To my dear children.
Wassup. ? It’s your mother here… the lady who supplies you with food and rolls her eyes occasionally at you. Who watches you when you’re not looking and smiles lovingly at you.
I love you in all your perfect glory. Even though, sometimes, my love can be imperfect.
I try. I’ve tried to be perfect, medicated myself, mediated to myself, meditated to myself….worked hard making you perfect for everyone else…have you all shiny and clean and never complain about how hard it is… but I can’t. I can’t do it.
And as your mother, as for any mother, I’m in the limelight…The front burner, the catbird seat… the spotlight for criticism. Any way I treat you, anything I say to you, whether it’s good or bad, it’s bad to someone. I am in the hot seat for judgement.
I’m too much like your friend, not enough like your parent. Too firm not gentle enough, too soft, not assertive enough. I let you run free too much, I helicopter too much. I speak too softly, I don’t react quick enough, I react too quickly. I overreact. They’ll never see how some days you just break me or you scare me thinking you’re in danger. So I yell. “She’s too assertive.” They just see me as a crazy mother. “I would never yell at my child, or lose control” they stare.
Strangers make judgements. Friends make judgements. Family makes judgement. Everyone judges. Some verbalise, and some say it when your back is turned. It’ll never stop.
When all the voices are quiet though, there will always be one. The inner voice. The inner critic. The most harsh voice I hear, that reflects on the day once I am in bed and tells me all the ways I could have done better. The ways I should have appreciated every second and not rolled my eyes. The one who follows the perfect mothers, the voice that says maybe I should try a little harder then letting you run around on tracksuits with elastic ankles at the bottom and put you in designer clothes. Not let you run around with your crazy boofy hair or snots hanging down from your nose. Take photos with light filters on it with white backgrounds. Google how to cook the perfect meals, google how to have a glamorous house, perfect learning toys, present myself as perfect. Spend every minute perfecting our lives, but it’s just not me.
Every day I face the internal conflict of trying to be the best I can. While trying to not let the demons of my past affect how I raise you now. The demons that reared their ugly head when you entered this world. Ones I left sleeping for so long I forgot about them until I had you to think about.
I do everything in my power to be the best for you both. I live my life for you both. Every action and every movement is used to benefit you. I overthink all of those actions and movements if they don’t seem perfect enough to have let you grow stable and healthy. Only gentle methods, only fresh fruit. But sometimes you get chicken nuggets and fish fingers and whatever I can find in the cupboard to keep you full until next time. Sometimes I break. Sometimes I know I’m not perfect and sometimes that makes me too exhausted to try any further and I just need those moments to myself, or I just need to yell because I’m scared. Or I just need to not be perfect.
I can’t change who I am. Some days I’ll share in your imagination, and some days I’ll have no patience for it . I am strong and I’m in charge, I’m assertive and I’m tough. I am soft and I’m a pushover and I’m calm. I have the good days and I have the bad days. I hope you will see that all of this, as imperfect as it is to me, can be perfect to you, as you are perfect to me. I hope you can accept me, and understand me, and love me unconditionally like I love you.
I hope this teaches you to accept yourself on good days and bad days, and know that even though you may feel your imperfections, you are perfect in all your glory. And when the day comes that you feel you’re in the hotseat, the front burner, the limelight on centre stage, you will be proud enough of yourself and all that you are, to take a bow.