I love being a quiet observer in the homes of my young mommy friends. Ya'll are so wonderful and I admire you so much. In my mind I can clearly remember the chaos and confusion of the years when my children were young. Ya'll make it look so great...and you are rockin' it out. Be encouraged!
When the twins were toddlers, my daughter in love and I would FaceTime almost daily. My son was often deployed back in those days and I loved those conversations with the woman he married. Being toddlers, the children would stay in a nearly constant state of conflict with one another, their toys, the house, the world in general. Frustrated screeching and frequent crying were the soundtrack that filled their house.
Our conversations, not surprisingly, were often interrupted with the conflict. She would go and settle everyone down and then come back to the phone and just look into the screen with a silent expression that spoke volumes. Most of the time I thought she was saying, "We're all going to heck in a hand bag around here." It was comical. For me, anyway.
I was so impressed with the way she was able to be strong. I am impressed with the strength of all the young mothers I know. Many of you working jobs that are more than full time with responsibilities that reach far beyond the walls of your homes. My bonus daughter (step-daughter) and my daughter in love are both in that category. I stand in awe of their juggling acts. My daughter with her newly acquired bonus children is also there. What challenges you young women face! I hold you all in very high esteem.
Memory is an unreliable tool, but when I look back on the years when my children were young I see an isolated, scared young woman. I was living in a small town where I knew no one well. I felt very keenly the lack of support from the grandmothers of my children. Please don't read self pity in this! I am so grateful for the years that I spent learning from the strong instinct of motherhood. Those years imprinted on my heart and mind in a powerful way and they made me the woman I am now. But those years make me want to reach out to you with the support and encouragement that I needed and did not receive.
The imperfections of your situation are making you into the woman you are becoming. You are being made stronger by all the times you have to make the unworkable work; the chaos orderly; the tumult calm. You do this constantly and if no one else notices it, I do. I see you when we meet while shopping or in the park. I appreciate the work you do as a mother. You are doing nothing less than changing the world by raising good humans.
Most weeks my blog contains some tips that I hope you can use to make raising a healthy and well rounded child a bit more workable. Those tips come from decades of experience teaching small children, education, and my passion for parents and children. Today, I want to give you some tips that are designed to help you see that your imperfections are the source of your strength. Your imperfections are the most beautiful part of you. Being imperfect with a heart full of love is the essence of parenting. Here are some reasons to appreciate the imperfections of the perfect work of parenting:
Perfection was never part of God's plan. Even if you don't have a faith that you practice, you instinctively understand that perfection is an unachievable, absurd fantasy. It is also no fun. What would we laugh about or tell stories about if everything worked out perfectly the first time? The best entertainment we have is in the mix ups, mistakes and missteps. If you do practice one of the world's monotheistic faiths, you remember that God created the world and everything in it. He said that it was good. No mention of the word perfect. So lighten up.
Growth comes from imperfections. The only time we grow is when we are learning to be better today than we were yesterday. The greatest purpose in human existence is in pursuing knowledge or moving towards goals. These goals can be so simple as to seem pointless, but even if you are simply trying to learn how to get new battery in the remote or potty train a three year old, you are learning. You experience the joy of achievement only because you have tried and missed the mark several times. Getting it right after multiple tries is much more satisfying that hitting the target first thing.
Your imperfections encourage others. There is no way to overstate the importance of encouraging each other. We have been hearing for the last two years that "we are all in this together" but let me be clear: we always have been. As independent as Americans and those of other western cultures like to think of themselves, we are entwined with one another. Your neighbor's joyful home is a benefit to the entire community. Your joyful home contributes to the welfare of our neighborhood. Encourage each other by sharing the imperfections. Let the learning curve shine. Be aware that each day is a new opportunity to imperfectly live as a parent of imperfect children. Working through it is the journey of life.
At the risk of repeating myself, I am going to repeat myself. Your imperfections are the source of your strength. Your imperfections are the most beautiful part of you. Be imperfect because you are learning. Be imperfect as you love more beautifully each day. Give and receive imperfection as the gift that it is. You are wonderful, imperfect mommy!