I have never felt more self doubt as a mother than I do during this season of parenting. Seeing my daughters venture out into the world as young women really makes me wonder if I have done enough to prepare them for this next step in their journey. There are times I see so much that I haven’t done that I feel like a complete failure in the mom department.
I often hear other moms talk about how they make their kids do household chores, make them complete all their homework, and make them practice for hours. Then I come home and trip over a pile of shoes, turn my nose up at a sink full of dirty dishes and hear the silence of a piano left unplayed. It seems like I can’t make my kids do anything and I worry if I have been the right guide for them.
One Saturday a few weeks ago I was particularly troubled with these thoughts when I found myself in the midst of an intense exchange of words with one of my daughters. Before I realized it I let out a clown face. Yes, right in the middle of battle my solution was to make a funny face. Great, I thought. Just great. I silently congratulated myself on another mom messup. I don’t know what I expected next but she just stopped and stared at me. Surprisingly her next words melted my heart. She said “Mom, you always make me laugh”.
I thought, “Wow, I actually can make my kids do something”. Laugh. But is laughing really that important amidst everything they’ll need to make it in life? I pondered that a bit and decided that yes, yes it is. Life is serious business. There are always bills to pay, loved ones to care for and dishes to wash. The monotony of day to day tasks combined with times of trouble can leave one weary and sad. Without laughter it’s easy to get stuck in a dour disposition. According to Helpguide, “Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load, boosts the immune system and relaxes the whole body” If laughing can do all that, then it’s a priority in my book. Most of the things I worry about making my girls do they will pick up out of necessity when they fly out of the nest; but where else are they going to learn to laugh?
I’m not going to give up on the chores, homework and life readiness in general, but I am going to quit beating myself up about a pile of shoes by the door. I am going to keep trying to be the best mom I can in the time left with them under my wing. And I am going to keep making them laugh.