Anyone who knows me personally (or has read here long enough) knows how hard I am on myself. “If only I spent more time with my kids” or “If only I didn’t hover so much” or “If only I didn’t sing opera in Costco and embarrass them in front of the frozen fish” I’d feel like an adequate mom.
It’s dawning on me, more and more lately, that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to show up as the best Andrea I can be. I don’t get the gold star of approval only when I fix some of my son’s tics.
I don’t get it when my paycheck goes above a certain amount or when I take my daughter to Hurricane Harbor and pay more for a locker rental than I normally spend on Starbuck’s during the week. (Oh my goodness, they rape you over there. It’s ridiculous!)
Happiness doesn’t come in the future of when’s. As one of my dear friends recently reminded me, “Someday is not a day of the week.”
As I mentioned in this post, my husband and I had made a huge mistake in moving the kids upstairs while we lived as servants in the room off the kitchen. Having shared a room their entire life, it was a HUGE deal for them to have a beautiful and huge space to themselves. It felt a bit traitor like to tell them on Tuesday, “Hey, kids, sorry. We know you adore your private islands, but you’re being downgraded to the kitchen and living room wings.
You know what? They took the news really well. Well, mostly well. When I asked Stink about how he felt, he looked at me with 14 year old disdain, grunted in his man/child voice, and reported, “You know when Donald Trump said he was going to build a pipeline? I feel like the Native Americans: Violated.”
A Faith Move
For some of you, moving rooms might not seem like such a big deal. For me, it was more than a physical victory. It was an emotional one. For so much of my parenting, I have lead out of guilt. Call it the Tourettes diagnosis for Stink, or the guilt of not being present enough for my daughter during the early years. But for some reason, it was there – driving how I treat myself. Subconsciously I was telling myself, through the oh so noble and selfless actions of “giving up my own space” that those kids were worth more than my husband and my relationship.
And they are not.
To love them best we must take care of ourselves. For us, that means decent sleep and energy to do the things we need to do to run this family with love, acceptance, patience and tolerance.
Odd or God?
Is it odd or God that immediately after giving our renter notice two weeks ago, and our kids “notice” about their switch on Tuesday, that the energy in this house shifted?
My husband has a new business opportunity.
I am sticking to my musical writing schedule. (Yes, I am writing a musical that involves camels and nasty Arabian horses. I’m not normal.)
And last week, while networking for my husband’s biz, I ran into the director of a local opera company who I had interviewed for the paper a few years ago. “We are always looking for young talent!” he told us.
Today my daughter auditioned, and she relied on me – her mama – to get her there. What a shift from two weeks ago when she wouldn’t get off the couch. We went over the song at least 24 times. She borrowed my makeup bag. She even, as a break in between, started reading to me a novel that moved her 13 year old soul and wanted me to share in the joy. I say this less as “Wow I Deserve An Award” but more as a “When I Lead as a Mom Who Values herself, my kid subconsciously gets this and feels safe.” It was a tough lesson to learn – many nights of yelling and screaming and overall crankiness, but I learned it.
As my sweet teen stood, back erect, in front of that baby grand piano and belted her song from Tangled, I teared up, because it’s so true of my journey up until this point. And maybe it’s true of yours, too.
All those days, watching through the windows
All those years, outside looking in
All that time, never really knowing
Just how blind I’ve been
Now I’m here, blinking in the starlight
Now I”m here, suddenly I see
Standing here, it’s oh so clear
I’m where I’m meant to be
And at last I see the light
And it’s like, the fog has lifted
And at last I see the light
And it’s like the sky is new
And it’s warm and clear and bright
And the world has somehow shifted
All at once, everything is different
Now that I see you
I See You Special Needs Mamas
And you’re going to be okay. Join me on this journey to showing our kids that we are worth, like the song says, “shifting” perspective. I can promise you, if you do, the sky will be new and the stars will be bright.
Until next time,
My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB.