Lately, I’ve been thinking about what mother my kids will remember. Will they remember the one that worked, and had to ignore them sometimes, or will they remember the mom that poured over scrapbooks and baby books, and instagram posts documenting every moment of their little lives.
Will they remember the mom that cried at school drop off? Or will they just remember the mom that hurried them out the door seemingly not caring if they had a meltdown?
I wonder sometimes if I’m two different mothers to them like I am to myself.
If I’m being honest – sometimes I feel like I’m 15 different mothers. I’m patient, loving, and kind. I’m creative and dull. I’m happy and dancing in the kitchen one minute, and begging for a nap and to be left alone the next minute.
Sometimes, I wonder if they’ll remember the tears I had for no reason at all. Sitting on the couch feeling empty and sad. They come and give me hugs unsolicited as I cry. I am depressed and overwhelmed. I wonder if they will remember that version of me?
I wonder if they’ll remember the mom that yelled over the permanent marker on the brand new toddler bedspread, or the one that quietly cleaned up the broken glass first thing in the morning when they shattered a cereal bowl on the kitchen floor before the sun was even up. Will they remember when I said, “It’s OK. Don’t cry. It’s just a bowl.”
Or will they remember the rage I sometimes felt over the little things due to my overwhelming anxiety?
I think when we first become mothers we have this image of the perfect mother, or at least an ideal one in our heads.
But, then we realize that we aren’t one dimensional. We’re still human. We cry, yell, get frustrated and sleepy (oh we get so sleepy) while we’re raising these other tiny humans that are also trying to navigate their own emotions. We thought naively that maybe we would never feel annoyed at our kids, or mad about the messes.
We would bake cookies in the kitchen and never once be mad about the flour all over the floor.
We envisioned a woman that fed them all organic, and never raised her voice. A mother that was using positive parenting techniques all the time, and never got bugged by the little stuff.
I guess we were hoping that somehow we would become robotic when we started our motherhood journey. Never quick to anger, temper always tempered, and chill. Oh, how I was going to be so chill about it all.
But, I’ve realized a very important truth now and that’s that I’m human, and it’s OK to show that to my kids.
I want them to see my cry, yell, stand up for injustice, sleep, be happy, dance, and be sad. I want them to see me working through my own emotions so that they will know that they can work through theirs.
But, if I’m being honest, the part that bothers me, is that I know that some of those negative memories will stick. That’s why we have therapy I guess.
I can torture myself with the thoughts of which memories they will have of me when I’m gone.
Will they remember the times we played games and went hiking and snuggled on the couch? Or will they remember the mom that traveled and sometimes put work first, and doled out chores on a Saturday morning?
In a perfect world, I want them to remember both (or all 15) types of moms that I am. Because that’s what makes me complex and human, after all.
Being one dimensional has never been that interesting in the history of forever. But, being emotionally honest is.
So, I guess my hope is that they’ll remember as much of all of me as they can.
I hope they’ll remember the good times, but also the sad ones. Because the sad ones mad the happy ones so much sweeter.
If they remember the depression and anxiety that plagued me, I hope they’ll also remember how I fought through that daily. For them.
It’s easy to plague ourselves throughout parenting with mom guilt (and dad guilt.)
But, instead, I hope that they remember the mom that was authentic. That stuck to her core values and lived a full, albeit sometimes highly emotional life. I hope they’ll remember my big heart that sometimes took things too seriously, and took on the emotions of everyone around me.
I hope they’ll remember the home we made together in a little house, on a quiet street, where laughter happened and crying too.
Because that life is a full one where we live, breathe, and grow together. Feeling all the emotions that this one beautiful life has to offer.