Today, you told me I was a bad mommy.
I’d never heard those words come out of your mouth before, and they cut deep into my heart. I was honestly taken aback by the effect they had on me, and I could feel the tears well up and threaten to cascade down my cheeks. How could my precious, sweet baby look me in the eye and say something so cruel and mean?
I completely understand you said those words out of anger and frustration, and by no means, should I ever take what a 4-year-old says personally. I understand your words were a split-second reaction to not getting something you wanted, and I understand you’ll probably say worse things to me as you get older. I understand you didn’t realize those words were hurtful, and I know deep down you didn’t mean them.
Yet, I couldn’t help but think for a second that for you to utter those words to me meant that you believed them.
Even if it was just for a moment.
As your mother, it’s my job to teach you right from wrong and to help you learn from failure and grow from your mistakes. Along with your father, I try my best to model the proper way to deal with your emotions, and perhaps I’m not doing the best job of dealing with my own. In all transparency, I don’t always know what I’m doing, and I know there will be many bumps along the way. Lord knows I’m not perfect, but before today, I never thought of myself as less than that in your eyes.
I’d be lying if I said those words didn’t make me question every interaction I had with you today. Everything I said to you. Every thought that went through my mind as I struggled to keep up. Every decision I made. Did I overreact? Could I have handled that outburst differently? Could I have been easier on you? Was I not hard enough? Did I listen, I mean really listen? Am I present enough?
But then, I grabbed you. I pulled you close.
I took a deep breath, and I told you this:
As you grow up, there will be moments when you think I’m a bad mommy, and that’s OK. There will be moments when you are mad, frustrated, and you feel like everything is unfair. There will be moments when you feel like the entire world is out to get you. There will be moments when you want to scream, or cry, or feel like you want to throw something, and that’s OK.
Just remember that when these moments happen, I will always be here.
I will always be here to listen when you need someone to talk to.
I will always be here to make you laugh and to play with you.
I will always be here when you need to cry it out and when you don’t understand why the universe makes bad things happen.
I will always be here to hold you, to kiss you, and to remind you that you are strong and resilient and that even though you might say things you don’t mean sometimes, I will always love you unconditionally, no matter what.
We all say things we don’t mean sometimes, and the beauty of God is that He teaches us how to forgive. He teaches us grace and how to learn and grow from our mistakes.
You see, you may have told me I was a bad mommy today, but it just makes me want to be an even better mommy tomorrow.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page