As a young first-time mother of a medically complex child, I started a habit relatively early on, in which I would climb into bed at the end of a long day and reflect on all the ways I had missed the mark that day. I thought of the therapeutic exercises I didn’t complete, the books I didn’t read, the phone calls I didn’t make, the paperwork I didn’t fill out and all the various ways I had dropped the ball on my child’s care that day.
I suppose as this naturally became a nightly habit, a part of me assumed that I’d reach a point in parenthood, where I got it down better. I wouldn’t miss the mark as much. I wouldn’t drop the ball on quite as many things. I’d be older, wiser, more put together, and this nightly guilt session wouldn’t always happen.
Then I had more children and discovered that this only multiplied all the reasons I thought I had to beat myself up and reflect on my failures as a mother on a regular basis. Except now, there were too many to count and my nightly ritual was making my head want to explode and making me want to just give up on motherhood, because apparently, I could never get it right.
As mothers, we are SO hard on ourselves. No one loves our kids harder. No one judges our parenting harsher. As I settled into life as the mom of three kids, I desperately sought a way to find peace and give myself grace and so I developed a new nightly ritual.
I climb into bed, sometimes sure that I messed it all up, sometimes questioning my worthiness to be their mother, always exhausted, and as my mind goes into autopilot and starts to recount my shortcomings that day…I take a deep breath and say out loud to myself, “You are a good Mom. You did your best and it was enough.”
Did I make mistakes? Did I lose my patience? Did I maybe shed a tear? Did I raise my voice, when I tried so hard not to? Did I forget to call the doctor back, text my friend back, respond to any emails? The answer to all of the above is yes.
But did I love them more than anyone on this earth does? Did I kiss their cuts and scrapes and talk them through their problems? Did I cuddle with them through their tears and sometimes mine? Did I answer their 7,001 questions? Did I pray for them and guide them the best way I know how? Did they learn that mom is human and that she will always apologize and try to make it right when she blows it?
The answer is also yes. Sweet mama’s, no matter what today held…No matter how hard this year has been…No matter how long you may feel like the list of your shortcomings is at the moment…I know you kissed those babies goodnight and they felt your love and knew everything would be alright in their world, because they have you.
It’s time to allow yourself to feel the same love and peace that they feel, as your head hits the pillow tonight and every night. You are a good mom. You did your best and it WAS enough.