Thank you for judging me

Mothers Day ~ 13 May 2012

Dear Mom,

This Mother’s Day, I’d like to thank you for judging me. Don’t think I don’t see you rolling your eyes. I know you think I’m nuts for making my own baby food when you can buy perfectly good stuff in a jar. I know you think breastfeeding is gross and bedtimes completely unnecessary. I know we disagree about methods of discipline. We look at things differently sometimes. But nevertheless:

Thank you for judging me. It makes me really think about the decisions I take as a parent (if only to try to prove you wrong, which I don’t always manage to do). Always thinking “what would Mom say?” keeps me on my toes – and on more than the odd occasion, I even learn something. But more than anything, my stubborn railing against your judgments has shown me just how strong I really am.

And while I’m at it – thank you for screwing up. According to modern childrearing recommendations, you did everything wrong when you raised me. You fed me with formula bottles and used disposable nappies. You propped me up in the kitchen drawer and let the TV babysit me. You put me on a leash in public places despite the strange looks you probably invited. You let me sleep in your bed until I was way too big and then you still made me a cozy little nest on the floor.

And yet, I still seem to have turned out okay. In fact, thanks to you, I am a strong, confident individual who’s not afraid to try things differently and make my own decisions.

It’s really comforting to know that even if I sometimes do things upon which the books frown, my love for my kids is really all they need. On those days where I put on the TV, chuck them a box of crackers and crack open a beer (that one’s for me, not the kids), I don’t feel like a complete failure as a mother, because I know that that tactic sometimes works wonders for all involved.

I have no doubt that I will criticize my own kids for buying into whatever newfangled nonsense is on offer whenever they become parents. I, too, will roll my eyes and mutter under my breath (what, you think I don’t hear you?). But amidst the constructive criticism, I hope that I am able to give them what you have given me: the conviction to be the best parent I can be. Now that’s the best Mother’s Day gift I could ever hope for.

I hope that seeing what a strong, resourceful, self-assured (clever, poised, cute, talented – I’m never sure when to stop with these things?) mother I have become brings you some joy and satisfaction too.

Thank you for following your heart, and thank you for letting me follow mine. I may be choosing to do some things differently with my own kids, but I love that you respect that and only break my rules about crackers for supper and juice which rots their teeth when I’m not there. My kids adore you for the same reasons I do.

To sum this all up in one line: Thank you for loving me.And for making that love so unconditionally, abundantly clear. Yes, even when I change a poo nappy on your lounge carpet. And thanks for loving my children. They get it too, you know.

So from all of us:

Happy Mother’s Day!

We love you so much.