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Sunday, May 8, 2016
Mother's Day Promises: What I Learned By Failing at Motherhood
Funny I think perhaps because I lovingly told my kids that all I wanted for Mother's Day is to sleep until 7 am.
So here it is 6 am, and I just needed to get it down in writing. In fact, I don't even know who will read this but like God always does, he finds a way to let my words impact the right people at the right time. I've always had remarkable belief that if I can say something that will impact just ONE person, then I've done my job.
2 years ago I was celebrating Mother's Day with a 4 year old and an 8 month old. I didn't have the assurance that I would be there for the next one...
I was in the middle of battling Stage 4 cancer. A battle, that in hindsight I don't know that my kids will likely remember.
But at that time, my only job was to fight for them.
My job was to be there for them, so that I could always be present for them.
I beat cancer.
But this whole concept of being present, is still a battle for me.
While on maternity leave, two years ago, I made the choice to stay home. I left my classroom for the ever changing tides of social media marketing. I run a business driven by putting myself out there and making myself present on social media.
My cancer battle, I put out there.
My struggle with weight loss, I put out there.
My marriage, I put out there.
My kids, I put out there.
I am so present there. That sometimes, I forget to be present here- the place I fought so hard to be.
And maybe part of it is because I constantly feel the need to keep up. I feel the need to protect what I've worked so hard to build.
I want my kids to have a really good life. I want to be able to provide for them. So I work- hard, consumingly hard. I work so hard that I started to have this weird, awful feeling that they were getting in the way of my work.
What a terrible thought, right? My children, my reason, become my distraction?
Ever feel like that? I know I can't be alone on this, right?
So this week, I had the humbling experience of my own mother calling me. Like moms so often do, she put me in my place and reminded me what matters most. And I really haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
So the biggest gift I am giving myself this Mother's Day is a promise to myself and to my kids. Below is a list of the promises I am making so that I can be a mom who is present- what I fought so hard for two years ago.
My Promises to my Babies (and myself) this Mother's Day:
2. I promise to always be 6 am selfish. Kiddos. Let me shoot you straight. I am a better mom when I make time for me. My health and wellness is always a priority. I can't be the best version of myself if I am not taking care of myself. Simple as that. Cool? So please don't wake up before 7 am. Thanks!
3. I promise to instill kindness and compassion. I will always beat that drum. "Just be kind. Make good choices. Do the right thing." Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Even when it gets annoying boys. I am going to keep saying it.
4. I promise to laugh with you, and sometimes at you. Laughter will always bring joy. You just can't laugh and feel sad at the same moment. We are a family that laughs together because we genuinely find joy with one another. I want you to know that I don't just love you, but I like you too. People might think we're weird. It's cool Laugh anyway.
5. I promise to RAISE the bar. Listen, guys. Reality check. You won't always be right. You will make stupid choices. You will be in trouble a time or two or twenty or fifty. And guess what, I promise to tell you when you are in the wrong. I promise that you will be punished. It will anger you. And you might not talk to me. But you will know it's because I love you, and I've set the bar high.
6. I promise to remind you that you can do hard things. Life isn't easy or fair. It's not supposed to be. Rise to the challenges, Fail forward. Get knocked down. Brush yourself off, get back up and go forward. Don't live your life too scared to take chances- that's not living, that's existing. And I raised the bar high, boys. You can do hard things.
7. I promise to be an example of a confident, loving wife. Your mom stands her ground, sets high expectations, an doesn't tolerate excuses. I want nothing more than for you to marry someone who is strong, kind, confident, and bold. And if she can put you in your place and make you want to be a better version of yourself, then I like her. But can we agree to not even go there until you are much older?
Hoping you moms out there can read this and know you aren't alone. Motherhood is just that- failing forward and figuring it out.
They'll love you anyway.