A while back in the car we were listening to the book-on-tape, Half Magic. Written in the 1950s, the mother in the story is a hardworking, stoic widow who hides all emotion from her children. At one point in the story the children are shocked to see her cry because Mother never shed a tear. Mylo piped up from the back seat. Yeah but my mom cries a lot. No judgment. Just a fact. That’s how we roll in our house. Mom loses it sometimes. In front of everyone. Mom also apologizes on a regular basis. For words shouted. Words hurtful. Words that break down instead of build up. No words when verbal assurance was needed. Born out of fatigue, frustration, a bad mood, insecurities.
And you know, a few years ago, a comment off the cuff like that from one of my kids would have sent me spinning down into a spiral of guilt and worry. I’m not enough. I’m no good at this mom gig. My kids are going to need therapy. But now I found myself laughing. My husband squeezed my hand and smiled. He understands. We can’t hide our flaws from our kids–I’d go so far as to say we shouldn’t–but we can choose to deal with them in a way that sets a positive example. We can wipe away those tears, stand up, take a deep breath, and start again. And they can see that, and it is okay. It’s more than okay. It’s an important life lesson.
So this theme of being enough is something that finally seems to be sinking in for me. (It only took 10 years!) And what I’m discovering now is that as soon as we can accept that we are truly enough, it frees us up to try to be more, to be better. The pressure is off; that fear of failure that maybe roped us in, held us back, is gone. Now, instead of feeling like I have to be better, I simply want to be better. For myself and, equally important, as an example to my kids. I want to show them what it looks like to take responsibility. To challenge myself and chase after dreams–even if I don’t succeed. To feel down but to get back up. To care for my body, my mind and my soul.
My kids are at an age where they’ll remember me, as I am. Right now. Imperfect and flawed. But that doesn’t scare me anymore. It motivates me, and it excites me. It motivates me to love myself, to accept myself, and to better myself. We are only human and life is a process so don’t be afraid to let your kids see you – and remember you – as a work in progress. Just keep moving forward, one tiny step at a time.
P.S. This same line runs through our spiritual lives as well. Exhausted, frustrated, confused and terrified, we draw near to God and He draws near to us. His Grace, his unconditional Love? It means that we are enough, just as we are. It’s DONE, finished, and nothing we do can make Him love us less–or more. We rest in that; in that knowledge of Grace, of Enough. And then we get up and move forward, one tiny step at a time.
Ida Fischer has been involved in MOPS for 2 years and now serves as a Discussion Group Leader. She is married to Maarten and mother to Sam (9), Noa (7), and Mylo (4). She enjoys everything outdoors, reading, and spending time alone to paint. You can find her blog and artwork at Ida Fischer Art and Illustration.