It's true. And often times, those insightful moments can be the most humbling few seconds of my day.
I am not a perfect mom.
I get frustrated with small things.
Small feet that move slowly.
Angry with learning moments.
I am an average mom.
Laundry piles high above my head.
I clean inconsistently.
Some days I let the kids watch way too much TV.
I seek out alone time when it would be an ideal chance to be with my little ones.
I sweat the small stuff.
I cry in front of my kids.
I yell when I shouldn't.
I can feel helpless, ineffective, a failure.
I do one thing really well. I love my kids. I adore my kids. But they are not perfect either. Who wants to be perfect anyway? It's our imperfections, our ability to recognize our flaws, that makes us real. It makes us humble. It makes us better....better moms, dads, kids, people.
When I have a "could have been a better mommy" moment, I say I'm sorry. I swallow my pride, go to my kids, hold their hands and say, "I'm sorry. I should have tried to use my patience. Just like I ask you to do. I'll try harder next time." And they say, "Mommy, you don't have to be sorry. You are a great mommy, the best mommy. We love you so much."
Their capacity to love and to forgive is breathtaking.
Yesterday, Max and I took the kids swimming. It was one of those family days. The kind that build memories. We had just submerged ourselves into the lukewarm indoor pool water. It was cold. Indoor pools always are. My 4-year-old baby girl immediately says, "I have to poop." Of course.
I take her hand and we climb out of the water and shake, shiver and chatter our way to the locker rooms. I help her pull down her suit and we wait while she quickly does her business. I am so cold. I just want to get back in the pool and continue making family memories. So, I try to hurry it up by quickly pulling her suit back on.
Unfortunately, wet bathing suits do not go back on "quickly." It is a slow, laborious process of inching the suit back on. And the cheaper the suit, the longer it takes.
My patience begins to slip. Maybe it's that time of the month. Or the fact that my blood is freezing in my veins. Or the fact that my precious middle child is the one who is never in a hurry. The one who often counteracts my attempts at hurrying her by swinging on door knobs when we're late for the bus, or changing her shoes, shirt and hairstyle when everyone else is waiting in the car.
I start to yank the suit back in place and exasperated say, "This is so hard!"
She looks up at me with her beautiful, brown eyes. "You are so right, Mommy. This is really hard. But not as hard as picking up two hippopotamuses."
I stop my fruitless tugging. She is so right. Really, not much in life is harder than picking up two hippopotamuses. I hug her fiercely. Tell her I love her. Then gently begin pulling the suit back in place, like I would a pair of nylons. It really wasn't that difficult.
Hand in hand, we walk back to the pool, shaking, shivering and chattering. And filled up the rest of our day with the kind of memories that make up a family.