Do You Ever Wonder
Do you ever wonder if you are doing right by your kids? I think about this all the time. At the end of the day I have so many regrets.

I should have encouraged them to read more today.
I wish I had played Uno one more time.
I wish I hadn't forgotten to wash their underwear and socks.
I wish I had made them eat more vegetables today.
I wish I hadn't hidden in my room to read a magazine.
I wish I had asked them more questions about themselves.

And on an on. I feel this even more heavily because my children are adopted. Their birth families entrusted me with their child. Their child, for heaven's sake. What greater gift could you give to another human being? How high should my standards be for myself and for what my children should be achieving or experiencing or learning? How can I ever be at a place where I have done enough or be able to say, "Good job, me."

I am haunted by regrets and my mistakes. When I fail my kids or let them down, I regret not only my inadequacies as a parent but also what feels like a betrayal to my kids' family tree. I quake in the notion that I am not enough of a mom--to my children or their relatives. The reality is that I am not enough. "Enough" would be Carver and Lily and Zinabu living with their birth parents. In a perfect world, they would not be my kids. But because they are, and this world is not perfect and I am not perfect, I fight the regrets at the end of each day and vow to do better tomorrow. It's not much of a game plan, but it's all I've got right now.


Deirdre said...

Were you listening in on my therapy session this morning??

Cindy said...

Or my long conversations with friends??
I am feeling this with you...sigh

Chatter said...

We need to talk soon! You are such a wonderful mother Cathy. I will pass along what my hubby always says to me on my bad days "the fact that you are thinking about it proves how wonderful of a mother you are" (in so many words). I used to beat myself up all the time (have three kids in 32 months will do that to you). But all of the sudden it disappeared. I still have bad days but overall I've gained an appreciation for my strengths as a mother and I work on my weaknesses. It's better for me this way. You deserve it as well Cathy. You are an awesome mom!

hotflawedmama said...

Yeah i get this on one hand but on the other I've seen you and I've seen your kids and i've seen you with your kids and i can't say without hesitation...you do not lack a thing. truly.

also, why do our boys have that constant trace of boogers on their nose? i want someone to figure that out. :)

love ya.

jayme said...

The notion of perfect is silly. There's no such thing! and I truly was't kidding when I said that you are easily one of my biggest inspirations as a parent. I've had the honour of watching you interact with your family and was truly blown away by how effortless and natural those connections seem to you.

I think we're all our own worst critics (mostly because we're totally aware of all of those moments throughout the day when we could have done more, but didn't). But I also think that self-care (i.e. taking that time to read the magazine) and modeling balance (I can't play another game with you right now because I have to do xyz, but I promise that we will play again soon) are important components of truly good parenting.

I think it's important to teach our kids that while they might be the center of our world, that doesn't mean that the world revolves around them.

We all make mistakes and we all have regrets. I've spent most of the last 4 years feeling absolutely crushed underneath the guilt of taking my children away from their first family, their birth country and their birth culture only to have me as their mother. They deserve so much better.

But in these past 6 months or so, I've also realized that I'm what they've got, and as long as I'm doing the best I possibly can to do right by them, in the end, we should be okay.

I love you for your honesty, your compassion, and your dedication to always being the very best person you can.

krisVS said...

When people comment on how amazing our girls are (somehow implying we did a great job parenting)my first thought is "only by the grace of God" because I know how often we failed and what life together is really like on the inside. But on the days when you can look at things objectively give yourself credit for being there, listening (most of the time!), having dinner together, demonstrating what a loving marriage looks like, going to the library, noticing what's happening in the world, and so many more things you do naturally and wonderfully. While it's not a comparison, lots of kids don't have that. You're taking care of all the big things that really matter, so give up on the vegetables:)

Vivi said...

At night, when I lay in bed, I almost always rehash my day and wish for multiple do-overs. I feel an enormous amount of guilt over the kind of mother I WASN'T today, and pray that my kids will turn out ok in spite of me.

I always vow to make tomorrow better, then kick myself when I've screwed up at breakfast! I guess no one ever said being a mom is easy...I'll vouch for that.

In my humble opinion, you are an amazing mom. Amazing. You inspire me.