I had a really nice chat last night with a dear Mama friend, who also happens to be a psychiatrist. She's a fantastic mother of three, who always seems like she has it together and, truth be told, I've always been a little bit in awe of her supreme Mama capabilities.
We opened up with each other about how, many nights when we get into bed, we go over in our minds all of the things that we could have done better or differently during the day with our kids. And each night, we vow to be more patient, more loving--just more--the next day with our kids.
I was grateful for her honesty, grateful to know that this Mama who I respect and admire also has doubts about herself as a mother.
I thought a lot about our conversation, and realized that this must be a common symptom of motherhood. I do not think that striving to do better is a bad thing. On the contrary, this is what drives us to be better people. I do, however, think that we--as women, as mothers--do ourselves and our families a disservice to simply focus on ways that we feel we failed.
While I cannot promise that I will stop going over my daily "mistakes," I hereby vow to remind myself of my daily successes. I will remind myself, each night, of at least one thing I did right. Whether it is laughing with my little one, holding her in the night when she can't sleep, telling her that I am proud of her, reading her an extra book, I will acknowledge this to myself as a success.
By acknowledging what I do right, I care for myself, something that Mamas in particular do not always have at the top of their mile-long "to do" lists. By caring for myself in this way, I will, I believe, ultimately be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend.