And cry about it.
Ok. So this letter may be an open letter to myself that I know I need but I also find that motherhood comes with a lack of grace for ourselves. Yesterday Mini was supposed to start camp–or so I thought. When I logged in to the website to register her, I swore I chose week 1 but alas, it was for week 2. After getting Mini all excited, I failed. Which in turn has messed up plans for June. BC’s baby shower is this weekend and my mom is supposed to take the kids to the beach with her–when I’ve paid for camp. Oh, and I have an event to take them to on Tuesday.
Overwhelmed is an understatement and beating myself up for…….. making a mistake is pretty accurate. And I know it’s not just me.
Dear Mama: It’s Ok To Make Mistakes
Hey girl, hey! I’m not sure if you’re feeling down or beating yourself up today so if you aren’t, save this for one of those days. But if you are, read on while making pretend I’m rubbing your back because I’m there with you. Motherhood is tough and while most of us aren’t the Pinterest moms that we may (or may not) covet to be, we still all want our kids to feel special, loved, and like they matter big time to us. But we make mistakes. And that’s ok.
I know I’ve directed this letter to you but really, it’s a letter to myself. See, I’m SUPER hard on myself when it comes to this mothering thing. I don’t know if your child(ren) were planned, but my entry into motherhood was a rather unprepared one. For those of you that don’t know my story, in October of 2008 I was told I couldn’t have kids (oh the irony, right?) but I was preparing to file for divorce from my first husband so it wasn’t something I could deal with then. In the beginning of 2009, I filed for divorce, was laid off, found out that I was pregnant (what!?!?!?) and then became homeless. I know, a lot.
But I fought to have Mini. She was everything I had ever prayed for. I wanted motherhood so badly and I was determined to do it the “right” way, or as close to it as a single mom. I ate right no matter how many times it came back up. I gave birth pain med free in a room full of women–including my mother. I breastfed for over a year. She ate only organic foods. She went to an amazing bilingual Montessori school. And one day she still told me she didn’t love me. sigh
Yes, I know that she didn’t mean it and that in her toddler mind this was the proper retort to however she was feeling but the shit stung. Like really bad. But either way, being a mom has always been something that I was so sensitive about because I had her during a time when no one thought I should–I had no job, no man, and no stability. This naturally made me seem like an unfit mother in most people’s eyes. But alas, my choice was her.
Now I don’t know if you had as rocky of a start to motherhood as I did but what I do know is that as moms, we take things harder than most. Already as women we’re accused of hearing things that aren’t said aka reading between the lines and this doesn’t stop with our children. If we go out unprepared, most of us begin to feel like the world is judging us whether they are or aren’t. And with the current battles of different types of moms trying to prove that only their line of parenting is the best, motherhood isn’t any easier.
We’re made to feel like mistakes are unacceptable and like we’re permanently damaging our children with every misstep, as innocent as they are. Couple this with trying to balance multiple children, a marriage, friendships, other relationships, and taking care of ourselves and it becomes downright overwhelming. The one simple mistake that I made with registering Mini for the wrong week has led to a domino effect that’s only exacerbated by my pregnancy hormones.
But here’s the thing: yes we’re mothers but we’re people too. We make mistakes. It’s normal. Disappointment is a normal part of both childhood and adulthood and the faster we learn to deal with it healthily, the better. As I sat crying with my husband feeling like I was failing everyone around me, he had to remind me that the sky wasn’t falling and everything would work out. I’m not saying that I’ve woken up and everything is perfect but I’m in a better place.
And here’s the other thing: “No” is a complete sentence that’s perfectly acceptable to say whenever it suits you. We try to please everyone–mothers, mother-in-laws, friends, husbands, kids. Like we put all these people in front of us and how many can we say honestly put us in that same position? I know my husband does but you need to choose you first. Pick your peace of mind over all of it. Fill your proverbial well first. Nurture yourself first. And if something interferes with the peace of mind you’re desperately trying to keep, just say no. It’s ok.
You aren’t alone mama!