Remember how you were recently stressing about a decision you made, wondering if it was the best thing for your child? Remember that guilt you felt because you wished you had done better than you think you did? Remember the chore that went undone because you were too busy helping your child with something else? If so, read on–you are not alone.
Take a deep breath. You don’t breathe enough. Give yourself some credit. You are doing the best you can. When you make mistakes, you are teaching your child that nobody’s perfect. Don’t feel guilty about your imperfections, just show your child what you are doing to make the most of them. The next time you look at someone else’s life and think you are doing it all wrong, remember that you are enough. You are the person your child needs. Don’t give up. Don’t believe the lie. You are enough. You are not perfect, but neither is she (yeah, you know the one you keep comparing yourself to…) or anybody else. The world is a beautiful, imperfect place.
Remember that you don’t have to look like someone else or do the things that someone else does. You are you for a reason. You were created and equipped specifically for your child. Your child is your child for very real reasons. Instead of listening to that negative voice that tells you falsehoods about how inadequate and inept you are, listen to that pure intuition deep in your soul that will direct you to be the very best mother you can be.
I recently came across a timely quote: “Children are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.” This sounds like it came from a recent news article, right? In fact, it is from Socrates! He said this over 2000 years ago! We will spend our entire lives trying to find the best ways to meet our children’s needs and to help shape them into happy, successful, well-adjusted adults, but in the meantime, we will often feel like failures. This is not unique to us. This is a universal, age-old truth.
In the 1600s, a man named John Wilmot wrote, “Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children and no theories.” Sound familiar? Sister, you are not alone.
Remember that friend who was seemingly bragging to you about her child and her recent accomplishments? She wasn’t trying to make you feel even more inadequate, she was just searching for some sort of validation. Being a mother is a lot like working as a top-secret spy: you often can’t talk about exactly what it is you do every day, and even if you could, nobody else would understand anyway. No one else can do your job quite the way you can. Keep working!
The next time you are feeling discouraged and believe yourself to be a complete failure (because we all do sometimes), focus on progress instead of perfection. None of us humans is perfect. Just keep moving forward. It may be centimeters, it may me miles, just keep going. Each day, each year, will bring different challenges and different opportunities. Focus on progress. If you fall backwards a little in one area, consider how you can adjust and move forward again. Imagine you are in a car, driving up a steep hill. If you put your car in neutral halfway up the hill, will it continue to go up? No! It will speed back down. Now you are back at the bottom, but you can still get over this steep hill if you will just stay in the car, keep it in drive and keep moving in the right direction. It may slow down at the steepest points, but you will get there if you keep inching forward.
We live in a society that seeks to shame and demean mothers. Many “experts” claim to have all the answers and if we try to follow our own intuition with our own children, we often feel judged and even condemned. Don’t let the ignorance of others desensitize you! You are powerful beyond measure and you are a light to your children. Let that power and light thrive within your home, regardless of the opinions of others. Make educated decisions for your family based on your family’s needs and your intuition and do not worry if your decision is not a duplicate of what it seems “everyone else” is doing. And, while you’re at it, cut those other mothers some slack, too, so they can do what is right for their families. Nobody wants to feel judged.
Whether you read this in the morning or at night, in January or October, know that you can start (or restart) NOW. You don’t have to wait and you are not too late. You are enough. You are not perfect, but you are enough. You can do your best and that best will be exactly what your child needs. Let your calming, deep breaths be the wind beneath your child’s wings. You can do this!
Your sister and friend
FREE Activity Book Printable!
Download and enjoy this FREE 12-page activity booklet! It is full of fun and educational activities for children including coloring pages, a word search, "Catch the Match" worksheet, a multiple-choice worksheet that can be used as a reading comprehension quiz, and even a set of cards for a concentration game or a game of "Go Fish!"