My daughter has started to articulate things in a profound way. Humorous and sprightly, she understands the fine art of intonation, expression, and charm. She dresses up daily; in fairy, Batman, and princess get-ups. She tends to her troop of babies, feeds them from her well-stocked play-kitchen, and bathes (some of) them in the tub with her.
She notes, on the regular, that she is, “such a good mommy.” And I concur.
She invents scenarios and environments, imaginary places and trips to the zoo. She watches everything I do.
I watch and listen to this very live world that she orchestrates and verbalizes into a half-mooned variation of imagination meets reality. I hear myself in her words. She mimics my style. Not just in how I dress, but how I act.
It was within this slow, dawning realization — in living my everyday as a mother to my empathic, nurturing little girl — that I realized something.
I am a good mom.
When I stopped comparing myself to other mothers, other parents … and just took a good look around what was going on at home in how my children behave, I sunk into the knowledge that I am enough.
Even when I order pizza instead of cooking a homemade meal; even when my kids watch too much TV in one day; even when they don’t listen to me; even when they don’t behave. They are a direct product of my parenting and my husband’s parenting, and it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. All of that comparison does little more than crush one’s focus and confidence.
When my mom and mother-in-law were my age raising children, the Internet didn’t exist. It’s a whole different story now. They had real-life connections and books. That’s it. Imagine, what freedom therein lied without the constant barrage of ideas and theories wrung out in pragmatism. I crave that kind of simpler life, dancing a fine line between being inspired by other parents rather than judged. I may not have it down to a fine art of knowing when to tune it all out and when to tune in, but at least now I’ve come to this understanding. This understanding being, that all this interloping that we do on the Internet, (whether we’re parents or not), is too much. Our brains are not built to compute it all in a healthy way when we let it creep in too much.
Instead of letting it impact me, I’m going to watch my kids more and avoid getting sucked into rabbit holes of Internet wisdom a little less — and I suggest you do the same. Watch your kids play. See how they grow. They are the best, most reliable proof that we’re all doing quite alright at this parenting thing, regardless of countless expert opinions.