What was I thinking when I said I’d write this post?
I’m not even sure how I ended up being the supplier of the prompt except by accident. One minute I said I’m probably not writing about this, and the next thing I knew, Kristi said “will you” and I love her, so I said “of course.”
I couldn’t have been thinking clearly when I said I’d co-host with Kristi for Finish the Sentence Friday this week. Because, you know, that would mean I actually need to write the post in the first place.
And that’s not going so well.
I’ve brainstormed all the mom topics I could think of and none grabbed me as something I wanted to write about – or at the very least, anything I was willing to hit publish on. Should I write about what a joy it is to be a mom? Nah, too trite. Or how hard it is to be a mom? Same. Both are true, but still.
Moms should all get along and support one another? That’s been done ten thousand times. Being a mom is like holding your heart in your arms outside of your body? My daughter made puking noises and said something to the effect of “that’s disturbing.” What about how to handle your relationship with your mother or your stepmother or your mother-in-law? Nope, nope, and definitely nope.
There’s just no way to talk about this without upsetting or offending someone.
And there’s the rub.
We mothers are all different. We are married and single, young and not so young, biological and adopted, short, tall, fat, thin, calm, anxiety-filled, and a host of other factors that make us unique. We bring our own beliefs and experiences to our mothering and so the ways we mother our children are as numerous and varied as we are.
That’s where the trouble begins…
I was talking to another mother this morning and conversation turned to the topic of our daughters and bullies and just how downright mean kids can be to one another. It’s hard for kids to find their way in the world. It’s hard for them to just be who they are and feel confident about who they are. It becomes particularly challenging when other kids tell them they are somehow wrong or weird (or whatever the word of the year is). Far too often, the things kids choose to pick on in other kids are the best things about them, the things that make them unique.
That behavior doesn’t stop with kids and it doesn’t disappear after our school years are over. Adults do the same things – moms do it. We pick at and criticize one another over so many things – how to feed, how to educate, how to discipline, when and if we should allow them Internet access, when to let them date, drive, or go to the mall alone.
We all have our own ways and our own reasons, yet it often seems we believe everyone else should do it our way.
We somehow feel obligated to offer our reasons to other mothers – whether they want to know our opinion or not. Perhaps our motivations are backed with the best of intention, a sincere desire to help. But the truth is that not everyone wants to know how we do it. What we all really want is to feel confident that the choices we make for our children are good ones. We all want to feel confident that we are good mothers, just the way we are. We all want validation, not criticism. We all want to be heard.
And even more than want…this is what we all need.
The thing is, at the end of the day – every day – the best thing I am is my child’s mom. And every day I have to figure out how to do that. Some days I get it right; some days I don’t. Some days I wish someone would tell me how to do it; some days wish everyone would stop telling me how. I suspect every other mom out there feels the very same way and we all just want to feel like we’re doing a good job.
At the end of the day – every day – she is my child and I am the one responsible for getting her safely to adulthood. No one else. There are days I just want to scream at every other mother in the universe, “HEY! You raise your family and I’ll raise mine, OK?” Yes, yes, yes, I know all about the whole “it takes a village” thing. And I don’t disagree. But sometimes it is wise if everyone in the village goes home and closes their door for a while. Remember the words of Robert Frost: “Good fences make good neighbors.” We need to learn to stop pushing our own agenda and learn to let one another just be.
At the end of the day – every day – the best thing I am is my daughter’s mother. With that truth comes great responsibility. Every day is an opportunity to teach her how to be, to live, and to love. Sometimes that means speaking up; sometimes that means shutting up. It always means realizing that some days I’m going to get it wrong. And those are the moments that become opportunities to teach her how to mend fences, to reach across and shake hands, to ask forgiveness and to forgive. Those things are hard to do.
At the end of the day – every day – we are all just doing our best. We are all works in progress.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week our sentence prompt, in honor of Mother’s Day in the US, is “Oh, Mother…”
Your host is Kristi of Finding Ninee. Your co-host is me of right here. To join us and submit your own post, click on the blue button below.