I think I've figured out my problem.

(You: Which one?)

I've always subconsciously thought of my daughters as formless beings, emerging from me perfect.

Therefore, it was only a matter of time until I royally f-ed them up.

As much as I know this is untrue at best or at least not worth worrying about, I've made myself miserable on occasion, knowing, DREADING, that I am destined to disappoint and warp them with my imperfection. I wanted to hide parts of my true self from them. As if I could. There is no hiding our true selves. They come out in whatever ways they can.

After a long day filled with hours and hours of patience and love and play and calm discipline, I sometimes get frazzled and tired and just DONE and I yell or I get snippy or I just sigh and shake my head and then I am bereft because they are perfect and I am NOT and I have failed them again.

This is not true.

(Or it's beside the point.)

None of us are perfect. Even them. Even from the beginning. How unfair of me to expect it of any of us.

We are all born with our unique, strange selves and are molded by the world we encounter. They weren't born perfect. They were born their own quirky, strange, imperfect selves and we get more strange and quirky and imperfect as our life goes on. I am here to help my girls, to guide them and shepherd them, not to try to retain some idea of perfectness that never existed to begin with. When I think about it this way, I can see that their struggles and difficult behaviors are not a reflection of how much I suck as a mom, but just part of their whole selves, their ages, their environment and just who they essentially were from the moment they were made. No one is letting anyone down.

I am their guide, their teacher, their mother.

They are my guides, my teachers, my daughters.

(And just because I'm accepting my imperfections doesn't mean I shouldn't find ways to keep myself from getting to the point of yelling or snipping or even sighing in defeat.)

(You already knew this?)

(Would you please remind me from time to time??)

(PS. This made sense to me when I was trying to get back to sleep at 4 am. )


Marie Green said...

Wow, I think you have something there- our children are NOT perfect, and therefore any of their imperfections are not a direct result in some way that we failed them.

I think we all know this, and yet we don't always believe it... thanks for laying it out to remind us all!

Grateful Twin Mom said...

I'm reminded by your post that our children are not our own. We always go through our day asking people if they and telling people that we "have" kids. Yes, we have kids that need our love, nurturing, care, but we can never make them something they are not already set out to be from the time they are born. I love that you recognized that no one is perfect. I think as moms we beat ourselves up regularly about how we're not doing enough to help our kids be the best they can be. But we are. Just loving them and letting them know they have a safe place to come home to (thinking of Z in preschool now) after they venture out in the world, vulnerable but willing to take it all in.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Swistle said...

I lovvvvvvvve this.

desperate housewife said...

Sometimes the most obvious things have to smack you over the head! I had a similar revelation to Grateful Twin Mom's the other day: our kids are not "ours." They're not like pets, or possessions, or minions. They are people, and we are responsible for taking care of them and helping them navigate the world for awhile, but they are their own selves, and have been from the moment they were born. We are not QUITE as important in their lives as perhaps we think we are!
Both depressing, and liberating!

Anonymous said...

Man I wish I were as eloquent as you are, Ms. J. Although I haven't had as much experience "shaping" Little C yet (discipline, etc.) I completely share your sentiment. When I was pregnant, my mom told me how, when I was born, she quickly realized that God had entrusted me to her care, but that I was not hers. While the Almighty has less to do with how I feel, I marvel every day at how my son is his own person, and has been since the day he was born.

Also, "it" has nothing to do with perfection. Good for you for realizing that it's out of our hands. Now you take that and run with it!

Joanna said...

This was beautiful...the flip side of it of course is just think how awful it would be to have a mom that was perfect all the time. I think that it is so important for kids to see how we Moms can mess up and lose it sometimes and then how we recover from that and make it better.How every day we are still learning and things are tough for us sometimes too. Thank you for this post.

grammalouie said...

Thank you for this post and for reminding all us mothers that we learn from our children. I certainly have done that and continue to learn from you.

Good Enough Mom said...

Nice! But, I gotta admit that I also do the yell-snip-sigh thing when I'm maxed out. I also try to SAY that I am maxed out...now my kids will say things to me like "Mommy--you're having coffee now because it's been a long, hard day, right?" I love that (and then I feel guilty)...you can't win...but you shouldn't win, or they'd never learn a thing about real life, right?

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