Let me start by saying: I am an awesome mom.
In our culture and in this blogosphere, we spend too much time criticizing others, ourselves, parenting philosophies, our very own children.
And I’m just here to say that I’m doing right by you.
I mentioned recently how well behaved you are; not just relatively, but truly.
You play well together and show each other the concern, compassion, respect, and understanding that I’ve encouraged.
I have a four year old with better emotional maturity and vocabulary than I have. She can tell me when I hurt her feelings. She can tell me how she feels, why she’s crying, that she doesn’t want to cry, to feel the way she’s feeling. That is more than most adults are capable of.
And I have a two year old who has never wavered in expressing her feelings; who feels so intensely that every day is a roller coaster ride. Sure, she laughs manically when, suddenly, cuddling with her turns into a bout of jiu jitsu and you tell her, “no, don’t kick me in the face” and yet the kicking continues. So there is that. But, she is in other terms: passionate, expressive and honest. She is quick to offer remorse. And slightly-less-quick to forgive, but forgiving nonetheless.
I give you both the space to feel; to use your unique voices; I affirm who you are as individuals and as a part of our family.
And I’d like to take credit for all of that. I could have done worse. And I do from time to time.
I still have trouble with intervening too soon when you are working on puzzles. And there’s that whole Danjo not hearing the word “no” in relation to physical boundaries thing. But, hey, we’re not perfect; we’re works in progress.
So, to recap: I’m this amazing parent.
I am patient. So so so patient and present. Encouraging, comforting, creative. I am silly and fun. I am serious and thoughtful. I am cuddly and smell like only a mommy can smell as you bury your faces and sorrows in my arms. I am respectful and you respect me. I have answers and, yet, no answers. I am mean, firm, fair and unfair. I braid your hair; I let it be. I tie your shoes when you want me to; I wait patiently when you don’t. I nourish your bodies, your minds, and your spirits. Sometimes I feed you Goldfish for breakfast and spoil you with surprises.
I spend a lot of time and effort being your mommy. I can’t recall what I ever did with my days and energy before there was you.
Alas, I’m so busy parenting, making organic push pops from scratch, getting kicked in the face while cuddling and engaging in various other activities, that I too often and too long ignore myself.
I know this sounds so cheeze-ball-psycho-babble, but I'm saying it anyway:
I ignore the little girl inside of me, the child; the person so deserving of kindness, nurture and love. She gets scraps, the leftovers. Some days, she gets nothing. And some days she gets the garbage, earfuls of criticism, judgment, defeat.
Why would I treat my daughters one way? With the kindness, nurture and love they deserve? And deprive myself?
What lesson am I teaching my daughters? When we talk about self-care, about taking time outs when we need them, about our amazing capacity to cry aloud, about discovering what we love, about saying N-O to what we do not need? What lesson do I teach you? When we talk about these things, but you don’t see me doing them? When I don’t live by my words?
I ought to truly, visibly and routinely mother myself the way that I mother you. I think amazing things would unfold in my life, much the way they do in your lives every day, every moment, every skinned-knee, every climbed tree, every new word, every new plan, every block tower toppled, every masterpiece created, every sparkle in your eye, every rise of your voice, every laugh, every tear, every eyelid shut at day’s end.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if my eyes sparkled? If I squealed in delight? Or if I could be so vulnerable, could allow my sorrow to be transformed by a vigorous embrace?
I am an awesome mommy.
And I will work on becoming an awesome mother to the little Lauren inside. I will listen. I will encourage. I will praise. I will be kind and forgiving with myself. I will provide her opportunities for fun, for rest, for nourishment, for growth. I will let her cry. I will let her laugh. I will let her make mistakes. And be there for her when she does. I will love her unconditionally.
No matter what. Right, Dearest Daughters?
I love you no matter what,