“Be the mom you want them to remember.”
Not long ago, my kids were outside playing in the driveway. My youngest (age 6), came in to get something, and I yelled to her from the kitchen that I was coming out soon to play, too.
She literally gasped.
I heard the child GASP.
She then ran outside where I could hear her shouting with excitement to her three older sisters: “YOU GUYS! Mom is coming outside to PLAY WITH US!!”
I smiled to myself in the kitchen, and in that moment, I realized I need to do more of that. I need to walk away from “what I should be doing” a lot more often than I do. I want to be the mom who is fun and happy and engaged.
THAT is how I want them to remember me.
But that’s not ALL I want them to remember…
When is the last time you dropped everything to have fun with your kids?
If it’s been a while since you belly-laughed and smiled so hard your cheeks hurt, now is the time.
No mom is perfect. We all make countless mistakes. None of us know what the heck we are doing as we blindly raise these little people and hope it all works out alright.
But as we moms stumble through this thing called motherhood, I know I DON’T WANT my kids to remember me with a phone constantly in my hand, always half-listening and distracted.
And I DON’T WANT to take life – and myself – so seriously that I fail to show them how important it is to let go sometimes… to be spontaneous, to be silly, to just be… and to just be WITH THEM.
I also want my kids to know that while they might be the most important part of my life, they’re not my entire life. I have other responsibilities and interests… and oh yeah – sometimes I NEED to be on my phone. (How do they think I coordinate the million rides they need?)
Patience is a virtue – they can wait sometimes. It’s not my job to drop everything and run to them every time they ask.
Sometimes Mom is in a bad mood. Sometimes I don’t FEEL LIKE playing a game or watching TV with them even though it’s Friday night. Sometimes I don’t have it in me to be the fun, carefree mom.
And yes, sometimes I really would rather spend my time folding laundry or cleaning or organizing just because I’m going to LOSE MY FREAKING MIND if I have to look at that mess for ONE MORE SECOND.
So forgive me if their childhood isn’t all baking cookies and hugging. There WILL be plenty of that mixed in – I will make sure of it – but there will also be balance.
There will be realism.
There will be family trips and movie nights, but there will also be scolding, life lessons, and chores. My kids will witness arguments and they will be part of arguments.
Because real life is perfectly imperfect – and so are we.
In the end, I’m not here to be their friend or their activity director.
I’m here to be their mother.
So when they remember me – when they remember their childhood – I hope they recall a mom who did the best she could.
I hope they remember a mom who was always there for them – someone who DID put the phone away when it really mattered.
I hope they remember a mom who was their biggest fan – who sat in the audience at their concerts, plays, and recitals, and on the sidelines at their games – always proud, waving, and encouraging.
I hope they remember a mom who supported them – someone who was never too tired at bedtime to bend over them in bed, talking for as long as they needed, while helping them work through their issues (even when she really was too tired).
I hope they remember a mom who could find a way to say “I’m sorry” no matter how hard that might be – someone who could admit when she was wrong or could have been better. Because in life, we all make mistakes and then start again.
Even though there are times when I yell and nag, I hope above all else, they’ll picture me laughing – the throw-your-head-back-and-howl kind of laughter. The infectious kind of laughter that automatically makes others laugh, too.
I want them to know how happy I have always been that they are mine.
And more than anything, I hope they remember feeling loved – knowing there isn’t another person on this earth who can love them quite like their mother.
So when I ask myself how they will remember me, I know their image of me will be flawed. No doubt they will conjure up some memories that make me cringe. As a mother, I already want more do-overs than I could ever count.
They will surely remember the not-so-good things, but if their childhood was all rainbows and smiles, I wouldn’t really be preparing them for the real world anyhow. Parenting is a messy business.
When they think back to these years, though, I want the good to outweigh the bad. That’s all any of us can hope for, really. Life is full of ups and downs. Nobody said parenting (or growing up) was easy, but I hope my kids will reflect back on this time and picture a mom who makes them proud.
How will your child remember you?
Now is the time.
Be the mom you want them to remember.
And know that we’re ALL perfectly imperfect.
You can find more posts about my experience as a mom here:
How Having One More Baby Has Changed Me as a Mother
I Can Feel It Happening – My Daughter is Slipping Away
Hello Preschool. Hello Mom Freedom!
Learning to Treasure Even the Most Ordinary Moments as a Mom
If you’d like to keep up with me and my blog (I’d love that!), please follow along via Facebook, Instagram (get to know the “real me” through my Instagram stories), Pinterest, or Twitter.
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Christy-this is post is beautiful (as always) and I found it at the perfect time, as I’ve been struggling recently to balance out how to mother without being indulgent OR neglectful. Reading this helped me start to reframe the expectations I have for myself as a mother. :) Thanks, my friend!
…ugh-not sure if this post will get to you, as I just noticed that I have to do a little basic math in order to make it publish…haha WISH ME LUCK ;)
You are so funny. Great job on the math… this note reached me! I’m the slowpoke who takes a while to respond! So glad this post resonated with you and helped you hit the “reset” button. Sending lots of love your way as always! xo
Hi Christy! Your blog is just beautiful. You’re so much of what I aspire to be as a mother and blogger. I’m a UPenn grad turned stay at home mom of two littles two and under. I recently turned to blogging as an outlet and I love your honest take on motherhood. Thanks for serving as inspiration. Meredith
Hi Meredith! What a kind note – thank you for taking a moment to share it. You are one busy mama with two little ones! All the best. Take care! xo