There have been MANY nights I felt like I earned the title of “Worst Mom in the World.” Many times I cried myself to sleep.
I’ve been FAR FROM PERFECT, trust me. I’ve been a HOT MESS!
You see, I got married young and had two kids by 23! I’m just lucky they were GIRLS! At least I knew one thing…how to BE a girl! I started out fresh…young and alive…all BUBBLES and BROWNIES and SUNSHINE! But then…just a couple years later, when I was 25, I hit hard times…the worst years of my life.
For me, it lasted three years. And the scars, well, they lasted even longer than that. I’ll never forget the first time I screamed at my kids. I screamed so loud I scared myself. I remember the look in my daughter’s eyes. I remember the guilt I felt for a long time afterwards.
Isn’t that the way motherhood is sometimes? Always feeling guilty…feeling guilty over every bad day…over every mistake!
But, we DO snap sometimes. We snap under the pressure. We snap from the noise. We snap because we have a lot on our minds. We snap because we’re working from home now with a house full of “home-schoolers.” (Thank you, Coronavirus.) Well, whatever the reason…we just SNAP…and sometimes even EXPLODE!! BOOM!!
I used to teach my daughters about “pushing each other’s buttons.” I taught them the importance of “reading the room”…even at a young age. I taught them to listen with their eyes, ears, and heart–just like my mama taught ME. I taught them to read each other’s faces…to SEE what the other person was saying with THEIR EYES…their EXPRESSIONS…their body language…not just their WORDS. I knew the importance of empathy…FEELING someone else’s pain…putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. After all…that’s really the only way you can get to know someone…get to LOVE someone…you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes. You’ve got to know them well enough to know what they’re saying when they AREN’T talking! You’ve got to know what they’re saying when their WALK is doing the talking.
My daughters must have always been good at this…naturally. They’ve been good friends to me since the day they were born. I’ll never forget when I was pregnant with my second child, my oldest daughter was just 1 year old. She was a good friend–ALREADY! I was one of those moms that had the WORST morning sickness in the world–the kind where you throw up 9-13 times a day–for the WHOLE pregnancy!
I’ll never forget running to the bathroom to throw up one time…one of the MILLION times. My baby girl came running in right behind me. As I sat there on the floor, sick as a dog, I could hear the pitter patter of her feet sprinting towards me. My first thought was “I scared her” by my running out of the room so fast. “Here she comes for emotional support!” I tried to pull myself together enough to reach out one arm to give her a hug while the other arm was still holding onto the toilet seat. But then, she caught me off guard!
You see, I thought she was coming to GET support…but NO, I was WRONG! She was there to GIVE support–at only 1 year old! She grabbed my hair with her teeny little hands the BEST SHE COULD and tried to pull it back so it wouldn’t get “dirty” in all the mess.
I think THAT was the day I FELL IN LOVE with my daughter…a little bit deeper at least! You know, I ALWAYS loved her! I mean, what’s NOT to love when they’re those adorable bundles of toddler energy…all smiles and giggles and adorable baby words! Yes, I ALWAYS LOVED HER, but this was the first time SHE LOVED ME BACK!
Yep, that was the day I fell in love with the REAL HER–my Kayla! I saw her empathy, her compassion, her kindness, her quick response to help. I fell in love with a side of her I’d never had the chance to see before.
I feel lucky now that I threw up that day…that moment. Because, it was in THAT illness that I watched Kayla love me through the pain. I saw her put her needs aside for someone she loved.
You know something funny? She’s been like that ever since! She will always come running for a friend or a loved one in need. She NEVER backs down from a fight. She’ll always be there to pull your hair back out of your face when you’re “puking in the toilet.” She’s THAT kind of friend.
So to me…I’m not just “the worst mom in the world”–I’m the “LUCKIEST ONE” too. Lucky to BE a mom…HER mom! Lucky to see MYSELF in her sometimes…both the good AND the bad. Lucky to learn from HER! Lucky to run swiftly to HER side when she needs me most. You see, I make mistakes sometimes…like everybody else, I guess. I feel inadequate sometimes…A LOT OF TIMES! VERY inadequate and even unprepared.
But there’s one thing I ALWAYS do…each and every day…each and every minute of the day…I keep SHOWING UP!
I call it “Showing Up to the Parenting Party.” I just show up and bring everything I am…everything I have…every verse I know…every song I can sing. I bring it ALL to the parenting party…even the hot mess…and BOY, do we have FUN!
I love you all! -Rachel
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