The phrase, “You’re such a good Mom,” while sincere, causes me to cringe every single time it is directed in my general direction. While I think those around me are worthy of such support, much like being told that I’m inspirational when I tell them I’m a runner, my first thought is, “If you only knew.”
If only you knew that I yelled at my kid because he didn’t want to wear his snow boots. I told him he was ungrateful for not wanting to wear the really nice boots that his dad and I would never have had when we were his age.
If only you knew that my adult kids don’t know everything like I hoped they would by the time they reached eighteen because it is my job to make sure they know EVERYTHING before they leave my home.
If you only knew that I bought a little 5 minute sand timer for my child with special needs to help with transitions but I didn’t advocate for her like I had hoped I would at her latest IEP meeting.
If you only knew….
If you only knew that I have imposter syndrome BIG TIME when it comes to my parenting. I know in the rational part of my brain that I have done many, many, many things right. And yet, it never seems to be enough.
You may see me with confidence and I assure you I don’t always feel it. I may show a calm facade but deep down I’m pretty sure people will eventually find out that, overall, I’m a terrible, selfish human being.
I do not compare myself with others, rather I think and overthink how I should parent, noticing only my faults and rarely what I am doing right. I believe it starts from a good place. I strive to learn from my mistakes and often think (and rethink and rethink again….) what it is I can learn from them. What starts out as a healthy evaluation can become an exercise in self-destruction.
Growing up without a mom for most of my life has given me the drive to be the support person that I didn’t have. The older I get, the more I realize that the person I thought I needed, the one I think my kids need does not exist because the person that I thought I needed is perfect. Maybe if my mom would have lived and gone on to parent me longer I would not have these standards in place.
What do kids NEED? They need love and they need stability. They need a roof over their head, clothes to wear and some good nourishing food and an occasional bath. They need someone to take them to the doctor when they are sick and entertain them (but not constantly, that’s unreasonable). They need someone to accept them for who they are and maybe they just need someone who is just there.
Maybe it’s not my job to teach them everything they need to know by their eighteenth birthday. Maybe I can make cringe-worthy mistakes (ones that I play over and over in my head for years) that they may not remember.
Maybe, I should give myself way less credit as to how big of an impact I truly make in their lives. Maybe, I just need to get over myself and enjoy it.