t know how you do it. I really want to be more like you.”
That’s nice – but at times, I’m a hot mess (SERIOUSLY…read Day #166 – I’m Not Supermom)
My mother-in-law and I once had a wonderful conversation about mothering. She said to me, “I told my boys – there are better moms, worse moms, but I’m the mom you are stuck with, so we may as well make the most out of it.”
That made me laugh…and think.
I’m the mom my children are stuck with.
Another friend posted, “I need to take lessons on that no yelling thing.”
I thought about that and the advice from my mother-in-law. I couldn’t help but to think…most of my mothering behaviors have been dictated by what Tucker needs to experience high levels of success. Yelling is not my thing, but it may be yours. Whichever you believe…your children will turn out however they turn out. As my children age, I’m recognizing what little impact I REALLY have on their decision-making and behaviors.
At an early age we did homework right after school -all in an effort to help them develop good habits. They arrived home, we sat at the table with a healthy snack and completed homework. When my children entered Middle School I decided it was time to ‘cut the strings’ and allow them to show the good habits they had learned. I won’t always be there – and I wanted them to show that they could complete their homework, independently.
As it turns out…neither of them are ‘good’ at doing their homework and I’m constantly getting ‘missing assignment’ messages from school. I also no longer feel like it is my job to remind them, push them, or require them to do it. They face their own consequences.
I make my bed every morning. Why? It helps me realize that I’ve accomplished something for the day – even if it’s as trivial as making my bed. Honestly, it may be the only thing that I bring to full completion all day long. My children have watched me make my bed and helped tidy the house every day of their lives.
As turns out…neither of them are ‘good’ at keeping their rooms clean. I often shut their door because my eyes burn at the site of the state of their room.
There are ‘good’ moms who end up with ‘crappy’ kids.
There are ‘crappy’ moms who end up with ‘good’ kids.
I’m not sure there is a pattern…so what I’m beginning to realize is this.
My children’s awesomeness is NOT a reflection of me. I cannot take credit for their amazingness.
My children’s not-so awesomeness is also NOT a reflection of me. I cannot take credit for their less-than amazingness.
It seems to be…regardless of what we do, we will mess up our children. My children have lived in a nice bubble. Do you know what that means?
They don’t know how to deal with mean people…let’s be honest – there are lots of mean people out there.
They have unrealistic expectations of how people are…let’s be honest – people don’t always have the best intentions.
Their expectations of how people forgive are skewed…let’s be honest – people hold grudges for A LONG TIME.
They extend grace to everyone, which is a great virtue…let’s be honest – people take advantage of others, often.
They constantly think the best in people…let’s be honest – people can be (and often are) manipulative.
They think conflict is always dealt with in a calm matter…let’s be honest – hahahahahahaha…we know that’s not true.
They don’t hear people yell…let’s be honest – other people yell…a lot.
So, yes – I may be a ‘good’ mom in many of your eyes – but here’s the truth…
I have woefully unprepared my children to deal with some aspects of ‘real’ life…and someday that is going to come back and bite me in my backside. That’s the truth and it will be a GREAT BIG BITE. I’ll be left trying to help them pick up the pieces and make sense of this not so nice world.
Please, moms reading this…please stop comparing. You’re doing the best you can in any given moment. Find peace in knowing that your children will become what they want to become, the one thing we can all do is love them…and that’s about all.