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Motherhood is days and years filled with so many emotions. Guilt being one of them. My guilt is mostly in regards to the time not spent with my daughter because I am working during the day, and of course for not spending enough “quality” time when I do have the chance, namely and weekends. I also have guilt for how I handle moments that are particular challenging for any parent. And for those days and times, this is what I would like to tell my daughter.

 

Dear Emerson,

I am not perfect, but I am trying really hard to be. Sometimes I am worried that my drive for perfection is causing self-induced anxiety, but that is just who I am, a good and bad part of my personality. There are days that I know I could do things better and just be better. There are moments that I see how my sharp, tired responses to your generally curious questions can feel biting. I see it on your face. I hear it in your silence. I want you to know that I hear you when you scream “you’re not listening to me” –  even though it may feel like I have tuned you out. And when you look at me with tears in your eyes and declare “you are the worst mother, you are not my favorite” it breaks my heart a little… and I question if maybe the words are true. But I am trying. I really am.

I am trying desperately to make your childhood fun and loving, all the while I am constantly worried if I am raising a caring, bright, self-motivated, and kind human. Between all the fun activities, playdates and outings, I am trying to create as many amazing memories as I possibly can, but when I see you falling asleep on Fridays at 5:30 in an exhausted heap, I worry that I am over-stimulating you. Then of course there are nights that I am so tired from work that the thought of playing a game with you feels like a chore, and not the fun activity it should be.  I don’t want to just throw you in front of the tv and forfeit our quality time and so I play the games with you, but you can tell that my patience is shorter when I try to coach you through game-playing etiquette and my tone is less than loving. I feel guilty that I am not enjoying every single moment with you because these days will be fleeting and then I will wish I could have them back. And despite all that I know, I still make mistakes.

I obsess about your safety more than I ought to. I’ve even thought of micro-chipping you because the thought of losing you terrifies me more than anything in this world. When I yell loudly (and possibly crazily) at you after you run from my grasp in a public place, I know that you feel embarrassed and think that I am mean, but it is because my fear is so paramount that my reaction is impulsive, even desperate. I could do better. I could. I can try to get down to your level and calmly explain all the reasons why you need to stay by my side and the consequences if you don’t. But I’m human and sometimes in the moment, the emotions are stronger than the rationale.

There are so many things that I do wrong or ways that I could have done things differently. I see this. Typically I see this in hindsight, but I do recognize all the ways I should have been better. And I feel so guilty. Guilty for doing too much, or not enough. I try not to dwell on these mistakes, but learn from them for “next time.” Sometimes the lesson of experience and guilt is well taught, sometimes it is not. I see all the ways that I am rocking out this parenting life, and all the ways that I have lots of room for improvement. And I will never stop trying to be better for you.

More importantly than what I see in the error of my ways is what I see in front of me. My dear daughter, I see you. I really do. I see the vivacious, funny, smart, willful, bold little girl that you are becoming. I wonder everyday how I can continue to foster these amazing traits and help you round out some of the harder edges. I love you for all that you are and all that you are not. And I  hope that you see me too, if not today, then one day. I hope that you see your mother as passionate, loving, and always striving to be better. I hope that you understand that though I am far from perfect, my love for you is perfect in everything that it can be. I hope that you will be better than me. In fact, I know that you will be better than be me. And from this, I know that you will gain appreciation and empathy knowing that your mother, is just a woman, taking it one day at a time and trying her very best.

Love, 

Your Mother

 

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