Recently, a friend was telling me about a guy she had started dating.
She began to list his many attributes, citing the usuals like career status, sense of humor and friendliness.
“And he is a great Dad,” she added.
What does that mean exactly....A great Dad?
So I asked her..."What does that mean, exactly?"
(Of course derailing the discussion from the date details she really wanted to tell me about.)
“Well…..,” she started, “he is really attentive to his kids and totally on top of their activities.”
“And he makes their favorite meals when they are sleeping at his place.”
“Oh…and…he makes sure they always have a fruit or vegetable with their meals.”
She listed a few more details, all of which, bolstered the “He is a great Dad” theory.
I am certain he is a great Dad.
Yea, I know he is.
And that is great.
But what I have to say here, right now, is actually not about him or his Dad-ness or any Dads.
This is about us Moms.
The thing is, I don’t hear us tell one another or say about each other that we are great.
We do all those things.The meals.
The medical appointments.
The book reports.
The Science Fair poster.
The tears.The being on top of everything…and anything.
All of it.
And then some.
And then even more.
But rarely….oh-so-rarely…..do I hear Moms talking about themselves or other Moms and using words like “great.”
We simply do not give ourselves much credit.
We judge ourselves.
We’re convinced we could, should, might do less, or more, or different.
We would never dare think of how amazing we are doing at this most important and difficult job we have taken on.
For the most part, we give Dads all sorts of slack and leeway. We praise them. We applaud their efforts. We support and guide and steer them when we feel they need it (and even if they don’t).
But from ourselves and each other? We expect the impossible.
We push, and criticize and shake our heads. And not really at one another but at our own selves.As mothers, our self-talk can be pretty darn harsh. As in, we wouldn’t talk to our enemies (let alone our friends) as harshly as we talk to ourselves.
From the day my first child was born, I invested an unfathomable amount of time and energy into thinking and even talking about all of the ways I was screwing up as Mom. All of the ways I fell short. How not perfect I was. How my kids would end up on therapists' couches all because of me and my lame-ness.
And the funniest thing is, I can look at you and know you are doing a pretty OK job.More than OK, actually. You are doing a bang-up job.
But to give that to myself?
Not so much. Well....never, actually. Until now.
So for today, for right now, I ask you to at the very least consider the following:
- You are a great Mom.
- You are doing a great job.
- You are, in this very moment, absolutely perfect despite your mistakes, mess-ups, miscalculations, oversights, flubs and bloopers. Yes….perfect.
- And, perhaps most importantly, your kids know very well that you are doing the very best you can with what you have.
Just consider it. That’s all I ask.
And the next time you want to sing someone’s praises as a parent, perhaps you will first start a little closer to home. Or a whole bunch closer. With you-know-who.
Just consider it.