As mothers, and perhaps as women in general, it is not in our nature to bestow accolades upon ourselves. We are accustomed to focusing all the attention on our children, our spouse, our home, our obligations, and/or our careers. We are frequently told, "Don't forget to take care of yourself!". Again, we usually scoff at the thought. Therefore, when a writing prompt required me to come up with a reason to give myself a medal or some sort of award, I was uncomfortable. It's not something I usually do.
"I could give myself a medal for the birth of my third daughter. After all, she came out weighing over 10 pounds! BUT, women have been birthing babies for thousands of years without medical interventions or that blessed epidural I was fortunate to have. So, nope - can't get a medal for that."
"Maybe I should get an award for somewhat unwittingly volunteering to oversee the production of the elementary school's yearbook for the past two years and this year. BUT, there are others who do even more than that. Plus, I said no when they asked me to be on the PTA board, so no award for that either."
"Maybe the time I spent hours making that really fancy meal that nobody liked?? No, because what about all the times I just microwaved some Chef Boyardee?"
"Oh! I know!!! What about that time my kids were driving me crazy but I managed to hold my temper. No, that won't work either because what about all those time that I didn't?"
I could continue, but I'm sure you get the general idea, so I'll spare you from the the rest of my ramblings.
Then, one day early in the week while all of these thoughts were swirling through my head amidst what had been one insanely busy week, my oldest daughter came home from school and, the minute she got in the car I knew something was amiss. She is attending a magnet middle school for academically gifted kids this year. Since the coursework is more rigorous, they are more vigilant about sending updates. Therefore, they send home interim reports every three weeks. That day she had gotten the first. The waterworks quickly began as she told me that she had gotten a - gasp - B in math. She was upset that she had gotten a lower than usual test grade and she was afraid that her dad and I would be disappointed in her. I began attempting to console her. "It's o.k." I said. "You are only three points away from an A and this only an interim. It's not your actual report card. You have six more weeks to work on it and bring it up." She was obviously not consoled, so I continued, "And you know what? Even if you still have a B when your actual report card comes THAT'S O.K.! We don't expect you to be perfect. We just expect you to always try your best. As long as you do that, we will never be disappointed."
Um . . Hello?? It dawned on me that what I was preaching to my daughter was exactly what I needed to be preaching to myself. You see, I'm not perfect either - far from it. Yes, I got an epidural to ease the pain (all three times!), but why not? Yes, there are people who do even more volunteering that me, but I have put that yearbook together all by myself for the past two years and it turned out to be pretty good. Yes, sometimes I feed my kids crap and, yes, sometimes I lose my temper. I'm not perfect. I'm human. And this motherhood gig is hard.
I have a mantra that I always share with others, but, for some reason, I tend to forget that it applies to me as well. It goes like this: If, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, we all go to bed healthy, knowing that we are safe, and knowing that we are loved then that is a successful day. That is enough.
It had been a crazy week here. I had big things going on with my blog. My husband had a large work project with a looming deadline. We had open houses at two different schools, soccer games and practices, piano lessons, horseback lessons, homework battles, lunches to pack, meals to get on the table, and a half day of school in the middle of it all. But, one evening, my littlest one who had largely been caught in the shuffle, put her arms around my neck, kissed me on the cheek, and said, "I love you Mommy. I love you more than anything in this world!" ~That is enough~
I'm not perfect. I have no earth shattering accomplishments to boast. But, I give it my all every day. (Although, some days I have more to give than others.) I love my kids. I love my husband. I do my very best to be a good mother and a good wife and a good person.