“do your best”
Happy Mother’s Day!
When you are pregnant you are solicited with so much advice (regardless if you asked or not) - “don’t eat this” or “you should do that” etc. coming from every direction imaginable. The one piece of advice that has stuck with me over all the rest is a piece of advice I asked for I received at my baby shower for Evie in 2015.
I had told my mom and MIL that one of the games I’d like to play was to ask guests to write down advice that they thought I HAD NOT heard and the best one would win. As the game continued on I had read probably over 20+ pieces of advice and wisdom that I had already heard, and were pretty much all the cliché “sleep when the baby sleeps” type of advice.
I came across a piece of paper with the tiny words “do your best”.
In that moment I started crying, and not because of pregnancy hormones. I cried because in all the books I read, in all the research I had done, of all the conversations I had up to that point all had a pointed tone of failure. If you do this you’re a bad mom, if you do that you’re a bad mom. There is no winning.
At that moment with still a handful of pieces of paper left to go through I already knew this was the winning piece of paper. I asked who the paper belonged to. A sheepish little hand popped up. The tiny hand belonged to a little girl. When I saw it was her hand I was overwhelmed with emotion. I knew this little girl did not have her mother actively in her life due to decisions that her mother had made, so she was being raised by her grandparents.
With tears streaming down my face I thanked her for giving me the best piece of advice imaginable.
It took me a lot longer than I’d care to admit to realize as a mother, doing my best is not what I had initially thought. It is NOT PERFECTION, by definition, it’s your maximum effort. It’s not exclusively breastfeeding, keeping screen time to the absolute minimum, making all home cooked meals or other items that can be categorized by productivity. I now know that doing my best is being there when my daughter needs me. Doing my best is being present with her when we have a conversation, paying attention when she is asking me questions while I’m working. Engaging her as the individual she is and caring what her opinion is. When work is done, being off my phone and laptop. Showing her with my actions that she is the most important thing in my life, that is doing my best. These are the things that matter now, and will in years to come.
My best will change as we both grow, and that’s the beauty of doing your best. It’s ever-changing, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. My intention this Mother’s Day is to remind myself and those that will listen, our babes do not require perfection, they just need us doing our personal best.