I was president of my mom’s group a few years ago. Every month, our newsletter included a President’s Greeting. It was usually a cheery preview of the month’s upcoming activities. Since I’m not very good at cheery previews, I used the space to write my own personal thoughts on motherhood. I am including these on my blog for my children to read one day.
June 2006: Who do you compare yourself to? And don’t deny it – I know you do this. I’ve spoken to some of you about it! I know some of you compare yourselves to your own mothers, your friends, and even moms in our group. I do! And sometimes it makes me feel really really bad about myself. I feel less than perfect, or even less than average. I berate myself for being impatient or yelling too much or feeding my daughter “unwholesome” food or for any of the thousands of things that I’ve done. Sometimes I even compare my daughter to the other kids in her age group. (As we all know, Katie is not the child that the books describe as an “angel” baby. She’s the “spirited” one!)
Just when the shame and guilt are about to eat me alive, I remind myself that I am not perfect. I think about how I am doing my best, just like every other mother I know. I remind myself of the things that are going well, like that fact that Katie likes to eat broccoli and she sleeps through the night and has great language skills. My mom used to have a sign posted in her kitchen that said, “Nothing is all wrong. Even a clock that has stopped is right twice a day.” And it’s like that with parenting. Sure, there are values to instill and rules to teach, but I figure I can’t go wrong if I cuddle and hug and love and embrace my child.
I think about how my daughter may not be an “angel” baby, but she is determined and bright and she stands up for herself. She is the child God has blessed me with, and she is the person who has helped me grow up and learn that the world is so much bigger than me. Before Katie was born, I wrote a list called “Things I Want to Teach My Unborn Child.” In my arrogance and selfishness, I never thought she’d be the one who would teach me.