How do you stay connected with your kids? I talked with a friend about this yesterday. She’s a working mom, and feeling so distant from her teenager. She’s also feeling pressure to be perfect. Oh, mamma.
Perfect is an illusion. It’s like a Martha Stewart cookie — an impossibility without a staff of twenty and Photoshop, and to attempt it, or pretend you’ve got it, is just pain all around. Forget perfect. Be mom – messy, imperfect, trying her damnedest to do well by her family. Be you.
Be human, Mamma. Be honest. Pull back the curtain and let the kids know that the great and powerful Oz is just mom, who loves them, who occasionally stumbles around, and who is always trying to do her best. Ask for their help; ask for their forgiveness; ask them what they need.
I’m still thinking about my conversation yesterday.
How do I stay close to my kids? Well… I don’t know, that’s like asking me how I breathe…
I talk to them, I listen to them, I apologize to them when I screw up (which is just about daily). Sorry I got testy, it was a hard day at work and I’m feeling pressured to get dinner ready; none of that is your fault and I shouldn’t have snapped at you. Sorry I was late picking you up from practice, I know that can make you feel stressed, I should have left earlier. Sorry I was looking at my phone when you were trying to talk to me; phone’s off now, and you are important to me, what do you need?
This is not a perfect science. You and your kids are unique. You have gifts, shortcomings, needs that are yours alone. Your home, your traditions, your style is all you. And that’s a good thing. There are many ways to do this family thing well.
In your own way, in the way that works for you, love them, never stop loving them, never stop trying.
And give yourself grace on the days you stumble.
Because we’ve all been there.