Tell me I’m not alone in wondering that.
Tell me I’m not the only one who stands in the bathroom and looks in the mirror with tears in her eyes and has that moment of doubt and wonder and worry.
I just want to be a good mom.
Not a perfect mom.
Just a good mom.
That’s what I want my kids to remember.
I want them to remember a mom that smiled and tried and gave and made mistakes and apologized for those mistakes (again and again) and just loved loved loved them.
But somedays I worry. Make that most days I worry. I worry that I’m not spending enough time with them or am reading enough to them or that I did enough math facts or spelling words. I worry that they’ll grow up looking at me and being upset with me and angry at me for not doing this or that or making hard choices. I worry that because I snapped at them when they wouldn’t go to bed that that is what they’ll remember. I just plain and simply worry.
And that makes those moments when I type in Facebook Messenger the words I’m a good mom, right? even more tender and real and just a picture of us moms all trying.
I shared a post on my Facebook wall (link) of this really awesome and cool mom who let her toddler pick her clothes out for a week and instantly I thought I lost that moment. Yes, yes, my first thoughts, humbly, were of looking at me and what I’ve done and being a bit hard on myself. But, but, but, as I scrolled through the beautiful pictures I realized that so many of you could have that moment if I shared the joys and victories that we as a collective motherhood unit have instead of looking at them like a scoreboard where all too often my score reads in my own mind under ten.
Yes, that moms.
Being a good mom doesn’t mean needing to do everything that everyone else does.
You see even though I didn’t let my toddlers choose my clothes when they were little I did other things. We had ice cream sundaes and dress up parties and I made them the coolest Halloween costumes out of scraps in the house and I stayed up and taught them how to count and how to write their names.
Those things matter.
In fact, I bet if you looked back at your days you’ll have those moments tucked in there.
Those are the good mom things that sometimes I forget when I type and worry and drive in my car up to drop my boys off at choir practice and all the wanting to be a good mom tears to fall. I just don’t want to mess up. I just want to make the right choices for them. I don’t want to worry all the time that this choice will mess them up here or they won’t forget it or they’ll be adults who want nothing to do with me the person that carried them in her belly for nine months and screamed in pain to deliver them and stayed up without sleep and burped them and changed their diapers and helped them walk and cleaned up vomit and tucked them in and on and on and on.
The truth is that I cannot control that.
You cannot either.
They are independent wonderful drive you crazy individual humans.
So we do our best.
We are good moms.
Not perfect moms that never fall and have moments of doubts or worry.
We are good moms.
A good mom is a beautiful, rewarding, unbelievably awesome thing to be. A good mom burns the grill cheese and scrapes the burnt part off in the garbage and chooses the worst piece for herself and says it’s not that bad as she dips it in tomato soup.
A good mom makes choices her kids don’t understand or says in a minute because she’s working but not working means that there is no milk in the fridge and no new shoes on their feet.
A good mom wants to be a good mom.
That’s what makes that wonder beautiful in a way. You see, you right now – you wondering if you’re a good mom or if you’re doing enough or if you’re making a difference – are right now in the midst of the journey to be mom. My grandmother, when she was alive, never talked to me about how she wished she was a good mom.
She was simply mom.
And she knew in those years that the loving, trying, crying, laughing, giving, going, and all of it mattered. She saw it in hindsight. And before she died, when I just had that one sweet colicky baby of mine and I was floundering around worrying about motherhood and just wanting to do it right she told me this.
I am proud of you.
Not words about what I needed to do more. Or that I shouldn’t be using those disposable diapers. Or that I wasn’t using the right sleeping pattern. Or that I just picked the pacifier up and put it back in Hannah’s mouth after wiping it off. No no no… she was simply proud. Because she saw how I, once the little girl who used to sit in her lap and laugh and play piano, was now a woman, unsure of her own role in this crazy thing of mothering, was simply trying.
And loving. Yes, loving that creature that someday would call me mom instead of simply crying and me trying to figure out if she was hungry or gassy or tired or just simply a baby.
So today, today, sweet mom reading these words who has uttered the same words as me listen. Like really listen. Not the kind of listen that we do to our kids and then worry if that will make us not good moms because we’re doing the uh that’s nice kind of listen. I’m talking about taking a breath and reading these words of truth.
You are a good mom.
And I’m proud of all you do.
ps. and don’t worry. I think almost all of us moms have at one point or another done the uh-huh kind of mothering listen and let me tell you they turn out fine.
pss. pictures are courtesy of my daughter Hannah who once was that colicky baby but who turned out awesome.