Parenting

Being a mom is hard… Every move is difficult. This morning my daughter wrapped her arms around me and held on so tight when I told her I had to leave for work. “Don’t leave me mommy” she said. You could hear in her voice she really meant it.

She woke up thinking I’d be mad at her because she woke me up in the middle of the night. At bedtime she told my partner “My mom would kill me if she knew that” when I really wouldn’t do anything other than set an expectation. These words hurt me because what does she think of me? Am I mean? Or scary? Does she anticipate me to be mad all the time? What am I doing wrong that makes her feel this way?

We just moved to a new house. My daughter has fluctuated between feelings of excitement, fear, and loss. Now we are here, our new home. She’s scared at night and I have to remind myself that her fear isn’t new. That bedtime has always been rough and I can’t blame a transition for that. Nor can I be upset with myself for having her move into a new safe and loving home, with two people to care for her instead of one.

Yet, this morning I find myself struggling with it. Wondering if I made the move too soon or racking my brain for how I could have made the transition easy for her. Which leads me to think about everything else regarding my sweet girl. Like, why don’t I sit with her and do her homework WITH her? Am I supposed to let her read alone for 20 minutes, or should I have her read to me? Why do I struggle with giving my all to her when she needs it? Why do I get so annoyed at bedtime when she calls for me over and over? How can I keep her from struggle and why does it hurt me so much when she is having a rough time?

I know I’m over thinking. I know there are very clear and rational answers to all of these questions. I know that sometimes I can do her homework with her, but I also need to teach her how to do it independently. I know that I can’t give her my all 100% of the time, because I’m still a person with my own needs and sometimes those needs to be met before I can be better for her. I know that I’m tired at night and just want some time to relax, and that it makes sense why I’d be annoyed about getting up several times to answer the same questions and say the same things over and over. I know that struggle is a part of human life, and without it she can’t be a well rounded adult.

I guess sometimes it takes saying (or writing) the answers for me to believe them. I’m not a bad mom just because she had a rough night and a rough morning. I’m not a bad mom for taking care of myself. I’m not a bad mom and that statement in itself is enough. I am a very good mother. And I take very good care of my daughter, always putting thought and care into every action and move I make it. I reflect afterwards and I try to be better with any mistake I make. I’m teaching her how to be a woman one day. Through actions and words. I can’t teach her to second guess herself based on someone else’s challenges or emotions. All I can do is greet her after school with a hug, and give her grace and patience as she’s learning to navigate life. And maybe do the same for myself.

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