I have been at this parenting thing for a while now, and while the stages of motherhood change so fast I can’t even keep up, I realized the other day that I am proud of the mother I am becoming. Even though I had just been through one of those messy mornings that left me feeling gutted and like I was the worst mother in the world, I was proud.
Proud because I have become more accepting of myself. I am able to let other people’s opinions about how I parent roll off my shoulders. But more importantly, when I screw up instead of giving myself a good beating, I am getting the hang of letting it go, learning, and moving on.
I let my kids see me when I am emotional. They see me cry and get upset. I used to think I had to hide this part of myself, like somehow I was protecting them from all the evil things in the world by not being my very emotional self and pretending to be a rock instead. What a mistake. If they saw me get upset by something in the news, or swear because I dropped something on my toe, I thought I would scare them. I felt like I needed to set an example of self-control. While I still believe this to a point, I lose it quite often. I don’t always have to keep it together. I am not a machine, I am a person — a person who gets pushed to the limit quite often because trying to keep three little people happy is really fucking hard, and sometimes I just want to be able to finish a page in the book I am reading without having to tend to them.
I am able to ask for what I need. I ask my friends. I ask my family, and that includes my kids. I know it does not make me weak to ask for help, and I want my kids to be brought up knowing how to help and how to ask for it. They have seen me do it a lot lately, and they will see it more. I don’t want them growing up thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I also want them to know their mother was not afraid to ask for what she needed because she was strong enough to know what was best for her and her family.
I have started saying “fuck it” more. The house does not always need to be clean, if I forget something it is not the end of the world, and it is OK to be late once in a while, dammit. Shit happens and people understand.
I am getting really good at saying no. If something feels too heavy, I say no. If I am too tired, I say no. If I just don’t fucking feel like it, I say no.
I am getting stronger because everyday I am learning and still making tangled mistakes that sometimes feel like the end of world, but guess what, they never are. The kids are fine. I am fine.
I am getting better at putting myself first sometimes. When the kids were younger, I struggled with this. I mean really struggled. I never took time for myself and never felt like I needed time for myself. And I felt like mothers who did were weak. Shame on me. I felt that way because I needed a margarita and a fucking night to myself.
I have evolved, and it is not that I have gotten better, or perfected more Pinterest-worthy meals or craft projects. It is that I am more comfortable in my role as a mom. I know what works for me and what makes me feel less-than and inadequate. I realized beating myself up doesn’t work — moving on does. Also, it doesn’t hurt to say “fuck it” once in a while.