Sometimes we need a reminder that the things we do matter. That we’re doing a good job. That the job of motherhood – the worry and the care and the love – matters. I’m proud to be participating in a sponsored campaign to remind moms (me included) that we’re all doing a great job. The stories I get to share with you are mine, and meant to encourage you in this journey. #doingood #minutemaid
It was 80 degrees today. In November. In Ohio. Remarkable, really, and since it’s been a difficult week, we did what any smart homeschooling family does when faced with gorgeous weather in a season that should be cooling down… we went to the zoo.
The kids were all having fun together – something that hasn’t been happening regularly lately – so I sat on a big rock near the edge of the playground and sipped my water, deciding to let them play for as long as they wanted to.
My oldest played with all the younger kids for awhile, then retreated to a corner of the playground where he sat on a rock and practiced speed cubing – his newest obsession. It wasn’t long before a throng of little boys surrounded him to see what he was doing. It’s kind of cool watching someone repeatedly solve a Rubik’s cube – faster and faster each time, and the little guys were mesmerized.
After a few minutes of watching him interact with the kids, a mom wandered over there, first listening in, then talking to my son. The kids eventually wandered off, but the woman stayed, talking.
Eventually my son went back to play, starting up some chase game or another, and the mom made her way over to me. And… I cringed inwardly. And I braced myself.
You see, my son hasn’t been easy lately. I just commented to a friend that everywhere we go, everything we do, there’s always that ONE THING.
Do you know what I’m talking about? If you’re a mom of a gifted or twice-exceptional kiddo, you probably do. It’s exhausting to be constantly misunderstood and misjudged. I’m not a bad mom. He’s not a bad kid. There’s just always something… On every occasion there’s something that makes me wish he wasn’t overexcitable or anxious or asynchronous.
Something that makes me wish for normal.
I’ve felt defeated. Motherhood is hard, and when you’re kids are outliers in any way, it feels insurmountable at times. Because we’ve been struggling, we’ve made the decision to stick close to home over the last few weeks and work on family relationships… work on heart. A few weeks ago, we’d made the decision to pull out of several homeschool groups we’re a part of because we’re burning out and breaking down, and have been having a hard time telling our friends and the directors of the groups. Disappointing people is never easy.
And so I sat there on that rock, bracing myself and wondering what one thing he’d done or said this time. What apology was I going to have to muster? What new problem would I need to solve?
And she said to me, “Your son is awesome. I just wanted you to know that. He’s energetic, but empathetic. Curious, but caring. Friendly and open. He’s smart; very smart. And he was a pleasure to learn from. You’re doing a great job.”
And she walked off to chase her runaway toddler who was heading to the zoo tram. I didn’t see her again.
She has no idea how precious that gift was to me. She can’t know how often I have snapped at that awesome kid lately, or how many times I feel like I am failing him and myself. She has absolutely no idea how very much I needed those words in that moment.
She doesn’t know that those quick words have changed something in me, and that I am now eager to find another mom to uplift. I want to go up to a mom on a playground and tell her she is doing great things. She has awesome children. That she is rocking this motherhood thing.
I can’t wait to see a tantrum-throwing toddler in the toy aisle at Target. I want to have the opportunity to walk up to his mama and tell her she’s awesome and so is her kid.
I can’t wait to pass on the gift that amazing stranger gave to me on this sun-soaked autumn afternoon.
Motherhood can be amazing and beautiful and fun and spectacular. And it can be hard. But, we’re all just moms who are worrying about and caring for and loving our kids.
And that’s all that matters.
You’re here, and you’re reading about parenting or homeschooling your sweet kiddo. You’re searching for ways to do and be better – just like I am. YOU’RE doing a great job.
You’re rocking this motherhood thing – even when you don’t feel like you are.
Trust that. Trust the journey, and raise yourself up, even on the toughest days, and find other mamas to lift up. It matters. You matter. We all do.