I’ve read so many articles over the last few years where mothers beat themselves up for their ‘failures’ of . If they aren’t outright condemning past mistakes they may be taking a perceived fault and looking at the silver lining.
I mean, I make and wish I had done things differently sometimes, too—of course. And I know I can look at how things turned out in the end and realize that mostly everything worked out fine for me and my children.
But instead of just focusing on when things go wrong or when I feel less than perfect, I wondered, are their any parenting wins I can celebrate? Is there anything I can pat myself on the back for?
The most amazing thing happened.
When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I’m doing quite a few things well—even the simplest things felt really good when I looked at them with this perspective.
1. Chatting with my baby
. From the moment they entered the world. I wasn’t one of those moms that talked to them in utero (not that there's anything wrong with that.) But once I formally met my infants, we quickly developed a bond.
I don’t think it was because they sensed I was their mother, but because we worked on creating that bond together. I even did introductions and a firm handshake (though, not too firm because #babyhands.)
I felt that, if they were going to sit there and stare at me expectantly day in and day out, I should let them know what they were in for. I talked about how I was feeling. I talked about the people they were going to meet. I talked about colors. When we were in the car I talked about the cows.
Here is where I have to tell you how I got extra credit. In the car I sang to them and chatted constantly. I was hyper aware of them being in the car with me because I was telling them about the jogger that was coming along on their left. I pretended I was giving a Hollywood tour some mornings, letting them know I had heard rumors that the Bubble Guppies lived in the pond on the right, and that Elmo was known to frequent the bar on the left. ?
2. Asking for help when I needed it
After I had my babies. I had, what I would describe as, a euphoric feeling for at least 36 hours where I was a mother goddess who was at peace with everything around me. I felt like I probably needed a toga and maybe a white horse to ride around while carrying my baby. (Luckily the sheets were tightly tucked in on the corners or visiting hours at the hospital would have gotten very awkward. ?)
After the 36 hours, though, reality hit really hard. With my first baby, it hit me in the form of tears. . I cried because I was so happy. I cried because the baby was seeing me cry and I was very afraid of her seeing me cry. (Because all I could think of is her sitting in a chair at a therapist's office in twenty years talking about how it was her fault that her mom cried all the time!) I cried because I felt like I was failing. I cried because I wanted so much to feel like that mother goddess again, but it was gone. So I asked for help.
I went to the doctor and I told them that I was not doing well. I quickly . At the time, I didn’t like that I needed the help, but boy did it make a difference once I admitted it and received it. (My daughter probably still will need therapy, but for totally different things. ?)
3. I teach and model good manners
We use manners with each other, while out in public, and even while we play. I have found it to be super helpful to incorporate manners into play specifically, because it gives us the perfect opportunity for me to model respect, kindness and manners and she can practice in a safe space.
I mean, some may say that when my daughter was telling me to be the mom witch and she was being my baby witch that we didn’t need to say please and thank you. But you know what I say about that? I don’t care if we are talking about giving the baby witch giant eyeball soup. She can say “Mama witch, may I please have giant eyeball soup with a side of worms?”
I think it’s important for us to stop and reflect on what we’re doing right in a world that loves to focus on what we’re doing wrong or where we’re failing or how we’re not perfect.
Because what we may find, is that we actually are kind of perfect in our own little ways.
So, mama? I hope you find your list long, and your heart full. Because, you’ve got this.