Last night I laid you down, a sleepy dreaming toddler and today you awoke somehow bigger. As I picked you up out of bed your legs dangled down far past my waist, your weight, heavier. As if you seemingly grew overnight. I brushed the hair back from your face, kissed your cheek, and asked if you grew; which you assured me you did.
Yesterday was a trying day, wasn’t it little one? There were tempers and meltdowns. Attitudes and opinions. Uneaten dinners and tears.
Lord knows I try to be a great mama. I try to savor the moments, but some days? Some days the wheels just fall off the wagon. Days when I get home from work and am greeted by the pile of unwashed dishes in the sink and a mess in the living room. A sure-fire reminder that I may never have it all together. There is dinner to make, laundry that needs washing. There is homework and bath time. Days when the crying and whining drowns out the laughter that I had hoped for the day.
Some days, no matter how hard I try, the tired sets in and the frustration comes out.
Motherhood does that. It breaks you down. It’s emotionally charged. It’s raw. It’s messy and chaotic. It’s selfless. It’s equal parts beautiful and utterly exhausting. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s frustrating and inspiring all at the same time. It’s an unfathomable, fierce love and an overwhelming feeling of both fear and worry.
We worry. Are we doing enough? Disciplining enough? Teaching enough? Loving enough? Cooking the right meals? I could go on forever.
Plain and simple — motherhood is hard. There I said it.
Some days I get it all right and other days? Other days I get it all wrong.
Motherhood has a way of testing your patience and just when you think all is lost; just when you feel as if you may not be cut out for this, you see that you’re not getting it all wrong. You see it in the sweet hug and “I’m sorry, mama” after an epic tantrum. Or the words “I love you” randomly said to you as you’re driving down the road with your toddler in tow. It’s your baby running to you to say, “Mama, no be sad,” as you cry in the kitchen because today you were the mother you promised yourself you’d never be.
Children are amazing at giving grace. They don’t see our failures or our weaknesses. They see YOU. Their mama. A perfectly, imperfect woman who loves them without fail. A woman who no matter how hard it gets, no matter what life throws your way or how bad you want to quit — you keep going.
I make mistakes. I fail every single day and you will too. Some days I get it all right and other days, I miss the mark completely. But the one thing that will never fail, is my love for you.
I will never be perfect, and quite frankly I don’t want to be because trying to be perfect is exhausting. But through it all, I hope you see a mama who tried. A mama who was real. A mama who despite her imperfection and faults, gave it her all every single day.
A mama who loved fiercely and passionately.
A mama who dreamed big and worked hard (and encouraged you to do the same).
A mama who pushed for creativity and joy over perfection.
A mama who was strong but wasn’t afraid to admit her weaknesses.
A mama who made mistakes but learned from them and grew.
Because you are going to make mistakes, my baby. Just as I have done and will continue to do. But, your mistakes? They don’t define you. It’s what you do with them that does. It shows you what you are made of. It’s standing up, brushing yourself off, and trying again. It’s resiliency. It’s showing up over and over, even when you want to give up. It’s loving fiercely and without question.
I may not always get it right, but I need you to know that my greatest accomplishment and privilege is, and always will be, raising you and watching you soar.
This story originally appeared on They Whine, So I Wine