My little man’s second birthday is less than a week away and, needless to say, I almost can’t believe it. Before you have children, you hear experienced moms and dads preach about how quickly time flies, but I don’t think this concept is fully grasped until you actually become a parent yourself. As his birthday approaches, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the type of parent I am and the kind of mother I hope to become.
Any good mother worries constantly about her children. Here’s the good news: if you’re incessantly concerned about being a good parent and doing right by your kids, that’s a pretty good indication that you are in fact already doing both. I worry about providing for Mason, making sure he has access to a good education, teaching him right from wrong, raising him with a strong moral compass that will lead him to one day stand up for what he believes in. These are things all good parents hope to do for their children.
They say the best way to lead is by example. I believe this to be especially true when you are raising children. Lately I’ve been asking myself if I’m providing the best possible examples for my son. When it comes to showing him to keep going no matter what life throws at him, to work hard, to appreciate and be there for the ones who matter most, to speak his mind – I do know I’m doing the best I can. (Maybe a little too well with teaching him to speak his mind because OH MY GOD does this almost-two-year-old know how to make his wishes known!) But what about teaching him to follow his dreams? To take risks in order to achieve something which seems unreachable? To take a leap of faith? To just go out and DO it? Without fear of failure or rejection or humiliation. This is where I sometimes feel I’m failing.
Anyone who knows me personally would probably describe me as responsible – I’ve always been what people call an “old soul”. I did everything the “right” way and in the “right” order – good grades in school, completed my bachelor’s degree in three years, graduated with my master’s degree when I was 23 years old, got married at 25 and then pregnant three years later. And then? My timeline went out the window the day I lost my husband and father to my unborn child. You’d think this would have made me realize that there is no “right way” and that life is too short to avoid doing things out of fear- and in many ways it has. But then there are those things that I continue to make excuses for, those dreams I find endless reasons not to pursue.
I want Mason to look back on his childhood one day and remember having a mom who gave it all she had. I want to do more than just TELL him that he can do or be anything he wants. I want to SHOW him that if you put in the commitment, the passion, the hard work – good things will come. And if it doesn’t turn out the way he hopes, that he will have peace in his heart because he tried with all his might. That’s the kind of mom I want to be.
So, no more excuses. No more self doubt. I’m going to start doing a better job of listening to that voice inside my heart. The one that gives me all these thoughts that I convince myself no one will be interested in reading. The one that reminds me how much I love to sing and share my voice, but that I silence because I’m sure nobody wants to hear me. Time to stop. Not everyone will want to read, not everyone will want to listen – but somebody will. And that’s enough.
I’m committing to taking baby steps toward making my dreams come true.
I won’t know unless I try, right? And neither will you.