My 5 year old was playing on my laptop the other day. I noticed he had asked his brother to come sit with him at the computer to show him something. The office was full of giggles as they watched whatever it was on the computer. I figured it was something on Starfall.com. It wasn’t. It was old home movies I had on my computer. It was as if I was swished backwards in time, through the colorful vortex you see on those old Lucky Charms commercials. Or at least that’s how I am remembering it. Stars and rainbows and little sparkles of light and I was back in the foyer with my two sons, in their underwear and diapers, respectively. We had a little basketball hoop on the front door and were practicing our basketball skills altogether. I was asking my youngest who appeared to be 18 months to 2 years old, to do “Shaky Diaper”.
I was laughing hysterically and so very loudly in the camera while he swung this filled up ole pee diaper back and forth between his legs. It was the funniest freaking thing I’ve seen in a long time. My other son, apparently terribly jealous, was leaping in front of the camera, trying to get my attention. And I was doing a superb job of cheering his growing ability to dribble for one quarter of a second. It was all so fun and happy.
I don’t know when I got to a place that I thought I was just crazy tired mom all those years they were babies and toddlers. I truly remember less and less as time goes by. I felt like it was so stressful, and I had painted this version of myself to myself, that I was crazy mom. When do we do that to ourselves? I know it’s not just me because I’ve heard a lot of moms say that about being moms. “I wasn’t a very good mom,” or “I didn’t do a very good job with my kids.” When did we all decide that we always sucked as moms and dads?
And I didn’t know I had judged myself so fiercely until tears started falling down my face. I WAS a good mom. I was a great mom even. My kids were both smiling and laughing. We were together. We were doing silly things in our house, and they were little and half naked, the way childhood should be. Maybe I just found a way to judge myself because I’m not as forgiving with myself as I am with others. Why am I so mean to that younger, more tired version of myself? She was kind of awesome sometimes. She always tried her best. She made healthy food, played and never worried about messes. She laughed more than she yelled, and she noticed every single little movement or preference or need of her two small boys. And she still is an awesome mom. And she’s still me.
I realized I always tell other moms they are doing great—and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it. I always tell other moms to enjoy and not worry about all that little stuff. And I forget not to judge me. I cried some more. I realized I was the mom who cared the most she possibly could. I was the mom that sweat and bled and hurt because she felt she had to be the best mom in the world. And she had forgotten to love herself, be proud of herself and see that she had done a kick-ass job a lot of the time. Sure, not everyone would have done it my way or loved my way or even condoned my way. But the video I saw was exactly the type of picture I wanted to see of my life with my kids. And because I never see videos of myself with my kids, I forget.
I had some crazy guilt that spilled across my office desk and over my computer keys as I watched the video again. I had created the kind of childhood I had wanted my kids to have. And I still do that. And what else can we do in life but create what we think we want, what we think our kids should have? Doesn’t mean it’s all right, but it means that I did create my dreams. And I can let go of something deep inside me that thinks I failed somewhere, somehow. I know it sounds silly, but I know it can’t just be me. I know other moms feel this way too.
So today, look at something you did right. Look at something you give others credit for and realize maybe you do it too, maybe you did create all or even some semblance of the dream you had for your children. Maybe you did a damn good job, and maybe you still are doing a great job. Maybe moms and dads are awesome, and just maybe we have many more awesome years ahead. To Moms, Guilt and Being Awesome. Sending all my love today!