(This post originally appeared on HerKentucky.)
Mothering is one of those things I never know if I’m doing right. I often find myself saying, “I’ll do it better next time.”
Next year, I’ll send out the birthday invitations earlier.
Next month, I will make amazing colorful, healthy lunches for Lauren every day.
Next week, I’ll make a homemade dinner every night.
Tomorrow, I won’t lose my patience with Ella over something silly.
I find myself worrying about the most random little details. I want my girls to have this beautiful childhood filled with incredible memories, and I put a silly amount of pressure on myself to be some kind of Nick at Nite mom.
The reality is, I get so caught up in planning the decor and cake and presents for birthdays that I often forget to send out invitations at all. I have yet to make a single school lunch for Lauren. (My husband does it. Actually my goal should be to be a better mother than my husband is.) We’re lucky if we have 2-3 homemade dinners a week. As for losing my patience, well, Ella’s three years old.
My mom will sometimes talk about the regrets she has about things she did when my brother and I were younger. She can name all kinds of things that she wishes she could undo or do over, and she’ll describe them in great detail.
And you know what? I don’t remember a single one of them.
My mom is an amazing mother. She’s fiercely protective of her children, but she lets us fight our own battles. She challenges me to do my best, but never cripples me with her high expectations. She calls me out when I’m being a jerk, but she’s always my number one fan. She knows when I need her to hold me and when I need her to let me go.
Most of all, she lets me be who I am, even when I know it isn’t always easy. I’ve never felt like I had to do any certain thing to make my mother proud of me. She’s simply thrilled that I wake up and breathe every day. That means more to me than anything–to know that no matter what anyone else may think of me, my mom thinks I’m basically the best thing ever. It sounds silly, especially because I am well aware of my flaws, but knowing I’ve always got her in my corner is one of my greatest comforts.
Maybe that’s what I should strive for with Lauren and Ella. Instead of worrying so much about these picture-perfect details of a storybook childhood, my energy is better spent on making sure they’re becoming the people they’re supposed to be. I have no idea what they’ll become–right now Lauren wants to be a rock star and Ella wants to drive an ice cream truck–but I can help lay the groundwork to help them get there.
I have two very funny, smart, strong-willed girls. As long as I teach them to be confident, to appreciate what they have, to constantly look for things to be happy about, and to, quite simply, love others…what else matters? They’re not going to remember all these dumb things I consider failures, but they’ll remember how absolutely crazy I am about them. They’ll know I’ve got their backs no matter what, and that the sound of their voices is all I need to be happy.
My mom taught me that, but she’d never take credit for it.