Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Less than perfect

I admit I’m not a perfect mother.

I wish at the end of the day, I can see all the bathwater that has sloshed out of the tub and likely making its way down cracks in tile and through the subflooring, and not angrily bark at the kids (who are at least in the tub and getting clean). After I bark and they are settled into their beds as I read their bedtime stories, I imagine how I could have handled it differently: with less anger, more love, and more humor.

I wish I could make them do things that they don’t want to do without the aid of bribery or sheer parental authority force. Like being creative and using Jedi mind tricks. Like being a positive shaping force instead of a strong-arming wet blanket. I manage to do this well sometimes, and others…well, I default to those methods which take the least time and energy.

I wish I could always be 100% attuned to them and their needs when we’re together, instead of being preoccupied with what I’m doing on the computer or the laundry or the person on the other end of the phone line. I realize this sometimes only after they raise their voice to tell me something again. Or act out to get my attention.  This always makes me feel guilty, vowing to try harder.

I wish I could put aside all of my stresses – and there are many big ones I deal with every day –when it comes to taking care of them, instead of letting those stresses spill over messily into my precious family time.

I have friends whom I think are better mothers. I imagine: what would she do in this situation? Or how would she handle this? Probably with more patience, I think. Less frustration, most likely. More accepting, I bet. This helps me be better in the moment, or sometimes the moment has unfortunately passed, but I’ll try to remember for next time.

I’m not a perfect mother. I’m a work in progress. But, I hope my children know how much I love them, and how much I think of my own imperfections, so that one day, we all could not be prouder of the mother I have become.

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  1. In my work and in my life and in my work-life balance, I think... what would KC do. And it's pretty darn close to perfection.

  2. Cecelia used to really get onto me when I didn't hear her for the first time. Especially in the car, when I am driving; you know, paying attention to the road so we all don't get killed. I was wracked with guilt, until I remembered all of the times I called her and she was reading or making bracelets or chilling on the couch and I had to say HER name 10 times. And if Jack's on his ipad? Forget it. So I stopped feeling guilty and pointed out to them that none of us can be 100% present all the time.

    I go to a week long conference away from my kids once a year for CME, always have. Last week was that week. It always surprises, touches, and tugs at my heart with how much the kids miss me - making gifts and calling with sweet messages and snuggling closer at reading time when I return. I think it is good for all of us to realize how much we mean to each other and how not to take that constant presence for granted.

  3. Hi,
    I am applying to medical school this summer. I am a real estate investor with several properties that I own and manage in Portland, three little kids (ages 3, 4, and 5) at two different schools, and I am in school, and studying for the MCAT that I will take in a all of you, a busy, studying mom with many imperfections and lots of love.
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said how you think at the end of the day how of you could make these trying situations different the next time. That's all we can do, learn from our experiences, knowing that our children are our number one priority, and taking that extra time at the end of each day to reflect on the negative instances. How else will we learn to hone these truly amazing relationships with the loves of our lives?
    ...and when it becomes too much to handle, find a good book to fall asleep to, like: "Raising your Spirited Child", or "10 days to a less defiant child". . . study your children like you study the human body, and success will come.


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