(I wrote this ten days ago in the middle of a 21 day business trip. 21 days. And then my computer broke and it’s taken me forever to get it published – in fact, I’m struggling with a broken macbook and trying to get this up even now – so have mercy on the errors. But, I’m publishing it now without the polish because it’s important for us to read. For real. It’s critical, because sometimes we grade ourselves with a failing grade and forget that we’re really doing our best.)
I don’t like critics.
I don’t know if I’m supposed to admit that or just talk about that elephant in the room. But, honestly, I’m going to just simply write it. I think that us moms get really uptight and tense and afraid to share our hearts because we are deeply fearful of being criticized for where we are in our motherhood journey. Or life journey. Or we worry that our grade as moms is a big fat F compared to what we think everyone else’s grades and gold stars.
I’m in New Zealand.
I’ve been away from my kids for ten days now – and I have ten more days to go until I can wrap them in my arms and kiss their heads and tell them how much I love them. And it is hard. Like super hard I miss them almost every single second and it fills my eyes with tears hard. That pic above? That’s me being strong sitting in the back of a car going to speak while my kids are on the other side of the world.
I’m here because of work. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I get to do – I love speaking and traveling and know that my job is such an amazing amazing gift – but sometimes it’s just so hard because it feels like I’m not being a good mom. Did you hear that? Not being a good mom.
Because somehow in the category of what it means to be a good mom I’ve established that I’m not doing it. I decided that being a good mom means a certain thing and me being on the other side of the globe on the bottom was never in my picture of good mom normals. In fact, as I sit here in windy windy Wellington tears have filled my eyes as I’m writing this to you all.
I think so many of us want to be amazing moms but then life gets in the way. Or that is what we think – that life is in the way of success and what we wanted to be as moms. We wanted a certain thing and then life just kind of rolls in and then it becomes real life. I can’t think of too many moms who live the life that they thought it would be.
Life just kind of happens.
It gets in the way, I suppose.
And then we find ourselves being the single mom or the mom with kids that are sick or having a hard time having kids or having the bonus kids or having to work or having a partner who travels or whatever and we start to question ourselves as moms.
Am I doing enough?
Are my kids going to be okay?
Am I a good mom?
Those are the thoughts that roll through my mind late at night when my weary weary head hits the pillow. I never thought I’d be the mom that says goodbye love you so much and then flies on the plane around the world.
But you know what? Listen…listen….listen.
I love my kids.
My word. I love them.
More than you can imagine.
And that’s why I do what I have to do. Because of them. And me, but them. I give of my time for them. I wake up in the middle of the night because of them. I just simply love them.
And that’s all of you too.
You love your kids.
And sometimes love doesn’t look like a Pinterest board full of perfect crafts and cool birthday parties. Sometimes love doesn’t look like what we hoped for but rather looks like us waking at 4am and going to work. It looks like us calculating a budget and trying so hard and giving when we are absolutely exhausted. Sometimes love means sitting in a PTA meeting and fighting for what is right. Sometimes love means making the really really hard choices and being brave and doing things that we didn’t ever expect to become our life but we do it because we believe in what is right and we love those kids.
Man. If I could I just want to tell each of you to stop criticizing what you’re doing as a mom and to take a moment to breathe in and to simply exhale and know that you are doing your best.
Don’t put a just in front of you. Or your best. Or your life.
You wouldn’t do all of that if you didn’t care. You just wouldn’t. You’d roll over, tuck those covers over that exhausted head and you would simply quit. But you don’t. You don’t decide that you’re not doing. You just keep going and going and going and somehow you need to remember that GOING IS LOVING YOUR KIDS.
It’s loving your kids.
Maybe I needed to write this tonight while I sit at a glass table in the hills of Wellington while I sip wine and chatter is around and tears well my eyes because I miss those kids so much because I needed to remind myself how much loving my kids doesn’t look like what I thought it would.
It’s not about being the perfect mom.
It’s about doing what we need to do for them.
So sweet mom – that’s what I just want you to know. I just want you to drop the worries and crazies and expectations smacked on yourself and I want you to stand up, breathe deep and to be proud.
You are loving your kids.
That’s what you’re doing.
Pinterest doesn’t grade moms. Birthday parties don’t grade moms. Facebook doesn’t grade. perfect days don’t grade. Working or not working doesn’t grade. Other moms don’t grade.
Our kids don’t care about that.
They just need you.