How big is my love? A Letter From Your Working Mom. Part Two
When I started writing this post, it was just supposed to be cathartic. An open letter to my kiddos about being their working mother. My daughter has been struggling with how much I work. And her angst is almost more than I can bear at times. When I started writing, I realized I had so much to say! What a surprise--a writer with a lot to write about. 💁
This is part two of this two-part letter to my two incredible kiddos. If you haven’t already, read part one here. The story continues below.
Dear, children who I love.
The days where I have to choose between you and my responsibilities at work are heartbreaking. But please know…
I am here for you, anytime and anywhere.
Some days I know that going to school is just not what you want to do. And others, feel just too overwhelming. I get it. There are many days I feel the same about work or other responsibilities, and while I want you to learn how to push through the times when you don’t feel like doing the things we ask you to do or dealing with kids, friends, and teachers, I also want you to know that I am here for you. No matter what, if you really need me to step in, or need me to show up, I will be there. If you’re sick and need me to take care of you, I will always stay with you gladly and be by your side to nurse you back to health. If you’re nervous, insecure or scared, I’ll show up to take your hand and help you through it. I may not be there for EVERY moment, but if you ever need me, I will drop everything and move mountains to be by your side.
What happens at work stays at work.
I know that when I head off to work each morning, rushing around, getting myself and you ready for the day, stuffing a few bites of breakfast in my face, trying to do your hair--while pulling on my boots, quickly squeezing in a kiss and hug before I'm off--I know it may seem like I’m heading off to a place that is more exciting and more important than you. But I NEED you to know that any day, any time, I would always rather be hanging out with you. And, while I love my work and my career is important to me, you are the most important, unique and valuable piece of my life. So with that said, I want to give you a little peek into what I do when I’m not with you. It may seem like I am off chasing unicorns and eating ice cream or bouncing on a giant trampoline somewhere, but I promise, you are likely having way more fun in your day--whatever you may be doing, then I am...with the exception of girl’s night out of course. So let me give you a glimpse into my work days: My days at the office consist of sitting at a desk, writing and doing tasks on my computer, going to meetings, rushing around to get my responsibilities done, then dragging myself away at some point, even though I didn’t get it all done, so that I can see your shining faces, unwind, and remind myself to take a moment to breathe, just be, enjoy you both, and your dad. The best parts of my day are when I am with you and our family. That my darlings will never change.
I am not perfect, and will mess up...a lot.
Perfection is something most moms strive, and very few of us (if any) can accomplish. And why? What is it about being perfect, or putting on a perfect front that attracts us women to trying so hard to be a symbol of perfection at all times? It’s impossible to achieve and only makes us incredibly disappointed. So I am going to admit a big secret to you now: I am far from perfect. I am going to mess up in mothering you. I’m going to do things that will cause you pain. I’m not always going to be there when you need me. And, please know, this is not because I don’t want to be a good mom, or take care of you. I would never intentionally hurt you or disappoint you. But the reality is that I am a flawed human, and I am figuring out this motherhood thing as I go. So, please, if you can, forgive me for not being perfect. And know, that in my imperfection, I do love you more than anything in the entire universe, and that love is the perfection I hope to give you.
What I hope to give you.
You know what’s the absolute worst? Feeling like you think I don’t love you or care about your well being. I’m far from a perfect mother, but I never ever want you to feel like I don’t love you to the moon and back. What I really hope to show you, through my example, and help you to develop--more than anything else--are these five qualities. Everything else in my experience is icing on the cake.
Kindness - In a time where partisanship, comparison, and public accomplishment are promoted and pushed on our children and us, I hope beyond hope, that I can help you to grow up and be a kind person. Being kind doesn’t mean that you are a pushover, or cannot have an opinion. But, loving people are able to put themselves in another's shoes and that is what will help our world and the future world be a better place.
Empathy - Believe it or not (and I bet as you get older you’ll believe it more), one of my most significant flaws is that I am not the most empathetic person. Whew, the secret is out! My lack of empathy has gotten me into trouble lots of times because, without it, you’re less likely to see all sides of a situation and make a lot of assumptions. Another way of putting it, is to ‘put yourself in someone else's shoes.’ In any situation, at any time in life, whether it be at work, with a family member, with your partner or with your kids, I hope you will dig deep in the tough spots and think first about how you might re-think the situation from an empathetic standpoint. It’s amazing how quickly a grudge or issue lifts if you lot at it from the other person’s point of view.
Accountability - I meet far too many adults and children who don’t choose to take responsibility for their own actions. I am guilty of this too. Showing up and being able to be accountable for your decisions and actions is part of being a responsible and trustworthy person. To me, accountability includes, showing up on time, getting the work done you say you will, making sure to be a team player with friends, partners and at work, and owning your mistakes when you make them. You never what’s going to come back to bite you later...but more importantly, being accountable is just the right thing to do!
Courage - Let me be clear, please don’t confuse being courageous with being hot-headed or willing to take unnecessary risks. Courage sometimes means keeping your mouth shut until it’s the right time, or letting a situation that irks you go because your involvement will not make it better. That said, courage can also take the form of standing up for what’s right, speaking out against what’s wrong--even if it’s inconvenient--and trying your hardest to make decisions based on your own moral compass. One of the greatest gifts my mom and dad gave me was the ability to see right from wrong, and the courage to do something about it. I watch you two day in and day out, and I already know that you both have kind hearts and level heads. Let these guide you.
Resilience - If you fall down, get back up--after a good cry of course. If you fail or make a decision that does not end up being the right one, take responsibility and move on. If someone doesn’t like you, or you feel judged, persevere. Your world is what you make of it. And each day is a new and fresh opportunity to put your best foot forward and show the world what you’re made of, and who you really are. Of all of the traits I hope to see develop in you, resilience is one of the most important.
You are so strong, my loves, and control your own destiny. And I will be here for you throughout the journey to be your biggest cheerleader, to comfort you when you are down, to pick you up when you want to quit, to give you tough advice when needed, and to make mistakes along with you as I figure the whole parenting thing out. Please forgive me for not always getting it right. And please know I love you more than life itself.
Your Mama 💜
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