Since becoming a mother, I've learned to appreciate how hard my own mother's worked at raising me. I remember her tell us about times that my father, working in construction, would buy a loaf of bread and a package of meat. He'd cut both open, slap the stuff together into sandwiches and stuff them in the freezer. This would be his lunches throughout the week or, more accurately, paycheck.
I think about the woman behind that man, the woman who'd bought us $1.00 bags of chips from Zellers when we really wanted them and sprinkled household vinegar on them so that we'd have salt n vinegar chips. It was pretty simple.
The things that's really getting to be lately however is the realization that I'm not my own mother. I thought, because I knew my mother and she was a very great mom, perhaps I would recognize when I needed to do this or say that. So far, nothing's clicking. I'm still just as clueless.
I sit between my mother and my daughter as the go-between, the unwitting jokes-on-you fool. I wonder if somehow I'll be able to handle it as gracefully as my grandmother did or as fiercely as my own mother. There are times where I look at my mother and feel as though nothing's changed and then my daughter's handed to me and I remember, Everything's Changed.
It's hard for me not to feel like a fool, for a child, when I see my parents and think of them as any child does their parents. Even as a mother I have these deep recesses of self-consciousness when I doubt everything, hear Mom's voice and think, nah, maybe I shouldn't do it my own way.
Then, I look at my beautiful daughter, who is perfectly healthy (and a content baby at that) and I know I can do it. I just have to stop second guessing myself. You see the degree of difficulties and number of challenges are not what scares me or worries me about being a parent, it's that nagging self-doubt that I have in me. For some reason it's there most when I'm with my parents. I feel as though I constantly have to defend myself and work harder to prove myself, when really-I'm a grown up in my own home with my own family and I shouldn't have anything to prove.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Tomorrow, show that you have nothing to prove to anyone. You're a Mother, or perhaps you're a father, and you are there. You show up, take care of your child and love them with all of your heart. So what if you let them have cheese before they were 1 year old, or you accidentally forgot to change their diaper for a whole day in their first week of life. Perhaps you've accidentally banged their head against the roof when getting them out of the car. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be a parent. This second guessing ourselves means we were meant to be parents and it means we're Damn good ones too. You see, if we never questioned ourselves, then it would be time to worry. Our worth as parents goes down exponentially when we truly believe we're the best at it. But, if we can convince ourselves for one day at least that we not only are good parents, but that we deserve to be parents, then we're truly making progress.
You and I, we're going to get better at this... and we'll laugh, cry and regret all the same; but we truly deserve to be able to look at our child and feel fulfilled.
Happy Mother's Day!