She stood beside me, watching my reflection intently. Her eyes followed my every move as I put on my makeup and brushed my hair. No words passed between us as she quietly pretended to copy what I did. She make believe brushed a blush brush across her cheeks, finger mascara-ed her eyelashes and swept a thick coat of Vaseline across her lips.
When I smiled at her in the mirror she said “Mummy, you’re beautiful,” and my heart swelled. “I wish I looked like you,” she finished and my heart sank just a little.
I was torn.
Too much of my life has been about struggling with who I am. Apologizing for my choices and opinions. Feeling as though I just don’t add up. Worrying about the way I look.
My daughter is beautiful both inside and out and it hurts me to think that she may not know just how amazing she truly is. I don't ever want her to feel as though she should be anyone or anything other than who she is.
I know that she will go through periods of her life when she is unsure of herself. She won’t always be happy with her choices and she will face some self-doubt. This is a necessary part of life. These uncertainties will help her grow. I didn’t expect it so early and watching it sure will be difficult.
I sat down on the stool in front of her and held her perfect little face in my hands. “You are beautiful,” I told her. “You are kind and smart and so generous. You’re a great friend and sister and you are a fantastic at taking care of puppies. You are strong and always stand up for what you believe in. All of those things make you more beautiful than you can even imagine.”
I’m not entirely sure how I am going to instill in her that her inner beauty matters so much more than her outer beauty but it’s a battle I have to take on and something I have to tell her every chance I get.
I spend so much of this motherhood journey searching for what it means to be a perfect mother and trying to figure out how I can be that. Yet I keep messing up. I do things that I instantly regret. I lose my temper. I forget about crazy hair day at school and every so often I rush through bedtime stories.
I am always rushing.
Most of the time I think my kids see me as a big sweaty oaf who spends most of her time running around frantically trying to get somewhere or searching for something.
Sometimes I just feel as though I am failing at this motherhood thing. Failing hard.
In that moment I was hit with the realization that my kids forgive me my trespasses.
They see me as nothing more than their mother.
To them I am capable, I am strong, I am beautiful.
They don’t need perfection. They love me just the way I am.
I am their mother and I am good enough, In their eyes I am the perfect mother.