I’ve tried to really pay attention to the comments and remarks I get about my children for the past few days.
Instead of just nodding, smiling, thanking, or acknowledging, I’ve tried to really ponder and process the words that I’m hearing. And, I have to say… the words have been abundantly kind.
- “He is SO smart. Just off-the-hook smart.”
- “How’s C. doing? I’m just crazy about that girl. She’s a delight.”
- “How early do you get them up to be here at 7:30AM? Well, you do amazing. Because they’re just fantastic kids.”
- “They glow within your shining example.”
- “So well-mannered!”
- “G. is so sweet, I can hardly stand it. That girl makes my day.”
- “He’s deep and profoundly caring.”
… and on and on.
It is humbling.
Really and truly.
It is humbling to hear all those words.
Because, and this is the entire point of this whole post–
I question what I am doing every single day of my life.
I lose my temper and yell or, perhaps worse, fire off remarks just dripping in sarcasm and then, later, I cry as I realize what a horrible way I’ve behaved toward these tender souls.
I set the bar high-high-high and then sometimes wonder if I even achieve my own standards.
My husband and I exchange worried glances, wondering if we’re totally messing this up. Do they have enough friends? Do they do the right activities? Do they do too MANY activities? Is this the right way to handle A’s math? Is C’s sudden reluctance to join the family games a warning sign or just an indication that she’s swept up in the book she’s reading? Do we expect too much of our youngest? Or do we let her get away with too much?
We don’t know. I don’t know.
I don’t really know what I’m doing.
And the compliments, as wonderful as they are, can make me even more nervous.
Am I screwing up these amazing kids? Have I been blessed with a trio of fantastic little people and I’m going to totally drop the ball? Is this just the calm before the storm blows up in my face?
I just don’t know.
And I think that’s something more of us need to step up and admit–
We don’t really know what we’re doing. And it’s scary.
That mom with the popular star athlete for a kid?
She worries that she’s messing up.
The lady whose daughters look impeccable and whose manners never falter?
She frets that she’s not fully preparing them.
The mother who seems to seamlessly run a household of eight?
She has moments she wonders how she’s going to make it through without permanently damaging someone.
Because, here’s the thing– not only does motherhood not come with an instruction manual, but, even if it did, it couldn’t possibly cover all the different models of children out there!
And so we wake up each day. Maybe we say a prayer. We put one foot in front of the other and resolve to do our best.
And, if we’re lucky, we’ll find out that we did a decent job before we climb in bed that night.
Not because of the compliments rained upon us. No.
Because of the little arms that hold us tight and remind us why, no matter how hard a day was…
we’ll wake up and do our best again the next day.