Failure. It's what I felt a lot this week. Failure to comfort my son effectively. Failure to get my son to sleep longer than 30min. Failure to notice my son had an ingrown toe nail that was hurting him. Failure to be patient enough. Empathize enough. Be enough.
At the end of a week and a half stretch filled with teething, infection and a growth spurt I'm left feeling exhausted, empty and like a failure - like I let my son down. That I wasn't the best mother I could be a lot of times over the last week and a half. And so, I feel annoyed, irritated and guilty. I should do better I tell myself. Now I just feel bitter with myself. And as I sit here reflecting on this horribly long and painful week, quietly feeling terrible about myself I'm interrupted by the cries of my son. He went down for his nap half an hour ago and now I find him fidgeting in his crib, his eyes still heavy with sleepiness. I gently scooped him up into my arms and bring him to my bed, cuddled him, tell him I loved him and let him suckle back off into dream land. I lay here with my son snuggled close against my chest, peacefully sleeping and realized the most important thing - I'm not a failure in the eyes of my son.
Sure, there were moments of frustration, where I lacked grace, where I lacked the empathy I needed to respond with genuine tenderness and instead responded with desperate questions of "what's wrong" but all my son saw was many, many moments of connection - moments of mommy trying to help him, trying to soothe him, trying to make everything all better. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. Was it always effective? Nope. But was being there each moment for my son what he needed? Yes.
As my son lays still snuggled safely against me I finally realize that all he needs is me. Not perfect mom, not almost perfect mom, not always get it right mom. He just needs me. In all my failed attempts, messy moments, tears and frustration. This little baby still trusts me, loves me, is soothed and comforted by me in this moment despite all of that messiness from last week. I can only see now what I missed while I was in the thick of it - he just needs me to be me. Be present. Keep trying. Refuse to give up. Cry with him if I have to. But. Just. Be. There.
Failure is defined by Webster dictionary first as "the omission of occurrence or performance" which by all means is the opposite of what I did last week! There was no omission of occurrence or performance. I was there every moment. I tried everything. Did I have lack of success in certain moments? Sure. But overall my efforts were successful. My son still remains in an attached, bonded, loving and trusting relationship with me despite my messy moments.
So as my son gently begins to wake up, stirring slowly, peeking out at me with a happy smile from behind his still sleep eyelids I see it was silly to think I failed when clearly I succeeded in being the mom Jericho needs. A present one. One who will forever be here, moment by moment, trying everything. The mom he knows he can trust.
Be purposeful in your thoughts moms, ensure you whisper words of truth to yourself in the quiet moments. Love and trust yourself, keep trying and you'll always be the right mom for your little one.
Not the perfect mom but the right mom.