Sunday, May 8, 2011

An open letter to me, as a Mom and parent, on Mother's Day

Dearest T,

I know you're exhausted after a lovely day with your man, followed by much love and attention from your girls, and a very thoughtful gift from your ex-husband, but this letter needs to be written.

After all that we've learned lately... after all that we've discovered about your family and your children and your friends and their children and yourself.... this is something extremely powerful that you just may have to put it on your mirror so that you remember it every. single. day. of your life.

Live your life the way you want your children to live theirs.

I mean it. Look at everything you do. Imagine if you could put your current life on a giant movie projection screen and let your kids watch. Would you be proud? Would you be able to watch and not cringe? Would you believe that you are setting a good example?

Would you be able to sit with your children and say, "This is how I'd like you to live your life too"?

I'm suggesting this notable advice with awareness of your own mistakes, your own lessons, your observations of others, your own childhood, your perspective of your parents' lives and what you've noticed in other children AND adults. I know none of us is perfect. I know we're all still growing and, in some cases, still stuck with those false childhood beliefs about ourselves that we struggle to move past.

I also know that kids don't follow that whole, "Do as I say, not as I do" rule. No, kids think you know everything. You are the sun in their solar system.

Kids learn by OBSERVATION. Kids are giant sponges who absorb the negative things you say about yourself. Or the negative things you say about them. Or the negative things you say about others... or life. After all, the negative things you say about you... are more than likely the negative things YOUR PARENTS said about you or themselves or others or life, am I right?

Here's the thing:

The world will kick your ass and your children's asses enough. The world will challenge and belittle and berate. Shouldn't we, as parents, be the encouragers? Shouldn't we, as parents, be the ones who hold them up? With love. And in faith. And with strength that doesn't come from the belitted "us" but from the Highest and Greatest part of us?

I'm not saying, Be the perfect parent and teach them to be perfect children. Heck, I know you're gonna screw up your kids somehow. You WILL be talked about in therapy one day, I'm sure.

But at least, pay attention to your actions. Pay attention to your words. Live with awareness. When your child acts or speaks a certain way, accept the responsibility of your own actions or words as the possible inspiration behind them. Good. Or not.

Be a neutral observer of your life. Be real with yourself. Admit you don't know everything. Understand that you're not perfect and therefore, allow yourself mistakes and LEARN from them. Show your flaws. Then be gentle. Be forgiving. Be loving. You were mistaken only. Now choose again.

Don't take self-hatred or self-pity out on them. Even if it feels like the world is against you, don't blame them for it. Don't hold them down because you feel held down. Instead remember:

Whatever you feel the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.

Pick yourself UP. Lift your own spirits. Give yourself love, acceptance and gentle allowing to BE imperfect. Allow them to see and know this about you too!

Observe your actions. Listen to your words. Are they self-loving? Are they self-damaging? How authentic are you? Are you aware that you're being observed as the way to live a life?

If you treat yourself well, you are treating them well.

If you can teach those kids to literally laugh their way through life's (seeming) lack, learn from their own lapses in judgment and love themselves through all of it, then you are building TRUE character and strength.

Then you are building something powerful and unshakable. You are, in effect, sending love into the future.

Happy Mother's Day.

Always loving you,

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