I started this blog almost two years ago to try to be a voice for all the mothers struggling with imperfection.
Hating themselves for their mistakes. Not having a clue what to do with a screaming baby, a naked toddler constantly running away, or a pre-teen screaming at you that she hates you.
I wanted you to know you were not alone. I wanted to be honest. To bear my imperfections in the hopes that yours would ease and you would be kinder to yourself. I wanted you to know you were not alone.
And so I ask this question.
It is raw.
It is true.
It is real…
Do you live with a spirited child?
Do you find every argument, tantrum or meltdown physically and emotionally exhausting?
Do you ask yourself what you did so wrong to have your sweet baby turn out to be such a horrid person. Even if it’s just for a moment?
Does every flaw or imperfection you see feel like a mirror to your own?
It does to me.
Does it make you hate yourself a little?
It does to me.
Does your heart break a little on those mornings they doesn’t say goodbye?
I recently read an article that talked about the damage a mother had done to her child in handsfreemama.com. My gut reaction was “How could you possibly do damage to your child? You love her. You care for her.” And then I kept reading and realized that damage happens in so many subtle ways. And I am guilty of many.
It hurts to write that. To fess up and own it. But it’s true.
I am damaging my beautiful children.
I have spent over 10 years hurrying them. Snapping at them. Yelling at them. Sighing at them. Telling them to be better. To fix their hair. To put on a clean shirt. As if that would show I am a good mother.
I know I have also spent 10 years loving them, protecting them, keeping them safe. But we all know the worst is always in the forefront and the good peeks out from behind, struggling to be heard.
I no longer want the good in me as a mother to be a shadow in the background of a million impatient sighs.
I want my children to grow up and raise their own children remembering their mother patiently waiting for them to zip up their coat, or tie their shoes. I want them to remember hugs when they were angry or sad. Not frustration that they couldn’t just get over it.
I want them to remember that disrespect will not be tolerated. Ever. Not to me, their father or their siblings. I want home to be a haven. A safe place to be.
I want them to feel love. Always.
And it breaks my heart to say it, but I don’t think that has been the case.
I have tried. But not hard enough.
I have let my frustrations with my personal life overtake my life as mother.
I have yelled at my children too many times when I am angry about something else.
I have seen that bewildered look on their faces too many times, wondering why mommy was mad.
And I’m done.
I’ve decided this school year will be different.
Better. Calmer. And since it has to start somewhere, that somewhere has to be me.
I will be better, calmer, quieter.
I will be more understanding. Less impatient.
And it’s working. It takes so much awareness. To remember not to snap. To remember to hug. To stamp down the flare of anger that tells me I have so much to do. To remember to say “I understand”.
And yet, even though I have found myself in a constant state of thinking and self awareness, which is truly exhausting, at the end of every day, I have found myself faced with the smiling sleepy faces of my children.
And I can listen to what they have to say, those sweet moments of whispers where they tell me things so important to them they forgot to mention at supper that they must tell me. And I am not angry. Or done. I can listen.
I’m not perfect. I yelled tonight over muddy boots on my carpet and two white lies. I yelled a lot.
But at the end of the day all I can strive for, when I tuck my children into bed, is to to be able to say to that I tried to love them more on that day and that I consciously tried not to break them down.
And I will continue to try.
Every. Single. Day.