When my mom turned 45, I remember thinking,, “Wow, that is so old.” I was 15.
Now that I’m in my 44th year of life, I know 15 year olds have no idea what they are talking about.
Last week, I went to Plato’s Closet with my teen and succumbed to temptation while she tried on clothes. I closed the dressing room door and pulled on a cute medium top that I saw on the return rack and I literally got stuck in it. At one point, with my arms stuck over my head, I thought I might just have to buy the dumb shirt.
I reminded my middle-aged self that all mediums are not created equal.
Every time I see a young mother wrestling her kids into their carseats or juggling toddlers and a baby and a week’s worth of groceries, I’m grateful that I’m past that season. At least until I tell my teens they need to do their laundry, ground them from their phones or remind them stay on top of their summer reading and then I really miss nap time. And cribs.
This season of life is strange. It’s hard in a different kind of way. It’s less physical and more emotional.
Yesterday, my husband was cleaning out his sock drawer and found an old Kindergarten picture of our son. I smiled at the memory of him in the red, white and blue collared polo shirt. I turned it over to read the date. It was taken ten years ago. My son grabbed it and said, “Mom, you dressed me like a dork.”
Yes, yes I did.
I thought back to the mom I was ten years ago and one word came to mind: high-strung.
I worried constantly about everything.
Sure, I had firmer arms and thought my 30’s were way better than my 20’s, but I was an overprotective and overreactive and overbearing– then my 40’s happened and I got over it.
If I could say anything to my mom-self ten years ago, it would be calm down. Take motherhood down a notch. It’s going to be okay.
It won’t be perfect and neither will you, but your kids will be okay.
The messy rooms and dirty floors, the store-bought cookies, the broken screen-time rules, the mediocre dinners, the okay preschools, the hand-me-downs and homework folders we didn’t sign, the curriculum we chose, the college they pick, the broken hearts we can’t mend–all these things we lose sleep over–they won’t ruin our kids.
When we forget picture day and tooth fairy duties and the spelling test, when we are late for carline again or can’t find the poop smell in the house or the hamster, when we make them wear too-small shoes one more day, when we say no, when we let our kids down–they will survive.
Often their disappointment and failure, sadness and anger isn’t ruining them. It’s growing them up.
And they will be okay. You want to know why? Because we keep showing up.
And it turns out, that’s exactly what our kids need most. Moms that are there. Period.
So, momma, take a deep breath and let it out. Let it go. You are doing just fine.