From the second your child enters the world, the questions begin. I’m not even talking about the questions others ask us (we know those are endless) but the ones we ask ourselves about parenting and all that entails. The kind of mom I wanted to be was a thought during pregnancy, but it’s a whole different story when they’re actually here. Being in the throws of motherhood is a lot different than the anticipation of it!
Here are some of the ways I want to be there for her:
Believe what she tells me. I mean really believe her. Not like when you were younger and would hear the “uh-huh’s” and acknowledgements of your (potentially made up) story but you knew the person was only half listening and not convinced. I want to give her undivided attention to her story because to a child, true or not, that is their reality. Reality at that age means lots creativity and imagination – and I want to be all eyes and ears because I know that’s what she wants and it matters to her, so I want her to know it matters to me too.
Show up. Kids don’t understand responsibility yet (I mean having to work, pay bills, etc). They will, but they don’t for a while. And thank goodness because if they did they wouldn’t be so carefree and awesome. So when I think about telling her I couldn’t make it because of, well, anything, I don’t really think it will hold a lot value to someone who truly doesn’t understand how significant that reason could be anyway. All she really knows or will remember is that I wasn’t there, not the reason why.
Put myself in her shoes. I have a really good memory of how devastating even the smallest thing was when I was younger. Like if the coloring book I spent so long working on got accidentally thrown out or if I left one of my toys on the playground. That was a BIG deal!!! Just like the old saying treat people the way you want to be treated, I want to feel what she is feeling (as much as I can) because in the moment it could be her “crisis”. Hindsight is 20/20 and while I know when she is my age (or even a day later) she probably will not even remember the coloring book or toy left behind, in the moment that’s what happening and I want to be right there with her as much as possible.
Save face in the moment (or hold my tongue). I mean those moments that happen so suddenly with such an unexpected outcome that it would be super easy to react immediately (and likely adversely) right then and there. My goal is to think as much as possible before allowing my face or words to it to express what the immediate reaction would have been. Easier said than done, right? I’ve been practicing this for a while now and have been pretty successful when I need to be. I just only hope it will carry out in motherhood.
I love this picture. I remember when I was younger there were certain people that just “got it”. The ones you’d tell things to and they just seemed to understand. They related to what you told them and matched the level of intensity you felt about whatever it was you felt at the time. And sometimes it wasn’t words, it was just an embrace.
Here are some other random thoughts about how I be the kind of mom I want to be:
- If she wants me to get in the pool or ocean with her, I will
- I will sing along with the disney songs and watch movies with her
- When she wants her ears pierced she can have them
- Hold her when she wants to be held, at any age
- When she wants a tattoo she cannot. Until she’s 18. And then we can get matching ones together 😉
- I want to be trustworthy and want her to feel she can confide in me without judgment
- I want to have tea parties with her
- I’ll play the other character when she wants to play dolls and pretend
- I will drive to pick up her friends if she wants me to or take her to and from their house
- I’ll listen – like really listen
- I want to take her cool places so she can learn, experience, understand, and appreciate different cultures and ways of life
- I want to make her feel safe. That word means a lot to me because feeling safe doesn’t just mean out of harms way, but to feel like she can express herself how she chooses
- I want to admit to her when I messed up so she knows just because I’m older and her mom doesn’t mean I’m always right!
There will be times I don’t do what I said I would. There will be times I am not the mom I want to be. There will times I’ll get so frustrated I’ll just break down and cry. I’ll make mistakes but I’ll keep trying and learn from them. I don’t need to be the coolest mom in the world (though I wouldn’t mind), I just want to be the one she’s happy with and feels unconditionally loved by.