Flipping through the pages of my journal today in an attempt to procrastinate just a few seconds more, I happened up the entry from September 15, 2014. We hadn’t quite passed the one-month mark since the girls’ arrival, and it is clear from reading it that I was a new mom. But I was growing. After nearly a month of settling in and getting to know the girls, I was tired of worrying over nearly every action and replaying every interaction in my mind to see if I was on par for being the best mom ever. I was exhausted.
I had an epiphany on that September day. I wrote, “How would my parenting (and my feelings about it) change if I accepted, truly accepted, that I am going to make mistakes? That my children will disagree with me? That they will get angry at me and second-guess the way I’ve chosen to parent? That they will not be as grateful for me as I would like them to be? That I will not and cannot be perfect? What if I accepted all of this right now? I think I’d parent more confidently, more boldly, more honestly.” I began the journey to coming to terms with my own imperfection and found the courage to be a better mother. A mother who was focused more on raising my girls to be healthy, compassionate, responsible, and kind than on being liked by them.
At the time, I vaguely wondered what would happen in my writing if I were to adopt the same attitude. What if I stopped worrying about reactions and simply wrote honestly, to the best of my ability? What if I got out of my head and stopped analyzing myself into an unhappy paralysis? What could I do then? What would I do? I delighted in the possibilities for a few days and then forgot to do anything with them. But I found my way back to them today. Actually, I’ve been finding my way back to those possibilities throughout this month–growing as a writer in discipline and in content. After finding my stride as a mother, I know I can do the same as a writer.