I got up this morning with a mission to help my daughter. As a homework assignment, she was asked to gather pictures of herself which capture her favorite things. As I began skimming through files of photos on my computer, you would have thought I was spending most of my time smiling and reminiscing about the past. To my surprise, recalling those days turned into feelings of discouragement as my role as MOM.
You see, after I had my first daughter, fourteen years ago, I did a great job taking lots of pictures and getting them into a scrapbook in a timely matter. As life got more hectic and our family grew, I didn’t capture the same moments by photograph with my other three kids—probably because I usually had one kid on one hip and a basket of laundry on the other.
The reality is, life will always be hectic and I can’t do it all. As soon as I had those sunken feelings this morning I could see how this day was going to pan out—feeling guilty ALL day about the numerous things I should be doing better. Like how I should plan meals ahead of time instead of pulling meat from the freezer at 4:59 every afternoon...or logging our monthly expenses every month instead of staring at a pile of receipts from the last 5 months. The list is never-ending, isn’t it?
Instead, as soon as my daughter left for school, I shut those feelings down by thinking to myself, “I’m not going there”. I’m not going to spend the entire day beating myself up about my areas of weakness as a mother. To help, I tried to imagine what my youngest would say to me when she becomes an adult. If she knew how terrible I felt for not taking pictures of her sweet feet when she was only a few days old, she would say, “Mom….really? That's what you're worried about? It’s not a big deal. Really.” And then she would go on to remind me how I would play matching game on the floor with her and spontaneously make a craft out of paint and stickers. Ahh…thank you, my sweet kiddos, for loving me for my imperfect self. And Leanne, make sure you remember this if you become a Mom some day. Don't be so hard on yourself :)
So if this is you today, pick yourself up and start focusing on the things you do well. You simply can’t do it all. Don’t let special moments (like scanning through years of pictures and reflecting on the past with your kids) pass you by because you are beating yourself up, wishing you’d done better.
Keep forging through negative feelings, and instead, channel your inner Eleanor!