Okay. I’m gonna be honest with you. I had almost half of this post written when I realized it was all wrong. I was going to write a heartfelt confession about my failure to be at peace with life. But then I started grading papers, and it didn’t feel like enough to just ignore what was happening in my heart.
I recently assigned my kids an easy assignment – write me a haiku. It’s a short poem with a set number of syllables. I came across this little gem and I thought I had found the best one of the bunch.
It’s funny right? Hilarious actually. This kid is awesome. He’s quiet but so so clever. When I think of students I enjoy, he’s right up there at the top of the list.
But then I found this.
The student that wrote this isn’t one of my trouble kids. He isn’t a behavior or academic problem. In fact, I know very little about him. He’s relatively new to my class and we haven’t spoken much. This didn’t come as some great reveal about how my most frustrating kid is having problems at home. This kid is actually a pretty nice kid who has friends and laughs a lot. I would never have known that his heart is breaking.
I guess the lesson to learn is not that I need to find some sort of inner peace and not beat myself up about mommy guilt and all these other things I already know.
It’s that as long as I show up, I’m doing pretty good.
I’m not saying we should aspire to mediocrity. In fact I think that “parent” is the most important title we have and we should be striving to do our best. But I think we should bear in mind that what our kids need from us the most is not a perfect zen environment or Pinterest worthy snacks or sagacious advice or the best products available. Our kids need us to show up. If my students have taught me anything, it’s that no matter how mature they seem, no matter how independent they want you to believe they are, they want support. They want love. They want their parents.
While it is true that I feel like I know nothing – often I feel like I’m just a kid myself and that it’s ludicrous that I am entrusted with a tiny human and a car payment – It is also true that I have everything I need to be a successful parent. Even just typing those words seems odd, because I, like every parent probably, struggle so hard with feelings of inadequacy. But you know what? I’m a good mom. And as long as I continue to be present and work hard to love my kid in the best way I can, then I will be doing a good job. As long as I continue to work on my marriage instead of walking away; as long as I choose to come home and be a part of what’s going on in my family; As long as I don’t give up, then I’m doing my part. And every time I feel like somebody else could be doing it better, I can rest assured that the most important part of being a parent is being present. Everything else will work itself out.
That is all.