"My love is like a circle," this is what I tell my kids, when I'm not telling them I love them as big as the whole universe, or that they will never know how much I love them, because they will never be a mother.
Motherhood is as close as we can get to loving unconditionally. We put conditions on just about every other relationship there is, but our kids, oh our kids......we love them no matter. No matter what my kids excel at or not, I will be proud of them. Nothing they do or don't do could make me love them any less. It's just how it is.
This mothering gig is such an incredible blessing and opportunity that can at times be so hard. It's not the never ending laundry pile or legos in every nook and cranny that I am talking about, although those things can be overwhelming too. It's the living up to our own expectations of "perfect mother" that can wear me to tears of despair. I want to be it all; the patient, kind, crafty, on-top-of-it-all mom who always sings her kids into transition and only ever raises her voice in times where there could be danger.
But alas, there is no perfect mom. I yell at my kids, and have even been outright mean to them when I've been in a tizzy. One thing I know for sure though, is that my kids know how fiercely I love them (well as much as they can know, not being a mom and all). I make sure they know I am human, incapable of perfection, as much as I desperately want it. They know that I make mistakes....a lot of them, but that I am an open vessel, willing and wanting to change and grow into the better me that I know exists and badly wants to dominate the scene. I make sure they know that when I do have times where I crumble and act heinous, that it taints not the vast amount of love I have for them. I let them know I need forgiveness, that I need strength, that I am aware of how imperfect I am, that I feel the repercussions of my losing it perhaps more than they do. They hear me apologize to them, tell them how much I love them and they hear me ask for help; help from them to work together with me to make our transitions flow better; help from above and strength from within to overcome my unhealthy patterns. It is that which I hope they remember more than the actual flaws.
My kids will have their own unhealthy patterns that they took on from me or their papa and I can't stop that. I hope and pray that when they see me own my faults, pray for help, work on them and talk them through, that it will have a big impact on them. I pray that they will have acceptance for their own faults as well as the will to overcome them. The unconditional love for myself (or my husband for that matter!) does not come near as easy as the unconditional love for my children. I can see my kids struggling to love themselves and I find that this might be my biggest challenge; to show them how to self love. I can pack waste free lunches and give time and money to charity all day long as a way of setting good examples, but if they still see me struggle to love myself, they take it in on some level.
This mothering business, it brings up for us so much more than our relationship to our children. That's part of what makes it so hard and so beautiful. We are being catapulted into growth. We want to grow and be the best version of ourselves for the sake of them. When we choose growth, as a path to our better selves, we have to face our demons. Sometimes it's just easier to just put a bandaid on our wounds, rather than cleaning it out for it to heal properly. The trouble is, then it never really heals, it just gives the illusion of "better" until the bandaid is ripped off and the wound is actually bigger. Sometimes these wounds that are not taken care of turn to something bigger; ulcers, anxiety, depression, addictions.
I'm searching for divine balance between loathing myself for my unhealthy patterns as a means to actually stop doing them and loving and accepting myself right where I am.