When Mother’s Day comes around I think about and appreciate all of the women in my life. I think about my love for my own mom of course, and how I am eternally grateful for all of the sacrifices she had to make so I could become the woman I am today. I am thankful to have an amazing aunt who treats me like her own daughter, and am grateful I have such a wonderful mother-in-law. I send messages to my friends to tell them how much I love them and what great mothers I think they are. There is only one person missing. One person who I’ve always struggled to give the love and respect she deserves. It’s me.
I have certainly made progress in my journey of self-love and acceptance. I am finding my own voice and discovering confidences I did not have years ago. Yet, when it comes to parenting I find it hard to forgive myself. I see every major and minor mistake not only as evidence of being a bad mom, but also as a marker of who my children will grow up to be. I’m convinced that every time I lose my cool or disappoint them that I should just declare the college fund their therapy fund. I can’t seem to accept that being a mother, as with all things in life, is a never-ending learning process. A journey filled with ups and downs, one that requires persistence and not perfection.
This Mother’s Day it’s time for a change. Time to finally realize that I don’t know anyone in my life who would be so unforgiving and talk to me as unkindly as I talk to myself. It’s time I wrote a love letter to myself.
As awkward as this may feel to be doing, I need you to know here and now that you are a good mom. I promise that your flaws will not destroy your children. It’s o.k. to feel vulnerable and scared, it does not define who you are. All of your insecurities and fears don’t make you weak, they make you a perfectly normal parent. Trust me mama, you are brave.
Your kids will make mistakes and at times they will use bad judgement. As hard as it is to admit, they won’t always be happy. This is not a reflection of you or your parenting, this is a normal part of growing up. Your job is not to make sure their life is always fair, it is only to help them deal with disappointments and struggles. Stay strong mama, they will make it through.
Be kind to yourself and remember that tomorrow is another day. It is not a new day to judge yourself harshly. It is another day to respect the journey and to embrace the imperfect road ahead. Don’t forget mama, as the Indigo Girls once said, “It’s only life after all.”