This post brought to you by Ski D’lite.
“I love you more than all the stars in all the skies, and all the flowers and all the car parks and all the trees,” she tells me with a grin on her face. And I laugh and try to outdo her in the word stakes because every single time I do, I see her confidence grow. Her spark ignites and she blooms before my very eyes; those words, to her, they are everything. So easily given, so happily received.
I’m not perfect. Every day I feel I fail her. I worry that the words are not enough; that I should be doing more. There should be more puzzles and time for playing. More giggles and snuggles on the couch and loving each other better. Each night I go to bed and pray, ‘Help me love her better.’
He decides he’s leaving home; going to live with his friend who’s mum never says no to devices (in his eyes.) He pauses in the driveway, unable to go further, and I call him inside. ‘No one loves me,’ he exclaims with all the drama of the Minecraft deprived.
‘How can I make you know that I love you?’ I ask you gently.
‘I don’t know.’
‘What will make you feel loved?’ And then I wait for him to tell me all the things he needs and wants, or the games he should be allowed to play.
‘Can I just have a cuddle?’
And just like that, he curls up in my lap, all thoughts of leaving home forgotten; the frustrations of the day melting from his tiny broad shoulders into my lap. And he lets me rub his back and hold him close and pretend for just one moment, that he’s not a little man, but still my little boy.
I kiss him before I go to sleep; I pull the blanket back over his cold shoulders that he refuses to cover with a shirt, and watch him, for just a moment, in the stillness of the night. ‘I love you,’ I whisper. ‘I’m sorry.’ For all the times I missed the mark, I’m sorry. And I determine that tomorrow will be better.
Tomorrow, I’ll love him better.
Tomorrow, I’ll love him perfectly.
She writes me a note. After she has cleaned her room. After she has swept the front verandah just to make me happy. ‘I love you very much. You’re an awesome mum, in fact the best mum on earth… I’m not feeling well.” And I am sad because I missed it. Just like I miss another thousand moments through busyness, or exhaustion or even selfishness.
I mentally berate myself, I promise I won’t do it again; I won’t miss anything ever again. I will be the perfect mother.
At night I close my eyes and pray, ‘help me love her better.’
She doesn’t know her greatness yet; it lies waiting to be unpacked, a treasure she is yet to behold. Her strength, her beauty, her destiny — her. And it’s my job to help her, to guide her in the way that she should go. I am overwhelmed by the honour and the task at hand. It’s both frightening and breathtaking and I want to do it right. For her. Be the mum she needs me to be.
The mum she deserves.
The one that goes to bed at night and knows she has loved just enough.
I’m a doer; I place a lot of value on my actions. It’s something I’m working to change. I know that my value is not in what I do, but in who I am, and that is true in parenting as in all the other areas. I’m going to make mistakes. I can’t be perfect. And I will probably never get to the end of the day thinking, ‘today I rocked it! Today I did it all well.’
I will always get to the end of the day and think ‘what could I have done better there? How could I have been better?’
How could I have loved better?
And honestly, I think that’s practically perfect.
The only way to fail is to stop trying or to think you no longer need to try. A heart that never gives up on being better… well that’s the goal.
Ski D’Lite recently interviewed some kids on how practically perfect their mums were, and these were the results:
This is the beauty of kids; they know we’re not perfect, but they are sure we are perfect for them. They love us well; they love us beautifully.
And it helps us love them better.
Recent research by Ski D’Lite, has found that the tide is changing, and for most mums, practically perfect, is perfect enough. Ski D’Lite’s real fruit yoghurt now comes with 25% less sugar (1 teaspoon less per serve), and is the practically perfect choice for busy mums.
Do you ever feel like you could be doing things better?
Have you stopped to ask your kids how practically perfect you are?