I was fumbling with my keys, trying to find the right one to unlock the front door. My hands were full, as they always were. I had my hangbag over one shoulder, my laptop over the other, some groceries in my right hand and her handmade Christmas decoration in my left.
It was lunchtime and I’d just picked her up from school and we were both sweaty and grumpy. She’d been wailing. Something about the fact that her decoration didn’t have any pink in it and a girl at school had been teasing her.
I was about to tell her to stop crying about something so trivial when she stopped, looked up at me and said “You are so strong and brave Mommy”. I stopped what I was doing. “You’re carrying all the things! You’re so strong” she repeated. Of course, she meant that I was LITERALLY carrying all the things. And that I was physically strong to be able to do that.
When we’d gone for a long walk as a family recently I’d complimented her tenacity by telling her she was strong and brave to be walking with the grown ups, and I suppose that’s where she learnt it. So now it was my turn to receive some praise. From my little 3-and-a-half-year-old.
It was one of those precious moments. When you know that you’re receiving a little bit of wisdom and that you better listen, otherwise the universe may not offer it your way again. I AM strong, I thought. And I AM brave. I run around all day, from work, to school, to the shops and everywhere in between and sometimes I feel like I’m juggling so many balls and carrying so many things, that something’s gotta give.
Sometimes I’m so bone tired. My life is a privileged one, I acknowledge that, but these lives we create for ourselves can be relentless in their own way and they can also sometimes feel thankless. But finally someone has noticed what I do, and praised me.
As parents we never praise ourselves. We never stop and go, hey, I managed to feed and bath two kids today, send off a proposal to a client and still have time to read my toddler a story, WELL DONE ME! Nope, we just carry on, never thinking that what we do is quite good enough and always having guilty thoughts of how “perfect parents” do it.
So my message for today is that you should take a look around at your week and what you’ve achieved. Whether it was potty training a two-year-old, securing a new client, or finding time to exercise, you need to appreciate those achievements, no matter how small. Recognise that you have shown strength in many of the things you have done and praise YOURSELF.
You are strong and you are brave.