I have a confession to make: 90% of the time, I don’t feel like a mother. Not because I don’t have the stretch marks or the dark circles under my eyes to prove it. Not because I find Barbie shoes and tiny socks in my coat pocket or keep snacks in every bag I own. No, I just cannot believe my husband and I created tiny humans that are now entirely dependent on us for every aspect of their physical, emotional and moral development.
I’m two kids in and I am still wondering if I am a competent parent. I know and I believe what others tell me when they say that I am but there are days when I mentally feel like a 21-year-old (read: terrified of every major life decision I make except in this case, it’s not just my life anymore). It’s true what they say, kids keep you young. In my case, they sometimes make me feel like the babysitter and not the mom. In case you’re wondering, that looks a little something like this:
The thing is, this is pretty much what parenting is all about. You can count on about 20% of it being your natural instincts and about 80% of it spent asking yourself: what am I doing? If you’re second guessing yourself, you’re pretty much doing it right. Why? Because you’re trying. You’re aware. You care. And most importantly, you’re making an effort to connect to your kids and the life you’re building around them.
For what it’s worth, I really, truly have no clue what I’m doing. There, I said it.
And you will probably say it at some point too, don’t worry, it can be our little secret. Fortunately, being just a bit clueless is what makes our kids truly unique individuals. They are being built by blubbering, under-rested yet good humored and fiercely loving people. The house is always a mess, someone is always on the verge of a meltdown and one of us forgets their lunch at least once a week. But my kids won’t remember much of that. Instead, they will recall the countless times we laughed at dinner and made pancakes on the weekends and danced to music instead of watching tv shows on any given day.
Consider this: what were the most important moments of your life growing up? I doubt they will be described as that-one-time-my-mom-did-something-by-the-book. It will be the moments that blew your mind and really made you see the world differently. That is the gift we get to give our kids every day, even if it’s purely by accident.