“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” —Jill Churchill
Earlier this week I was doing my normal after work routine – quick inventory of kitchen, pick out dinner, be tackled by toddler, start cooking, dance party to the Trolls soundtrack, dishes, so on – as I was cooking I heard the sound of pots and pans being strewn on my floor. Ugh!
Almost instantly I was frustrated. Kiddo was in the cabinets again and I would have to rewash the pots for the fourth time that week. Ok so maybe I don’t have to wash the pots and pans every single time they touch the floor but it makes me feel better to do it. Otherwise, ew, just ew. In that moment I felt like I needed three more arms.
I was so done with that day. So ready for bed time. The mental exhaustion was setting in hard and all I wanted was to snuggle up and watch How I Met Your Mother while eating an ice cream drumstick. I was so focused on my negative feelings in that moment I didn’t even notice what was going on around me.
Finally after a good few minutes I looked down and realized my toddler was mimicking everything I did. With a small array of pots and pans and a make up brush she somehow snagged from the bathroom she was stirring up invisible pasta just like me, her mom. She was even swaying her little hips as she bounced along to the third rendition of “Hair Up” that hour.
Right there and then every frustration melted with the butter in my pasta pan and I felt overwhelming love.
Every mother has this happen at one point or another, and often in many cases, but this was big one for me because I don’t think she’d ever done something like this before. Only recently did my little one show interest in wearing my shoes, doing her hair like I do mine (so just brushing it…), or any form of imitation. It’s always shocking to look up and see your little baby suddenly acting not so baby-like anymore but it is also indescribably heart warming.
When she saw me looking she squealed with joy! She was so proud. So was I. She held up the little brush she was imagining as a stirring spoon for me to taste test and just grinned at me like it was the best thing in the world to see me smile back at her.
As I went back to finishing up dinner I couldn’t help but reflect on that moment. Before I was so negative and upset at small, insignificant things I didn’t see that she was watching me closely and emulating each action. I couldn’t help but worry too that she’d start emulating my moods as much as movements. That someday soon she’d dwell on the bad like I so often find myself doing that she’d miss the little beauties each day.
It’s easy for me to get lost in thought or let negative emotion overwhelm me and more important now than ever that I overcome those challenges. Not just for my own happiness but so I can show my daughter how to do the same for herself someday.
I know I can’t hide emotion from her, that would be just as damaging as letting emotion overflow unchecked around her. It’s a balancing act. I won’t always do it well enough but hopefully I will remember this moment and be able to check myself, correct, and move forward.
Appreciate the little moments, let the little negatives float away, and enjoy some pasta while you’re at it. ❤️