Tomorrow is Mother's Day - a day for celebration and recognition - and I've been thinking about how I live up to this holiday. Do I deserve the hoopla and the fanfare? When my children are older with this holiday be something they go through the motions of or will they feel deep appreciation for and heart-felt connection with me? I'm not sure.
I'm not always a good mom. Sometimes I'm too strict. Sometimes my voice is way more harsh than I expect it to be. Sometimes it's exactly how harsh I had hoped it to be and that makes me feel icky and flawed and useless. Sometimes I talk too much when I need to let my silence give them room to learn their own lessons. Sometimes my short-comings make it harder for them to embrace their mistakes or dare to be brave.
Sometimes I let them watch too much TV or let myself stare at my phone too long. It doesn't matter the reasons why - paying a bill, sending a photo of them to their Dad, trying to start my business. Sometimes it's still too much for and I can tell they notice.
Sometimes I let myself take their misbehavior personally. I let it trigger me all day long. Sometimes I control the fun - I try and shape the moment to be my version of awesome or magical instead of letting their simple requests for more books, or more mud, or more tickling be all that we need. Sometimes I let me sensitivity to the loudness (and my introverted needs) squash the fun because their noise and chaos making me anxious. And I ask them to pick up their toys, when the toys could probably sit there this time.
Sometimes I let my body limit me. It's too cold, so I don't rush outside for fresh air with them. I didn't get enough sleep, so my eyes can't read the 12th book. 'm juggling all the to-do's in my mind and I can't bear another noise from that toy or more squealing and running on repeat. I didn't eat a good breakfast and that second cup of coffee has me light-headed and queasy. I didn't stretch so my back hurts and I don't feel like being a pony... again. I don't want to be jumped on. I don't feel like lugging the toddler on my hip because she's jealous that's where her brother gets to be.
Sometimes I'm not present. It doesn't matter if my tasks are necessary or my intentions are to be useful. I get caught up in rotating laundry and dishes through the appliances, of vacuuming again so we're not covered in dog hair or because dirt under my bare feet drives me nuts. I'm focused on paying bills and scrutinizing finances over the laptop with my furrowed brow (and I'm cranky about it because math makes my head hurt). Sometimes I work more than I play... and I can't shut it off.
Sometimes I let the comments, glances, and perceived scrutiny of others shove me into a box of shame. I'm too hard on her. My house is too clean. I'll wish I had these moments back. I'm just like my father; too harsh, too disciplined. I let these things seep into my blood and pump their poison into my heart and then I'm suffocating on shame. Every day I try to be mindful of how I am compared to how I want to be. And I really try to change and evolve - no matter how much I disappoint myself - I do keep trying. But, honestly, sometimes the trying is exhausting. Sometimes all I can do is notice my missteps and it's feels impossible to correct this dance I'm doing. Sometimes I'm beaten down and beaten up by the whirling in my head - the worries and disappointments I have with myself. Sometimes it seems I can't catch these faults of mine in time and I'm convinced I've ruined their childhood and given them a host of issues for their some-day partners, friends, jobs... for their some-day life. I agree with the judgement and criticism and where there isn't any... I make some up of my own.
When people do say to me: You're such a good Mom. I retort with a laugh: Pffft. Yeah. I'm just trying to get by.
I keep thinking to myself, God, you gotta figure this out, Lindsay. Figure it all out so you can be better for them. Just be better for them. I am consumed with thoughts of them and the importance of this union between us. How they chose me and I chose them. I hope and pray I can be enough for them. I can't stand the thought of disappointing them. I'm not a good Mom... but, I hope my wins outweigh my failures. I hope they look back and say they had a happy childhood. I hope they feel seen, heard, loved, respected. I hope they feel important and fun to be around. I hope their kindness and magic doesn't feel unnoticed. I hope they feel I see the good in them... and I hope they see the good in me.
I love you, littles. I really do. This motherhood thing is really my most important thing. Sometimes it feels heavy with the burden of high-expectations, but mostly you make it glorious just by living and breathing and hugging and loving me. Please forgive me for all my mistakes. Please know that despite them, I love you really BIG.
Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms - not just the amazing ones in my tribe helping me to raise these little wildlings - but to all of you. For those that have it mastered, I salute you. To those who are burdened and burnt out, I hug you. To those who can feel the beautiful sting of fresh changes on their heart as they shed yet another skin and become truer and more evolved versions of themselves, I stand with you. We may be strangers but you are not unknown to me. We are all connected in this circle as Flamekeepers, passing down our light and lessons through our legacy. Know this: I appreciate you.