Can I make a confession?
I yell at my kids sometimes. I've never taken them to Disneyland. Often, my house is a wreck. At one son's last baseball game, he had to play outfield instead of his normal first base, because he missed two practices in a row--because I forgot to take him. My teenage son often doesn't like me. I'm not the "fun" mom, my daughter is often better with her younger brothers than I am, and I could go on and on.
Sometimes it's easy to feel like a complete failure when you are a mom. There is nothing like taking complete responsibility of another human being (or two or three, or...) that makes us see all of our own weaknesses so clearly. We certainly rub the rough edges off of each other.
But lately, I've learned a lesson that has completely changed my paradigm. Our family has been helping with two foster children recently, and it's made me rethink what it is to be a "good mom".
The children were removed from their home due to extreme abuse. It's a big case in our state. They were placed in our community with their aunt, who is currently in the final stages of graduating with her degree. Because she has so much on her plate, one thing led to another, and they have been spending the weekends with us for the last six weeks.
One is a younger boy, and the other is a teen girl, who acts much older because of the responsibility she has had to take on to protect her brother from abuse and make sure they had food to eat. It's all pretty intense.
We have been amazed at how well these two have integrated into our family. It's been relatively effortless and seamless. It's been kind of weird how easy it has been. We are still careful to keep all doors open, to make sure we keep ourselves and our own children safe from any negative behaviors that may have been learned, but so far, everything has been really great. They are fantastic kids.
One day, the girl opened up to me. She's been pretty open about the abuse, about how she's had to protect her brother, and other things. But this day, she opened up about all of her feelings.
"I've never known love before coming here. I've never known what a family could be like."
That hit my heart so hard. She has seen all us in all of our raw, unfiltered glory. She knows we bicker, she's been to our messy house, she's eaten our leftovers. But none of that mattered. What stuck with her, was seeing love for the first time. She's always loved and protected her brother, so he has known love. But no one has ever been there for her before. She has never seen a family and how it can be a loving, safe place. That's when it hit me:
All it takes to be a good mom is to love your kids.
I'm betting that you do that. That you love them fiercely. I'm also betting that you do a whole lot more than that. While there are a myriad of other things that we want to do for our kids, this is the most important. Everything else is extra.
So today, I want you to pat yourself on the back- in all of your (perhaps) yoga pants, muffin top, glory. Maybe you have spit up on the shoulder of your shirt from a baby who didn't sleep very well last night. Maybe your teen said something horrendously mean because you want to talk about his cell phone. Whatever your circumstances, I want you to celebrate all that you do for the love of your kids. Celebrate that you are giving them what only YOU can. That you are filling a space in their lives that NO ONE else can.
Because you ARE a good mom.
Hi, I'm Jen! I adore chocolate, I'd rather read than clean my house, and I haven't seen my abs in I-don't-know-how-long. But I love my husband and kids to death and try to Raise The Good within myself and my family by making wise and uplifting media choices and having a deliberate family culture. You are probably doing the same thing. Let's share what works with each other!
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