Today I saw this image on a friend’s facebook page and I said (out loud to myself) “Amen!”
I had to share it to make sure I wasn’t alone. Was I the only mom wondering how badly I’m flunking at motherhood… if I’m causing lifelong damage to my children’s potential… and if the kids can move past my weaknesses to embrace their strengths.
As I saw the names of who responded I was surprised. Each woman’s name I saw I thought “but she’s an amazing mother!” And the respondents weren’t just the exhausted sleep deprived mothers of wee ones… but it ranged from both the newest of moms to mothers of mothers.
And as the likes on the image grew in number – my heart sank further and further.
At first I simply wanted to know I wasn’t alone and to be reassured others “got” me. But now I felt something else. I felt a compassion and a strong urge to say to the moms I know – and the moms of the world! – a message of love and encouragement. The fact that we are wanting more of ourselves as mothers, and to improve our parenting skills – shows the heart of a mother who is doing a good job. A mother who is not okay with okay – but wants to do great. To invest in the lives in her care in a real and meaningful way.
Motherhood is funny. There is no way to measure how you are doing. It is not like you can check off on a Mother 101 list that you’ve done everything right and are now a success. We go through motherhood – which is a position we hold from the time of meeting the little one until we say our final goodbye – wondering how we are doing. If we could (and should) be doing more. Doing less. Doing things different. Doing things the same. Questioning. Questioning. Questioning.
I remember reading an interview years ago with Gwyneth Paltrow. I can’t find the quote now but the idea of it was “no one prepared me for the guilt I’d feel as a mother.” We are warned about how much our hearts would explode with love for this little tiny being – but we are not prepared for the constant battle in our minds for the rest of our lives on if we are doing our job as mother as best as we can.
And as I read the responses I felt the need to rush out and hug each of these women. To encourage them. To tell them all the million and one ways I see that they are mothering right.
And so I wonder what would happen if we all did that… if we took time to tell the moms in our lives “you’re doing a great job.” And share real examples of what we love about how they parent. “I love how you are so patient with your kids.” “You have done an excellent job of teaching your kids manners.” “I love being around your kids – you have done a great job with raising them.” Send a card. An email. A smoke signal.
Us moms… we are in this together. Thinking that we are screwing up our kids. We need to also band together and support each other. Be each other’s cheerleaders.
So it seemed fitting that as I went back to Facebook I saw another friend post this amazing blog post of 20 affirmations for moms. Encouraging words that reminded me of my purpose and encouraged me – a gift when I was feeling discouraged. I would love for you to go read these affirmations – ones that resonated with me were:
“If I do nothing today besides hug my kids, then I’ve done enough.”
“Today I will be the type of person I would like my children to become.”
Take time to encourage a mom today!