“I love you more than all the numbers.”
That was the response from my adorable four-year-old son, with his oversized cheeks, when I asked him how much he loved Mommy.
You see, I am not a woman beneath fishing for a compliment or seeking out words of adoration from others, specifically my children.
In fact, I can be so freakin’ hard on myself that without kind verbiage from others (especially family members) aimed in my direction, I might succumb to the negative self-talk that is my current mom soundtrack.
As a parent, I get tired; not so much physically, though it does happen on occasion, but emotionally, I get completely worn the fudge out.
From middle-of-the-night coughing fits to child nightmares, to requests for milk, to #allthethings and thoughts swirling around in my head, I wake up each day already feeling a bit out of gas, which is not good. The last thing you want during the morning rush that is every day with three children, who must arrive at school on time, is to get everyone loaded in the van and realize there is no gas to get you going.
Not every morning is like this, in fact, some mornings the best of us wakeup feeling invigorated and replenished. Then, sometime mid-morning or mid-afternoon or post-dinnertime, but before bedtime, we come to a halt because we have finally used up all of our go-juice.
When this happens, it is effortless to turn to a Red Bull, coffee, snacks or — depending upon the time of day and the level of your appreciation for alcohol — even wine to give you that “pickup” you need.
Lately though, me, well, I’ve been turning to something different, and it doesn’t come in a bottle (though I sure wish I could bottle it up) and you don’t buy it at the store (though it would be nice to be able to pick it up on demand or Amazon prime it whenever needed).
What are we talking about here?
Encouragement from our children.
Yep, all one needs is a few mispronounced, under-enunciated words, spoken directly from the heart of a child to fill one’s bucket and energy tank so darn full it might explode.
That is what happened to me with my son and his unplanned innocent compassion towards me when I most desired it.
One problem I see that exists is there are far too many moms (and dads) unwilling to track down and ask for the gracious reminders that we are doing a good job, and that all of our work is appreciated and not going unnoticed.
Don’t be above requesting “thanks” for all that you do.
Don’t be too proud to solicit an endorsement you will find motivating.
Wanting to hear thoughtful and honest sentiments from those we care for is not a version of martyrdom. In fact, I hold the contention that opening up yourself to and asking for positive affirmations from those who are outside of yourself is a form of self-care.
Are you making sure that you are cared for today?
Are you making a point to engage with those who will fill your tank?
One day, yes, it would be ideal if the only person I need to fill my bucket is me; but at present, the reality is that softheartedness from my children is what I need — and if motherhood has taught me anything, it is to have a voice and to use it.
The voices of the three youngest people in my home are the voices that fulfill me, and for that reason I will make darn sure I continue to hear them, even when they must be prompted to speak.