The perfect mother

I was asked the other day to give advice to a good friend who is pregnant. Many of us at her shower were mothers ourselves, some were mothers-to-be, others were neither, but all of us were there in support of our friend and the mother she would become. I have friends who are new mothers, some who are expecting and some of us have been mothers so long we can't remember what our lives were like before, but we all have one thing in common: we are all scared we're not doing it right.

We all wonder if the mothers we are to our children are going to lead our children to success or failure. We all fear we are somehow getting it wrong, we could somehow do it better, we are somehow not as good a mother as the person standing next to us. But here's the thing: we're all just doing the best we can today, in this minute, in this hour, in our lives. We may not have done all we could do and we may not have sacrificed ourselves for our children and we may not have been the poster-child for infinite patience, but despite our reservations, we are really all doing just fine.

We don't need to be perfect. We don't need to give our children everything or make them work for it all. We don't need to hold our tongue each moment of the day and we don't need to offer limitless praise and we don't need to be constant taskmasters, we just need to be ourselves. As mothers we can't know what will happen in the end, we can't know if our decisions today are right or wrong for the future, we can only try try try. We can try to understand and we can try to be compassionate and we can try to be worthy- for our children and ourselves. We are going to make mistakes and we are going to regret our words and we are going to berate ourselves for wrong decisions, but that's not a bad thing. Because my advice to all mothers is to be who you are, because all of us and none of us are getting it right. But if we offer ourselves forgiveness and compassion for not being perfect, we are giving a gift to our souls and our children. The gift of acceptance is what we should strive to pass on. We should not try to be perfect, we should just try to be ourselves and allow our children the same .

In allowing our children to be less than perfect we teach them unconditional love. In seeing our children for their gifts and their imperfections we love them as they are, not as we wish them to be. In letting our children make mistakes we give them the gift of failing and starting over. We don't need to be perfect, neither do our children. We will love them just as they are, just as we should do for ourselves.

After all, this is the life.
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