It's an interesting phenomenon being a mother to three children. I am the same and they all have the same father, but my pregnancies and deliveries were all very different from one another and my children are each very unique. They each have their own look and their personalities are very individual. I love that, because while it can be frustrating at times, it keeps me on my toes and lets me experience life through different perspectives. It's like seeing the world through four different views; mine and all three of theirs.
This morning I already had my oldest and youngest children to school, so I started doing what I do every morning. It starts with the intercom and progresses to me yelling upstairs and ends with me walking up to my daughter's room to see what I can do to help her not be tardy for school. Apparently she inherited my inability to get anywhere on time, because Sydney is ALWAYS late. She usually emerges looking fabulous with perfect hair and makeup and a smile on her face, but that wasn't the case today. She looked like she hadn't even hardly gotten ready. Her hair was a mess and she was very agitated and running around grabbing things. She decided to do her hair on the way to school, so we left. I could tell she was really frazzled and on the verge of tears. This is odd because Sydney is tough. She and I are very similar. Sometimes we can be harsh and sarcastic. We say what we think and sometimes it's bold and unfiltered. We both have a very soft side to us too, but sometimes it's hidden. Sydney is very self sufficient and rarely complains, so when she is visibly upset...it is strange and I notice it right away.
Like most moms, I hate to see my children upset. When they are hurting, it's like the piece of my heart that belongs to them hurts too. I want so badly to help them get through their problems and be well adjusted, happy kids. Once we got in the car, I turned to her and said, "What's the matter, baby? You seem really off this morning." She began to just unleash everything she's been holding inside. She talked about how tired she is and how nervous she is about trying out for cheerleading even though she portrays total confidence to everyone else. At that point, she was all out venting and I was happy to listen because I knew she needed to talk. She started to talk about how she has "the worst luck in the world" and how she's so tired of working so hard and giving her all to everyone around her but feeling like she doesn't get much in return. I listened and then I gave her some advice. It went a little something like this...
"I know how you feel and I'm sorry you are having a rough morning. Unfortunately, you are a lot like me and you're right...we are not "lucky." It's okay to have a moment and talk and even feel upset or think it's not fair, but it's what you do afterwards that counts. Sometimes it feels as though we have to work twice as hard as everyone else for the same result, but we appreciate every success we get even more. Remind yourself that you CAN do anything. You have to let go of what other people are doing and continue to be a good friend and work hard because you want to. You can't control whether or not you get back all you give, so be thankful that you have a heart that allows you to give so much. You are having a bad day, but you are strong and you will get through this and wake up to a better day tomorrow."
We pulled up and she looked at me with her blue eyes and long eyelashes and said, "Thanks Mom.". I told her that I love her and drove towards the gym to work. The car was quiet because I turned the radio off when she began to talk. As I sat in silence, I thought about what she had said and how I have felt those exact same feelings and even said some of those exact words before. There have been times I have allowed those feelings to get the best of me. Then, some things became very clear for me. I had just sat and given her some great advice...advice that maybe I should take myself. It's easy to tell someone else how to have a better life. It's nice to be someone that people come to for advice, but it's better to believe and follow the advice yourself.
I am so hard on myself. Many times, I put myself down in ways that I wouldn't think of doing to my own children. It occurred to me that maybe I should talk a little nicer to myself and listen to the words of advice that I offer to my children. I believe and meant every word that I told my daughter this morning. Now it's time for me to take my own advice, and live by those words.