“The war stops when we stop speaking to ourselves with weapons disguised as words.” Rebecca Ray
I have a picture in my mind of who I want to be as a mum.
I also have one of who I think I actually am.
Suffice to say, they’re two vastly different images.
I often fall short of who I think I want to be. But I also judge myself incredibly harshly. Many days I’m just downright mean to myself (and somehow I convince myself it’s ok, because at least I keep it inside my head, I don’t let my kids hear me say out loud the awful things that run through my mind!).
I think a lot of us are.
And let’s face it, when our children are small, they have a tendency to both blindly adore us, and at the same time, bluntly accuse us of where we’re failing them – often in such devastatingly important ways as choosing the wrong coloured bowl for their dinner or refusing to let them spend an entire day on their iPad.
None of that helps us have a healthy idea of how we’re actually going with this mothering thing. Most of the time it just feeds our fear of not being good enough, leaving us convinced we’re doing it all wrong and damaging our children in one hundred different ways.
On Mother’s Day this year, I had the precious privilege of getting a glimpse into how my fifteen-year-old daughter sees me. She’s insightful, articulate, creative and an all-around amazing human, and she took the time to write me a list of things she is grateful for and that she loves about me. It meant the world to me, and it’s something I will treasure for many, many years.
She’s given me permission to share some of what she wrote here, and I’m doing so in the hopes that, particularly mums of littles, you will find some freedom in knowing that our children are often much kinder on us than we are, and that showing up bravely and intentionally in your parenting, letting your children see the truest you that there is, is totally worth it in the long run.
“You are strong, kind, independent, loving, honest, yourself!
You unconditionally love me.
You understand me.
You never judge me for the stupid things I do or say, you help me through and stick with me.
You always help me & know what I need.
You taught me everything I know about loving yourself for who you are, getting through hard times and being a strong woman.
You know how to cheer me up.
You bring me out of dark places.
You help me breathe.
You help me to see the good in things but never shy away from acknowledging the hard, sad, tough things.
You support me.
You are open and honest about your struggles, helping me be open and honest about mine.
You have been through everything I’ve been through, right by my side.
You know what’s good for me when I don’t.
You fight for me.
You make an effort to spend time with me.
You make me happy.”
If you’re struggling today with how you see yourself, maybe take a moment to view yourself with kinder eyes? Remember that so often, where we see weakness, they see tenderness; where we see moodiness, they see authenticity; where we see the way our body seems to have lumps and bumps in all the most awkward places, they see familiar, safe places to throw their arms around when the world seems cruel and unfair.
Maybe, today, try seeing yourself through their eyes.