I recently learned that my kids see all that I am. They’ve known about my flaws for some time now, but I am just starting to someday, maybe, sorta, etc., get okay with this fact. My hope is that I can use their truths about me as a learning tool for personal, parental and professional growth.
C’mon though… I miss being seen as a “perfect” mom by my daughters.
Of course, I have always known about my imperfections. For extra credit, like a perfect perfectionist, I threw in a bunch of additional defects for good measure. Most were likely not real but created by my Inner Critical Committee of Jerks. They still meet daily.
Years ago, I cherished being idealistically adored by my daughters. I just rolled out of bed and was a pretty, pretty princess. For me not to miss such ease and pleasure would be pretty weird, I think.
As a typical perfectionist, my first impulse was and sometimes still is to work myself to death to become that beautiful, perfect mother I once was. Lucky for me and anyone around me, I catch on pretty fast. Also, I was never a pretty, pretty princess to anyone other than my young daughters.
This is my inside job and has everything to do with my panic, my perfectionism, and most of all, my daily practice in PAUSING, as I try to wear all of it like a loose garment. I often fail.
My girls and I talk candidly; we have always chatted about real life subjects. I try to remind myself that I was never pretending to be a perfect, pretty, pretty princess. When they’ve asked, I have always been pretty straight up with them on the following subjects:
- Drug addiction
- Eating disorders
- Panic and anxiety disorders
- Social justice
- Human Rights
- Oppressed communities, macro and microaggression
- Diversity and inclusion
- Mean girls
- Teen “ouchies”
- Social media
- Boys and men (And more recently Boyz 2 Men)
- Acceptance and living life on life’s terms
- Barometric pressure and other weather forecasts
- Hair and make up
- Facts versus feelings (especially where the words “fear” and “failure” are mentioned)
- Exhaustion, sleep disorders and racing minds while trying to fall asleep
- L O V E, no matter how the above bullet points present themselves in any one of us
Throughout much of my life, I have walked through bouts of depression, anxiety, addictions and then, recovery. For me, all of my recovery has to do with a commitment to daily practice. Trauma, alcohol, drugs and donuts never really go away. They are, after all, an enormous part of my story and the construction of who I am today.
Sometimes, I still experience what feels like paralyzing panic and I immediately go to “fight, flight or freeze.” No matter where I am, the next step (action) is to practice mindfulness. I often stop and take a few deep breaths. I remind myself, (even if I don’t believe it,) that I am experiencing feelings (of fear,) which are not based on facts.
So now, with my daughters, the jig is up. The jig is totally up. They are very clear that I’m not perfect. I’m not a pretty princess anymore. I grieve over this fact but move forward.
One thing I know I give to my daughters is the proof that there are gifts that come from a commitment to practice. It may not always be fun or glamorous, but for this mother, it’s the best I’ve got to give.
Just for today, which is all any of us really have, it has to be enough.
It is enough.
So are we.
So are you.