I joke about good enough mothering and chide my friends for feeling guilty for letting their kids watch too much PBS Kids (gasp) or play one too many learning games on the computer (the horrors).
- Do my kids know they’re loved, even when I’m mean and cranky?
- Do they know I care even when I’m distracted and scattered?
- Do they know I want them to be themselves and develop their own thinking and passions, even when I chide them for not following the rules?
- Do they know they’re wanted, even when I’m annoyed and irritated by their whining?
The answer is: I don’t know…
Understanding that I am sure to inflict some emotional wounds is hard to fully take in. So I feel guilty ahead of time, even before I know what precise wounds I’m inflicting.
The good enough mothering bit is good for gaining some perspective and there are many skilled mommy bloggers who use humor and sarcasm to discuss the difficulties and challenges of being a mom.
And I’m adding, for the record, that it is at times heart-wrenching to be with the reality of my imperfections as a mother. Hard to be with the overwhelming desire (and impossible task) to protect and shelter them while exposing them to every opportunity available. I want so badly for them to be happy– the problem is knowing when saying no, or a consequence, or a disappointment is going to lead to their long term potential for happiness.
So while I’ll probably continue to joke, make fun of myself, or dispense advice, there is a part of me that is right there with everyone else feeling guilty about being, well, just too imperfect.
The wise part of me knows that being in touch this vulnerability, tenderness, and confusion is precisely what will allow authentic relationships with my children to develop. Noticing and being honest about these feelings helps loosens the guilt’s grip on my attention. Admitting that motherhood is sometimes difficult allows me more space and freedom to act from a place of kindness– kindness for me and for them.
**Big hugs and thanks to my friend Jen M. for inspiring this post.