It started with a Facebook post by one of my friends. I had just gotten started at work when I decided to quickly check my Facebook account. I noticed a video with a title saying " What made this strong mother cry". My friend had shared the video with a note saying "all my mom friends need to watch this". I decided to tune in to see what it could be. It started as interviews of several different moms asking them what they wished they did better as moms. A lot of the answers mentioned having more patience or spending more time with their children. It tapped in to every insecurity and regret that I have about being a mom. It felt like each one of them could have been me.
Once they had interviewed a handful of moms they then started to interview their children. The question posed to the kids was something along the lines of "What do you love the most about your mom?" The answers were astounding. The children saw none of the shortcomings or flaws that their own moms thought were so glaring. They didn't feel unloved or uncared for. They simply loved their mothers for the beautiful human beings that they were. Well by this point I was starting to tear up a little bit (pregnancy hormones not helping at all at this point).
Then, to top it all off they brought the moms back in and showed them the videos of what their own children had said about them. At this point all the moms were melting into puddles of tears and I was uncontrollably sobbing. My mascara was running down my face and I could barely breathe. It took about 15 minutes for me to regain my composure. I tried to salvage what I could of my makeup and was able to finally focus and get back to work. (Duly noted that I will have to be more careful with what I watch on FB from now on.)
I couldn't stop thinking about the video though. I kept thinking about how hard we are on ourselves always striving to be the perfect moms and how we can never reach our own standards. It's sad that we place these unreachable expectations on ourselves and constantly live our lives feeling like we have failed in one way or another. I wondered if my children could see what a failure I was or if they just saw me as their beautiful, loving mother.
So the next morning on the way to school I decided to chance it and see what RJ really thought about me and my parenting skills.
"Baby, why do you love Mommy?" I bravely asked.
She thought for a moment while she formulated an answer. (I held my breath wondering what she would say.)
"Well," she said. "You do so many things for me."
My heart swelled. My mind raced. She noticed! All these thankless tasks, all my heart and soul poured into everything I do for her.....she really did appreciate me!!!
As my eyes welled up with tears I pushed it farther.
"Like what kind of things do I do?"
"You take me places and make me things like dinner." She paused for a moment.
A single tear began to trickle down my face as I began to embrace my success.
"Sometimes you really need to calm down and just do what I say.....that would be better."
And in a flash my moment was gone and I began to laugh at the absurdity.
I realized that one lost temper or missed soccer game isn't enough to scar my children. They don't think twice about the things that I obsess over (lose sleep over even). They know that Mommy loves them and cares for them and does her best. They've never even questioned it. So why do I torment myself over every harsh word, every perceived failure? We are all so hard on ourselves- the condition of being a woman I guess. But maybe just maybe I can remember this moment and put it all back into perspective.
They get it. Why can't we?