I’ve been a mother for twenty-four years and in those years, never have I been awarded a degree of expertise, or a medal of honor, or anything like that, and rightfully so. It seems that even after all this time, I still have no idea what I’m doing. As I have stated over and over again here on A Musing Mother – I am not an expert.
While I know that my children are three of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing, I don’t always treat them that way. Often, I’m more of the ScaryMommy variety and while it seems funny in a meme, it doesn’t feel good when I say and do things that make my children feel bad.
I try to be gentle and kind.
I really do.
I think we all do, right? I mean while there are hideous abusers out there, most parents are really striving to do right by their children. We’re all trying to make our words and faces kind, even when we want to pull our hair out. We want to instill in our children confidence and autonomy. We want them to know that we don’t just love them, but we genuinely like them as well.
And I can say with absolute honesty that I really like my kids. They’re freaking cool. What can I say?
Well, recently, my daughter and I were having a time when it was like we were both rubbing each other the wrong way. I was short tempered and she seemed to be fully loaded with incessant demands and orneriness. To put it mildly, we weren’t jiving.
I went to bed each night and prayed, “Please let my words be kind tomorrow. My daughter is the sweetest thing. Help me to focus on all that is wonderful about her.” I knew I was responsible for the situation, not her. She’s six and a half. I’m the adult. I’m the one who needed to get things straight, if they were ever going to straighten out, but I’ll be damned if every day, by 4 pm, I’d be the biggest grouch you ever saw and who was around to witness that? My little daughter.
The result of this was a picture and note she gave to me.
Before she handed it to me, she said, “Don’t be sad.”
As you can imagine, this picture hit me right in the gut. Literally taking my breath and we both sank to the floor, in tears. I told her, “I’m so sorry that I make you feel this way sometimes. I love you more than words can say. More than myself, more than my own breath,” and I held her in my arms as she sat in my lap, and we cried together.
After a few moments, I looked her in the eye and said, “Thank you for writing that note to me. That was so brave of you. I hope you will always feel comfortable telling me how you feel, even if you think it might hurt my feelings. I know I have been grouchy and I’m really sorry for that, but I will always love you, no matter what, and I’ll do better.”
After that, it was as if a weight was lifted and we have been fine ever since.
I carry this note with me as a reminder to be gentle, even when I’m feeling very frustrated, or irritable. Words are powerful, as are eye rolls, and heavy sighs. Children pay as much attention to our body language as they do our words and actions.
I knew this.
I know this even more now and I’m thankful for my brave little daughter for sending me such a powerful message. I’m sharing it here in hopes that maybe it will help another mama who is struggling in the same way.
Hang in there. Take a step back, breathe, and remember what really matters in this life. They are only little for a blink….a blink.