It’s the kind of legacy that matters most to me.
When I’m gone, how will my life have mattered from the vantage point of the most important people I’ll leave behind to carry on my memory… my kids?
I sometimes wonder if all they’ll remember are the times I made them cry, the times I lost my cool, the times I said no.
Maybe it’s just me, but I live with constant nagging guilt about not being a good enough mom for them. All I really want in this life is the opportunity to raise them up and raise them well – but I feel like I’m constantly failing.
Just this Monday at school drop off, my youngest bolted out of the car without out so much as a goodbye and my oldest fumbled his way to meet me at the back of the car to get his drum kit. When he took the handle from me I told him to “get it together” and we parted. No hugs, kisses, or loving goodbyes like the ones I saw all around me. Instead, I buckled my seatbelt and dropped my head in my hands trying not to cry in front of the gate monitor.
Parenting is hard, but not just because kids are needy.
Parenting is hard because doing the right thing and following through is heartbreaking. It’s much easier to do all the things for them. But to teach them also means holding them accountable.
On this particular morning, I was holding them accountable to get to school on time (a constant battle in our home). My husband had this “great idea” to stay calm and “simply” be upfront with them about what time we are leaving the house – ready or not. I even gave them 20 and 10-minute warnings.
But imagine their surprise when the time came to leave for school and they were not ready, and I actually did what I said I was going to do (they should know by now I don’t play). That’s right, I escorted (that’s a nice way to put it) everyone to the car at the exact time I said I would.
One kid didn’t finish his breakfast (I make them a hot plate every morning), or brush his teeth, or make his lunch (even though I prepped part of it for him). Both kids didn’t pack their healthy snack or their water for the day. This crushed me. The kid who didn’t pack his lunch or eat his breakfast is so picky I worried he wouldn’t eat his school lunch either. I knew neither of them would drink enough water in the still 100+ degree weather here in Arizona.
With my head in my hands at drop off, I could literally envision CPS meeting me at pickup.
But after a workout and husband+friend therapy sessions, I realized my kids are fine. So they have to drink out of the drinking fountain. I did! So my picky eater isn’t going to like his school lunch. It’s one day!
I can’t powder their balls forever.
Sorry, it’s my stance. This has been a saying in my house probably since the days they actually did need their balls powdered. Since they were babies, I made the choice to raise the kind of men that strong women will want to marry. A man that can not only take care of himself, but is so capable that he can put his family first, serve where there is a need, and still thrive on a personal level. I am not raising men that need to be coddled or taken care of when they leave my house.
I don’t know if you think the way I tackle parenting is cruel, or awesome, or neither, but for the sake of this example, they had ample time to get themselves together and if I didn’t follow through they would just keep letting me save them. They’d never be truly accountable and I’d keep losing my cool over the same crap. What kind of legacy is that? Mom was a psychopath?!
A friend reminded me today that no matter how much I try to make their lives rainbows and butterflies they will still have some gripe about their childhood. On the flip side, no matter how hard I am on them, they will still love me because I am their mom and they know in the depths of their souls how much I freaking loved them first.
With a legacy on the line, I need to keep my head in the game.
I realize that my legacy goals might look different than yours and that’s not only okay but totally amazing. We are all meant to live and leave behind something different. Still, the path to get there is the same.
The truest way to achieve a legacy is to keep trying. Fail forward. And when you do fail, know that it’s okay, because failing means you’re actively working toward achieving and that will be what your kids will remember – not the failures it took to get there.
For me, I’m going to stop being so hard on my momming because at least I am momming. I’m in the trenches with them. I am trying. I’m not going to give in to the lie that I’m not good enough. God gave me the earthly duty to raise up my kids to be awesome and I’m going to do my part. We’re all doing our part. And every amazingly hard day we get the chance, we’re going to keep trying again. Agree?!
It’s a new day. We get a new chance.