Last night, my precious, precocious teenager was in a state. Her rage centered on food — mainly the lack or un-savoriness of the food in our house. Having spent the day nursing a back injury with ice, heat, and ibuprofen, pain inhibited me from showing much patience toward her plight. Toward the end of the evening she found a stain on the shirt she intended to wear to school. I asked if she wanted me to try to get the stain out. She lashed out — at the stain or the universe or whatever — and I said, “Please go to bed.”
I was in too much pain to carry hers.
This morning, I told her, “Please try to remember: We are on the same team. I am not your adversary. I am your mom, your biggest fan and your most vocal cheerleader. I love you and will do anything in my power to help you, to make you happy and to give you the most wonderful life possible. But I am also a human being with limits and sometimes when my feelings are hurt, I will meet your anger with my own.”
Sometimes we carry our pain gracefully.
Being a mom is the greatest joy of my life, and as empty-nesthood looms on the horizon, the sand quickening through the hourglass compels me to cram in mothering “before it’s too late.”
Catastrophe looms on the horizon. Real or perceived.
I’ve made mistakes with my kids. Too often I tried to be the mom my younger self needed instead of the mom they needed. I overprotected, corrected, criticized and took things personally. Sweated a lot of small stuff. I was 21 and arguably still needing some mothering myself when my first child was born. At 47, I’ve dealt with much of my own garbage and attempt to support people, even the ones I gave birth to, without projecting my own issues onto every situation.
Your jagged shards can cut people who didn’t break you.
Sometimes my perception that my kids didn’t appreciate how my relentless love and support and attempts to create a fairy tale life pissed me off. I try so hard and they don’t get it. My kids never knew what it was like to have a mom other than me.
We think other people’s homes (and moms) are like ours.
Ayesha Siddiqi advises, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
We long to feel loved, accepted, and that someone is cheering for us.
We want to matter.
We want someone to think we’re beautiful…someone to care when you hurt your knee or your back or your pride.
Most people value our acceptance far more than our opinion.
I’m learning to ask: Do you want a solution or to vent? Advice or validation? Do you want me to listen? Do you want me to help you calm down or feel rage with you? Do you need me to fight someone?
My older kids generally didn’t want me to fight anyone. My youngest child sometimes wants me to go to war for her. I understand because for years I wanted someone to go to war for me. One day I realized I was the strongest warrior I knew. I didn’t need anyone to save me.
Watch me save myself.
You’re the person you’ve been waiting for.
Sometimes I long to pull the curtains back and expose people as frauds, but it no longer keeps me up at night. Empathy > Exposure.
How you show up for the people you love matters. What energy are you bringing to the world every day? I’ve walked away from people who wouldn’t treat me the way I wanted to be treated or couldn’t love me the way I wanted to be loved. I wish them well. I fully believe we are all connected so when something good happens for one of us it is happening for all of us. Life is happening for us not to us.
We can spend less time beating ourselves up for what we could have done better last decade, last year, or last night.
What if instead you wake up and ask: How can I love more fully? How can I forgive myself/my mom/my dad/my ex? How can I care for my family? How can I bring more light into the world? Can I be a better version of myself today? Can I be okay with being who I am? Can I treat myself with kindness and love?