I enjoy Facebook. There. I’ve said it. Of course, I know it’s far from perfect. I worry about our children and the tagged photos that seem funny at the time but will live on the internet forever or the insidious bullying that can occur 24/7. I wonder how in 10 years anyone will be able to run for public office. But mostly, I enjoy it. I enjoy being able to connect with friends from throughout my life, being able to share exercise tips and book recommendations, and to hear about the simple stuff that goes on in people’s lives now that it’s harder to find time to talk on the phone. Yup, I actually do care about what you’re having for dinner and love the photos of your kids.
What I like best though, is the sharing of news or writing that has caught someone’s attention, stuff that I never would have seen otherwise. My husband’s cousin posted one such link from The Huffington Post recently. It was a list of 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10 by Lindsey Mead Russell. Although inspired by Lindsey’s daughter’s 10th birthday, I think much of the list applies to both genders regardless of age. We’d all benefit from learning #1, “It’s not your job to keep the people you love happy” and #8, “It is almost never about you.”
But, it was #10 that seared this post in my brain. “I am trying my best. I know I’m not good enough and not the mother you deserve. I am impatient and fallible and I raise my voice. I am sorry…. But every single day, I love you with every fiber of my being. No matter what.”
“I know I’m not good enough and not the mother you deserve.” I always wondered if biological moms felt that way. I wondered if other adoptive moms felt that way. I sure know that I’ve felt that way.
During the challenging toddler years, I’d watch other moms who always seemed more patient, or creative, or just plain better than I was. When homework began to take over our lives, I would promise myself every day that I would be the perfectly patient mom. I would be Marmie from “Little Women” or Ma Ingalls from “Little House on the Prairie,” but I found out those women were made of stronger stuff than I was.
Along the way, I found a wonderful community of moms, moms who felt the same way about homework, moms who struggled with bedtime or mealtime or playtime. We shared our stories, offered each other ideas to try, and an understanding shoulder to laugh or cry on.
But I never asked the question. Never asked “Do you ever feel that you’re not good enough, not the mother your kids deserve?” You see, K’s birth mother chose us, picked M and me from a group of other potential parents. I wondered if she was shooting for Marmie or Ma Ingalls and got me instead. I felt I owed K’s birth mother perfection but found perfection was out of my reach.
I’m not sure when I made peace with my imperfection, but ultimately I did. I may not have been the mother K deserved but I was the mother she had. Letting go of an impossible standard allowed me to be more patient, more creative and just plain better. I do my best and as Mead Russell said so beautifully, “Every single day, I love you with every fiber of my being. No matter what.” I know K knows that and it’s the only measure that really matters.