My little girls, I want you to know that YOU MATTER. You are beautiful; you have purpose; YOU MATTER. How do I communicate this so you know without questioning that YOU MATTER?
Friday nights are our family’s movie night. I cherish these times together as a family, but I recently began teaching a class on the first Friday of every month at the Hamilton YMCA (it’s not a fitness class — that is fellow CMB contributor and exercise aficionado Jama Oliver’s job). This past Friday when I was loaded up and ready to go, my 7-year-old stopped me at the door and posed this leading question: “What’s more important: teaching your class or being with your family?” She could certainly have a future in law.
Surely, she wasn’t questioning my love for her?!!
Before I gave into the guilt she thought she could use for her favor, I reminded myself of two things: First, I do my best (and yet I often fail) to show my kids they are loved, understood, wanted, acknowledged. Apparently, I must be doing something right because she knew the answer to that question or she wouldn’t have asked it. Because she knows I value her and spending time with our family, she thought I would cancel my class at the last minute and stay home.
Then I reminded myself of the second thing: YOU MATTER. Yes, YOU, mom. YOU MATTER.
You, who is under the demands and stresses of your job all day, who picks up your kid from daycare, then feels guilty about going to McDonald’s before ballet, who does bath time and then bedtime, and then stays up late to make Easter treat bags and pack lunches for the next day: YOU MATTER.
You who didn’t get a wink of sleep last night, who makes three meals for five people day in and day out, who does endless loads of laundry, who hasn’t sat down to eat or read or rest all day, who knows no quiet, who wipes butts and boogers and tables and tears: YOU MATTER.
Moms are doing everything we can to show our kids we love them. But we often struggle with doing one of the best things we can do for them: caring for ourselves.
Just look at some of my fellow CMB contributors’ posts if you need evidence: Take Care of Yourself, Momma; This Year I’m Taking Care of Me, Taking Time for Yourself. Yes, Really, to name a few. I am terrible at showing my kids how loved and valued they are when I don’t do it for myself. They absorb everything from me, even my mood, so a happy mom makes for happy kids.
Dear, precious momma, please let go of the guilt.
The fact that your kids know it is there and will try to use against you, shows you are doing your best. And whatever your best is: It is enough. YOU are enough. YOU MATTER. Loving your kids to death is not the same as working yourself to death. Take a break. Go for a walk. Enjoy a nap. Get takeout for dinner. Go to a movie with friends. The kids will survive.