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Next Life, NO Kids: I Have Never Been The Perfect Mother

February 19, 2016

I Have Never Been The Perfect Mother

My daughter turns 20 day, and I have all the feels.

She is my first born, and keeping her was my first ever grown-up decision. As selfish as it may have been at the time, considering I was only a kid then myself, it has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made.

My daughter has been the reason and inspiration behind so many wonderful things in my life.

She's the reason I decided to live, after I made the decision to die. She's the reason I got sober. The inspiration to clean up my act and do some necessary work on myself - to be and do better; because she was watching. 

Having been a teen mom, in a crazy way, we grew up together. She has been my teacher, and on many occasions, as disturbing as it will sound to some, my best friend.

But she has also been my Achilles heal - the one person who has really seen me during some of my messiest and unflattering moments.  She has witnessed the good, bad, and ugly, and her presence and belief in me has challenged me to walk through some pretty uncomfortable things. I have not always appreciated the way those challenges presented themselves. 

My daughter has been raised to speak her mind and tell the truth, and her opinions of me have not always been favorable.  If I'm honest, there have been times I blamed her for my feelings of inadequacy; times I pushed back in ways I will never be proud of, and reacted when I should have just listened to what she was trying to teach me. There were times I thought she was the reason I hated myself. My ego and mental problems have ruined many opportunities for me to be the mother I set out to be.

I know this all sounds extremely unhealthy, and that's mostly because it was. I am not proud of these realities or the pressures I'm sure my daughter felt, even though they were unspoken... but I have to own them.

Due to my struggles with addiction, depression and the lasting effects of PTSD, I have not always had the ability to separate whatever horrific feelings I have experienced and balance them with my role as Mom.  I know today that I have always done the best I could with the tools I had available. Unfortunately, there have been times the box was empty. We have come a long way, but forgiving myself has not been easy. There are days - days like today - I think I might suffocate from the guilt of not being that perfect mother. All the things I could have - should have - done differently. 

And then I think about who my daughter is. How despite all of our shortcomings and missteps in Parenthood, she has grown into this confident, amazingly compassionate, hilarious, incredible woman. A woman who calls me when the shit in her life hits the fan or to share her proud moments. I think of all she has been through in her life, all that she has seen, and how she has turned her experiences into the fuel that powers her fierce determination. I think of how much she reminds me of me, and all the good I know she will bring to this world being exactly who she was meant to be. 

And I wonder if maybe - just maybe - although I have never been the perfect mother I wanted to be, I might have been the perfect mother for my daughter.  

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

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