(December 23, 2016)
Reality check. This was a hard one for me.
Yesterday, we took the kids skating for the first time. I was holding hands with Gracie, laughing, and glide/shuffling around the rink. She looked up at me and said, “I really like THIS Mommy.” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “The Mommy that smiles. The mommy that isn’t frustrated and sad.”
An insane amount of guilt hit me immediately, and I apologized for not always being the mom that she liked the most. She smiled up at me, and said, “Mom, it’s ok. I know you are just having a hard time because you miss Daddy. But he’s always in your heart you know?” Tears filled my eyes and I gave her a hug.
Kids are just so perceptive. And she was spot on. I haven’t been the Mom she loves the most for a long time now. Instead, I’m the Mom that made macaroni/chicken nuggets/pizza for dinner every night for 6 months. I’m the mom who put my kids in front of the TV when I could feel myself slipping into despair, so I could break down alone in my room. I’m the mom that gets overwhelmed/frustrated/anxiety over things that I used to handle with ease. I’m the mom who still, even a year later, has to fake a smile and fight back tears when a “Daddy song” comes on the radio and my kids want to belt it out.
I cried later that day when I told Ryan what she had said. His reply was so incredibly kind, and really hit home. I’ve been doing the best I can in the hardest circumstances. And he’s right.
I definitely wasn’t a gourmet chef for almost a year after Ry passed away, but my kids got to eat their favorite foods, and they never went to bed hungry. They watched more tv than normal, but they didn’t have to watch their mom sob and scream into her bed. They may not see it now, but later I hope that they realize that even though I wasn’t always the most patient, I was getting out of bed. I was getting up and doing life…changing diapers, refereeing arguments, and folding laundry. I was doing all of it, even when all I wanted to do was throw my hands up in the air and “give up.” (Whatever that really even means). I was forcing myself to take deep breaths and to power through the anxiety that was triggered so easily, and that could be so debilitating. And when they wanted to look at pictures, listen to old voicemails, or hear songs that reminded them of their sweet Daddy, though it broke every piece of my heart, I would turn it up loud and sing along.
Because I’m a good mom.
If you are struggling as a mom, or have only enough energy for Netflix and Leftovers, be kind to yourself. We are all fighting battles. Some are very visible like mine, but most moms are in the trenches of their own homes, without anyone knowing the struggles they are facing. If you love your kids, truly want what is best for them, and are doing your very best, that is enough. You are enough. I. Am. Enough.
And I will try to let “the mom she loves most” out more often…because I like her the most too.