Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Today my youngest leaves the nest during the day and begins his journey through kindergarten. It is one of the many "firsts" we parents experience. Every fall you will see your social media feeds over taken with obligatory first day of school pics and throw back posts and the "time flies" quotes all over your pages. You may feel the need to click "like" and scroll past or you may simply avoid your pages all together at this time of year as you will be bombarded by 'Mom Posts.' You will drive to work in the mornings and see moms weeping at bus stops as they bid farewell to their little people. We will have tears on our cheeks and sadness in our eyes. You may wonder, why such a fuss? So why do we do it? Why do we post pics and share these moments? And maybe most importantly, why do we cry over back to school? Why do we get all emotional over what seems as simple as hopping on a bus and taking off to school as we all did? I do not speak for all mom's with sobbing wet cheeks at the bus stop and in the class room, but I know I speak for myself and perhaps a few other moms out there when I answer this. My baby is leaving the house. My youngest child. My last child. That is the obvious part. The not so obvious part is the part that is happening in my brain. The questions the thoughts the racing psychosis that is motherhood. 11 years ago I made the announcement I was pregnant. Like so many new moms I spent endless hours reading books, articles, blogs, news, everything about parenting I could get my hands on. I made plans. I new how it would be. I new I would raise my children right! I knew how I would do it and that I would stay home with them and teach them to read. That my children would learn the piano by age 5 and dance and speak five languages. I planned that they would be the best. I knew that no matter what people said, I would be the best mom I could be. Because in the beginning, we ALL have a plan. Then, your baby goes to Kindergarten. For years you have spent every waking moment doing what you could, the best you could to be the best mom you could be. Then your baby steps into that school. Gone. Then you cry. Just like I am crying while I type these words. You cry because that plan you had, never existed after you delivered your baby. You cry because suddenly you question everything. "Did I do it right? Was I the best mom I could be? Where did time go? Did I play enough? Did I do enough?" And then as if we want to punish ourselves, we answer our questions, "I didn't do it right. I wasn't the best mom I could have been. Time has gotten away from me. I should have played more. I didn't do enough." Yes. We torture ourselves. That plan we had in the beginning was a great idea, but life happens. Our kids are born with personalities and traits that we can shape and we can influence but they still grow and change and adapt into the young people they will become. The stay at home mom I wanted to be was not the working mom I became. The always patient and calm, rational and sane mother I pictured in my head was a far cry from the ever so emotional and at times irrational and impatient mother I in fact became! But I am their mother. We mothers do the best we can. The life we envision is rarely the life that is in front of us. The first day of school every fall is a moment for us to ponder our choices, look back on our triumphs and failures. It is a time to try to accept that we truly have done the best we can. The best we could. Whether we work or stay home; we struggle every day. Our Facebook and Instagram posts rarely show the truth of the emotions mothers experience every day, every minute. We are women. We rise and we fall like the tides. We hold our children as close as we can for as long as we can and we never feel like we did all we could. We always feel like we can do better. Mom's, I implore you to accept yourselves. You must know that we all have days, weeks, even months where we feel like we could have, should have done more and done it better. But please know, I believe you have all done wonderfully. If your child cries or clings to you when you leave him at school, don't feel like you failed him. Know that you raised a child who loves you and appreciates you. If your child doesn't cry, but instead rushes to leave you behind as mine did, know you raised a child who is independent and brave. If your child doesn't run ahead or cry but is hesitant, know you raised a child that is cautious and thoughtful. None are failures. All are truly successes. So we must let go. Continue to do the best we can knowing we are not the only ones doubting it all. We will post our pics on Facebook. we will talk it out with our friends. Cry it out moms. Let it flow! Lets drink our coffee this morning then raise a glass (or a whole bottle) of wine to ourselves this evening. Because we did the best damn job we could. Then we will hug our kids when they get home tonight and do it all again tomorrow. Because that's who we are. We love them endlessly.