As parents, it’s easy to see where our children need love. They need love when they’ve had a bad day at school. They need love when they missed the ball at practice. They need love when their brother tore the head off their favorite baby doll. And they need love when the dog won’t play with them after they spilled their noodles on the floor and when they lied about finishing their homework. The job of a parent might include the roles of chef, chauffeur, nurse, counselor, teacher, preacher, laundry-doer, and referee; but no matter which role you’re taking on, being a parent always involves dishing out love.
As moms and dads, we’re consumed with the needs of our children. We want to build their self-esteem and their character. We want to foster creativity and inspire faith. We try to teach them to play fair and share. We spend every waking moment creating this list of things to do just make sure we’re hitting the mark. But there is one thing we sometimes forget, and it’s really simple. We’re people too!
Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we don’t have our own inexplicable bouts of grumpiness. Being moms doesn’t make us exempt from overwhelming loneliness or feelings of failure. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to stop ourselves in the middle of our own destructive patterns and just let love in.
Yesterday I had to put a stop to my own negative self-talk. I’m not going to lie. The holidays got my health-kick a little off-track. I’m having a hard time feeling good about myself. I put back on my workout shoes, but I haven’t walked off all my holiday treats yet. At least it’s still January. I have time. But I went to pick up my kids from school and my little boy gave me the most excited look and he kind of shouted: “Mama! Why do you look like that?” I looked at Trenton and said “like what?” and I couldn’t believe what he said next. “You look like you just got home from a beauty contest!” Just then my little boy Jordan said “Mama always looks that pretty when she goes to work!”
I started to say “you boys are crazy” but then I decided to just smile, and own those compliments. My boys think their mama is as pretty as a beauty queen. How awesome is that? “Cookies for everyone!” I decided. “Flattery will get you everywhere today!!” Hey, sometimes mommies need love too.
I’d had a really busy day. In the course of 8 hours I managed to do my job at the school, while doing my new job as the editor of a political blog, while finalizing the paperwork to complete my student teaching- That’s 3 birds with one stone if anyone’s counting.
I also promised Blondie that I would go to her show and take some videos for an upcoming opportunity (I smell something big coming) and I had a ton of things to do in the hour I had between work and the gig. Honestly, I was just tired. We headed to the show and I forgot my sweater. In my defense, this is Texas, and winter only comes for a day here and an afternoon there. It never sticks around for long. Besides that, we were headed to an indoor venue, so I didn’t expect to be cold.
But, after the hour long drive to Austin and the fight through downtown traffic, I found myself freezing in a bar. The colder I got, the more I felt the scowl on my face grow. My husband walked in and tried to talk to me. I was snarky. I have a habit of being sarcastic when I’m uncomfortable, but sometimes bad habits need to be squashed.
I corrected myself. I made the effort to reach out and grab his arm. I apologized and blamed the cold air. Minutes later he returned from a 6th Street gift store with an overpriced Longhorn blanket in hand. He wrapped it around me. When I smiled at him, the grin he returned reminded me that all I have to do is let him love me. He tries all the time.
Today is a brand new day. I’m getting used to my new routine of pulling double-duty. It’s almost 3:00 and I just can’t wait to see what my children have in store for our adventures in the zoo. I’m sure they’ll do their best to get out of doing the dishes, but maybe they’ll tell me I look just like a princess when they do!
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