She said she wanted me to write something that would help her be a better mom and I was paralyzed. My children are adults, and I’m still looking for someone who will write those words for me. I’m still amazed to think somehow my offspring made it to grown-up. In spite of me and all my, well…trying…
Last week I spent four days with 224 other women, many of them whose children are young. They wear their little ones across their chests, or roll them in strollers, or chase after them as they run down the hallway – free spirited toddlers with heads thrown back and mouths wide open in that silly “catch me if you can” laugh that sounds like music to a mother whose children are all grown up. And I can feel it in the air. I can feel the way they want to know they’re doing this thing right. (As if there really is just one right way to be a mommy.)
I remembered years ago, when a friend and I were raising children at the same time, in the same town. Even then I felt the pressure. The competition. I’d watch the way my friend loved on her kids, or disciplined them, or what she packed in their zip-loc bags when we spent an afternoon together at the beach. And I’d check myself to see if I was measuring up. If I was keeping up. If I was doing it right.
Last week, I watched the mommies. The ones who home school, and the ones who drive their children to the public school around the block. The ones who stay at home and the ones who work a 9-5 or more. The ones who feed their children organic food that’s been canned in their kitchens at home, and the ones who just hope for a fast-food drive-thru window nearby. The ones whose children sleep in the bed with them, and the ones whose children don’t.
I watched them and I prayed they wouldn’t compare themselves. I prayed they wouldn’t feel the pressure to do this thing a certain way. I prayed they’d find their sweet spot – the place where they can settle in and just enjoy their children and lavish them with love. And I prayed they’d cheer each other on.
There’s really only one right thing we all can do as mommies. We can love our children well.
All the other stuff will fall into place. The children will learn, and they will remember the times we focus in on them, and they will eat, and they will sleep, and they will dream magnificent dreams. They will. But only we can love them in the way that makes them know they have a place here, and that they matter, and that they are perfect – just exactly the way they are.
(what wisdom, sweet Deidra. thank you. please visit my gifted friend here, at her beautiful blog)