All I ever wanted to achieve as a mother was to raise smart, happy, successful, gentlemen. And a confident, loving, smart and fulfilled daughter. But you know, the society we live in gives us parents a run for our money. The fact that we live in a society consumed with instant gratification and over-indulgence, where enough is just never enough, is just sickening. The clothes we just HAVE to have, the number of shoes we have in our closet, the number of sports or activities we put our kids in, the level of success we attain, how many vacations we take, how many followers we have, a 4.0 just isn’t enough for our kids so let’s shoot for a 4.8 GPA, how many credit cards we can keep up with, the amount of friends we have or parties we’re invited to or the number of degrees we have under our belt. The number of businesses we own. It’s just NEVER ENOUGH. What is it all for? Where does this need to attain more come from? Sometimes I think it’s to satisfy our enormous egos and mask our insecurities rather than fuel our souls.
My whole existence as a mother has been centered around what ELSE can I do. As much as I do, I never feel like it’s enough and I know most moms probably feel the same. But for me these feelings aren’t entirely a result of being sucked into over-indulgence but more so because of feelings of inadequacy. I know the pressures I’ve placed on myself to be SuperMom are directly related to my mom. I’ve always felt growing up, that no matter what I did or succeeded at or achieved, it was never good enough for her. So I better just keep trying. Keep doing more. And because of that, I’ve felt this enormous sense of obligation to raise EXCEPTIONAL human beings. I think as mothers, we all want that, right? But I know my position stemmed from this deep rooted notion that that I fought and fought that maybe it just wasn’t written for me in the cards. But how do I accept that. So I just kept trying and trying.
As I peel back the layers I get it. My mom and my husband’s mom were raised during a time when Blacks really had to push the envelope to prove themselves. There was an immense pressure to excel that their generation felt daily, so I get it…now. Now, they experience the stigma and shame of not having your child or grandchild “fit the mold” of being exceptional. There were so many times this was projected onto us maybe subconsciously, maybe not. So I began to just accept this as my life and just kept doing more and more and more because I wanted desperately for them to be proud and happy with what my husband and I created together. In some ways they were, but I always harbored these inadequate feelings that they were never satisfied with what we’ve accomplished individually AND as a couple AND has parents. So I keep doing and doing hoping that my kids’ successes will somehow make their grandparents happy and content with me, with us. But then you wake up one day, and you’re just tired. So very tired of trying to figure it out.
On Saturday, Mother’s Day Eve, I felt this enormous cloud come over me. IT just hit me. My need to shape and mold my children into these “perfect” little beings was doing nothing but making me feel helpless and defeated. Because instead of molding them, I needed to mold myself into the mom THEY needed me to be in order to raise their spirits. I felt so very heavy at that exact moment. It was Mother’s Day the next day and I was supposed to be celebrating myself for being this amazing mom but at that exact moment, I just felt like I failed. Why? Why would I feel like that because my kids ARE amazing. But I did, just for a short moment, and I questioned myself. My kids. Were they living up to their potential and if not, was it my fault? Did I teach them EVERYTHING I wanted to teach them? Were my sons’ being responsible? Making wise choices? Being the gentlemen I raised them to be? Was my daughter thriving like I imagined she would be? Or is she falling into the middle school trap of uncertainty and uneasiness. Does she love herself? So many questions about my role in their lives. What I did. Didn’t do. And this anxiety just started to build and build and it was definitely not the Happy Mother’s Day I anticipated. I secluded myself in my room for hours and just cried. At that moment, I just felt like I was doing everything wrong.
I started to watch Shefali Tsabary that I DVR’d on Super Soul Sunday and she said something so profound… “When we look at our children as an extension of who WE are, we unlock all the emotional baggage we carry from our childhood and try to deal with them from that vantage point. Surrender to the moment. Tap into what is for the highest good of our children.” So there it is. I’ve been operating out of ego. I was harboring all these insecurities from my childhood instead of marveling in the moment. Embracing all the goodness my 3 have brought into my life. Parenting out of fear and anxiety. Today, I’m letting it go and releasing the obligation to please people. I’m choosing to raise their spirits at this point, so I no longer care what that looks like to other people. They ARE perfect. They are MY Special Perfect Beings, specifically sent through me, not from me, to live THEIR best life…not mine. We’ve raised some amazing, thoughtful, smart, talented, multi-faceted, confident human beings who are good people. What more could I do? Really? Happy Belated Mother’s Day to me!
in love + light,
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