Am I a perfect mom? No.
Am I aiming to be a perfect mom? Helll no.
Confession time: This mama has a mouth of a sailor and a temper of a toddler when it comes to patience. I am a short fuse at best. Especially when it comes to having to repeat simple requests such as asking them to brush their teeth before bed or picking up their trash that they set on the counter directly next to the trash can. The more I try to stay calm when my children aren’t listening, the stronger the words and louder the yelling gets. I am not perfect, but I promise I try even harder with each day that passes and I love my two children more than life itself.
I will never forget the time when my curly redhead daughter was two and launched herself off the couch, landing into a stomping earthquake, as she screamed at her (then) four year old brother, “I’m not going to ask you again! Give my FUCKING toy back… riiiight…. NOW!” Raise your hand if you’d be the one fighting back laughter? Because, same. Obviously there’s nothing hilarious about a toddler using adult words. But in the moment it was how I avoided beating myself up in the moment because I realized that I was the one who was fucking up in the parental department. Someone send help to aisle 2021!
Nothing hurts worse than not feeling good enough as a parent. I don’t know about you but from the moment I peed on a stick, I vowed to raise my kids even better than I was raised (and I had a pretty freaking amazing childhood and two loving parents who are still together after 30 years) and I wanted to be the person I needed as a child. This memory of my cursing toddler pops up often onto the ever-so-crowed Memory Lane of my mind anytime someone says something along the lines of, “Like mother, like daughter!” or “Wow, he is your son!” What other words am I saying and what habits am I practicing that my children are picking up on?
Flash forward to 2020. A few months after our divorce, I was talking to my ex-husband who had taken the kids on a bike ride around his neighborhood. He was laughing as he told me, “Our daughter is definitely your child.” Around the same time, our five year old daughter had been still trying to get the hang of riding her bike and sometimes needed a little push to get going and some assistance steering out of a bush and back onto the sidewalk. He proceeded to tell me that as he was trying to guide and assist her on her bike, she looked back at him and said, “Dad, I’ve got this!” Tears welled up in my eyes as he told me he saw the same fearless bravery to try something on her own – without anyone’s help – that he saw in me over the 15 years that we knew each other. That she had the confidence to handle it on her own. That she was determined and fully capable. That she believed in herself. He was right. I do teach my kids to just go for it, even if they make mistakes along the way.
Spoiler alert: It’s not too late to break the not-so-awesome patterns to create new ones.
Be the difference.
Break the generational curse.
Pass along those things that your family is proud of.
Work on growing and improving every. damn. day.
Because if you’re not focused on constant growth, then what’s the point of even living? Am I right?
Be real, raw, and vulnerable.
Say what you mean.
Teach them that emotions are hard and shouldn’t be suppressed.
Admit when you make mistakes.
Brainstorm ways to do better and to be better next time.
Focus on progress. Forget perfection.
Kids will model what they see you doing. You can preach at them all day at what they “should” do, but in the end your words, actions, and reactions will influence their learned behaviors. Grant yourself grace, because being a mom (especially a single mom… and especially… especialllyyyyy a single working mom) is really fucking tough. Never forget that you’re a warrior role model. You’ve got this Mama!
I’d love if you took a minute to post a reply below sharing what your biggest mistakes or struggles have been as a parent? What about your victories? How do you control your tongue and your temper?