I can’t pick you up when you cry to be carried up from the ground. I can’t bend over to put you in bed at night, or for your naps. I can’t bring you to the playground because I can’t climb up there with you to keep you safe.
I can’t prepare your meals myself, even though I would really like to. I can’t play with you all day, even when you sit outside my door crying for my attention. I don’t bring you to music or art classes like other parents do, I don’t change your diapers or shower you. I don’t buy you that many clothes, shoes and toys.
There isn’t enough time for me to spend with you, even if I would love to, and keep you mentally stimulated so you develop well. There are so many books I’d like to read with you, activities I’d love to do with you and places to explore with you – but I can’t do them all.
Sometimes, I don’t understand you and let you just eat plain bread or plain rice for your meals because you refuse everything else. I stopped breastfeeding you at 6 months. I don’t know how you got your diaper rash or what’s causing you to be so cranky. A lot of times, I just wing it, even if it might seem like I totally know what I’m doing.
But there are many things I can do and am doing.
I am able to give you the security and space to just be yourself at home, so you can feel safe enough to test and push boundaries, and learn about who you are. I can delegate tasks to others for you, but also give them the flexibility to adjust to your needs and the freedom to bond with you.
I am able to give you a younger sibling so you can grow up, play and learn about the world together. I can give you hugs, kisses and cuddles every single day. I can bring you unique experiences where you can form ideas about the world around you and about yourself.
I can give you a loving home and my fair, understanding mind. I can protect you – and teach you eventually to protect yourself. I strive to be a living example of how you should grow up to be – a strong, independent woman who respects herself and demands the same level of respect from others.
I’m not the perfect mum but the perfect mum does not exist. What I am is the mum you need. The mum who hugs you close when you need a source of comfort, the mum who tries her hardest, even if sometimes I don’t feel like it’s enough. I am the mum who leaves things for you to explore on your own terms, at your own pace. I am the mum who understands that your life is about you, not about how you compare to others. I am the mum who teaches you to dance, sing and find joy in the littlest things.
And no matter what you do, I am the mum who will always love you.