Maverick, my 7-year-old, recently walked up to me and said, “You are who you are, Mommy. And you’re just right. That’s what you always say to me.”
I stared at him, speechless.
“Don’t let anyone judge you.”
And then he walked away.
I have poured my heart and soul into my children, and there have been times when I felt like my spirit was breaking. Or maybe it was already broken. It can be hard to tell the difference.
I fuck up all the time. Daily. Multiple times per day.
I’m probably not supposed to admit that, right? I’m probably not supposed to say that I screamed like a lunatic this morning when the kids wouldn’t stop fighting. I’m so calm, until that one thing — like milk boiling over on the stove, or poop that gets smeared all over the toilet seat — sends me over the edge.
I don’t give myself enough grace.
When you’re doing the impossible, you should give yourself some grace. My kids, who see the best and worst of me, give me grace. They somehow absorb what they see and hear, assimilate it, and regurgitate it in their charming kid way.
Pepper will say “Maybe way-ter, okay? WAYTER,” when I ask her if she’s ready to take a bath.
I say that a lot.
My middle child uses big words in an attempt to sound important. “Actually, Mommy …” He says “actually” all the time. I guess I do too, but it’s a lot cuter when he says it.
But what my oldest said — you are who you are, and you’re just right — struck me. I’ve said that to him, many times. I believe that for my children, but do I believe it for myself?
I have to model what I want my children to value. And even though I feel like a dismal failure most days because I haven’t done enough or said enough to make me feel like I truly nailed this parenting thing … these moments drop out of nowhere that remind me that I’m doing a damn good job.