The Mother’s Day flowers are already wilting on my kitchen table, and my spirits, even on this fine May day, are a bit damaged too.
Why is it on this day set aside to honor mothers that I feel so inadequate? I am questioning my parenting decisions, my effectiveness as a mother. I am examining my failures under a microscope and find them teeming like bacteria.
I had kidded myself that after 25 plus years, I had finally gotten a handle on this whole motherhood gig. But I feel like an amateur, a fraud. I talk tough, but my kids can still wear me down and get what they want and make me regret some of the things I allowed them to do. I am still cleaning up their messes large and small. My inconsistencies plague me.
You see, for 25 plus years this has been my job. I “stay home” to take care of my family. I should have gotten really good at it by now. If it were a paying job, though, I doubt I would be getting any pay raises. I might even get fired.
Yet despite having these low moments where I convince myself that I’m a total screw-up in the parenting department, I have no regrets about dedicating my life to my children. They have been my reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Their laughter and joy have infected me at times and made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. And they seem to be growing up into reasonably decent human beings in spite of me.
Maybe in the realm of parenting, mothers give themselves too much credit when their kids are awesome and way too much blame when they are not. The fact is that children – and mothers – are only human. We make mistakes and learn from them, and that is how we know we are growing.
It’s a beautiful Mother’s Day in Chicagoland. I have my daughter’s soccer game and my son’s rugby game to attend. We are alive and well. So no more moping about my inadequacies. As the Bible says, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”
Happy Mother’s Day!