About a year ago, my sister was consoling me about a particularly challenging phase of motherhood that I was in the midst of. She recounted a story from earlier in the day when her 3 year-old was importuning her for some attention. Lisa, in the midst of mothering her other 3 children and running her household, reminded her little one that she had worked hard to spend some one-on-one time with her earlier that morning. In response, her sweet and fiery three-year-old shot back “Well, it wasn’t enough!”
I don’t know about you, but I definitely underestimated the number of days when my parenting would be met with that kind of response. I didn’t realize how, delivered at a particularly vulnerable time, comments like that could knock me to my worn-out mothering knees.
Yesterday was one of those days and as I wallowed in my deficit, I realized that I’m dealing with a recurring tendency: I measure my stature or success based on the needs or perspective of someone else. Now, with motherhood, I appreciate the honest feedback because I’m working to create a dialogue here. But at the end of the day, I will always come up short if I measure myself against anything other than what I have. Did I spend the time that I reasonably could? Did I offer love and connection when it was needful? Was I attentive when I could be? Did I muster up patience when I felt like the tank was empty? Those are probably the more reasonable benchmarks to use and with that in mind, I did just fine. I bet you did too :).