Recently while at work, I met a mother and daughter sharing laughs over a few glasses of wine. The daughter was about my age, and the mother looked like she could be an older sister (bless her!) Seeing them together laughing and talking and enjoying the music put a smile on my face. Towards the end of the night, when the band finished and while we were starting to clean up, the mother overheard a younger girl crying because she ran into her ex. So as mothers do, she went over to her and gave her a hug and told her it would be OK, and explained to her how young she is and how this too shall pass. Again, it put a smile on my face witnessing this stranger step into this girls life who needed a mothers hug that very moment. The best part, she let her sob in her arms until she was done.
Fast forward to when the bar emptied out, and another round for the mother/daughter duo was poured, I needed a break so I took a seat and started talking to them. We got to talking how I’m due with Baby number 2 in June and how I was very anxious and overwhelmed with the thought of raising two kids under 2. She told me to believe in my self and told me I’ll figure it out as I go. (Now everyone and their mom can tell me that I’ll be OK and I’ll do great, that I’m a wonderful mom etc. but that still doesn’t take away my anxiety and worries over it). Anyways, The mother told me how she is a single mom of 3 and raised her daughters all by her self while going to school and providing for them. She went on explaining how motherhood is by far the hardest job she has ever done (still till this day, and her oldest is almost 40). 40 years of mothering, 40 years of worrying, 40 years of doing it alone, 40 years of making sure her girls had everything and more. For 40 years she’s had ups and downs, blamed her self for way too many things, worried she wasn’t doing a good enough job, worried she was failing as a mother, and worried that her kids would remember all the times she lost her patience and yelled.
She said “If I could offer you any advice as a newly mother it would be this: “As a mother, you need to learn how to FORGIVE YOURSELF, you’re going to mess up, you’re going to compare yourself to other mothers, you’re going to cry and you’re going to say what the heck did I do or what the heck am I doing; how do I do that or how did this happen or most likely how did I get here and now what. And all of that is OK as long as you forgive yourself. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to screw a few things up here and there but you’re only human. Learn from yesterday and start fresh today. You may not be a perfect person but to them you are the perfect mom so forgive yourself.”
As I’m writing this, I’m getting emotional because its so true. Not just in motherhood, in life itself. How many times do we blame our selves for something we did or didn’t do, how often do we question our capabilities or our potential to do something and to do it well. As a mom, no matter how old our kids are; how often do we lose our patience or have mom guilt or simply question our mothering skills or lack there of. Do I hug my kids enough and tell them I love them, is s/he going to remember me yelling at them for not letting me change their diaper, did I cause them pain etc.. etc.. the list goes ON AND ON.
So as the mother told me; now I’m telling you, forgive your self because you are doing one hell of a job at this thing called life; and you mamas you are some bad ass moms! At the end of each day, let go of what you can not change, learn from the day, take a deep breath, tell your self how amazing you are doing and wake up in the morning ready to take on the new day. Learn from your mistakes, let it go, and forgive yourself.
Before I end this post, when you’re done reading this; go call your mother, or send her a quick text telling her how much she means to you or a simple I love you would suffice. Because although we happen to be mothers with very young children, she once was in our shoes feeling all of the emotions and doubts we feel, and they’ll continue to do so because simply; they are our moms.
So to my mom; especially today on your birthday; Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am the mother I am because of you. You did an amazing job and if I turn out half as good of a mother as your are; I’d be OK with that!
As always, thanks for reading!