One of the most interesting aspects of social media is the ability to play witness to other people’s lives throughout the year. Through Facebook, I have peeked in on holidays, birthdays, dinners, dances and family vacations of my “friends,” with each post offering a sense of how similar or different we all are.
Today on Mother’s Day, I am enjoying the steady stream of tributes to Moms from their adult children. Expressions of love, gratitude, appreciation and assertions that each Mom is the absolute “best” are gracing my news feed, along with photos old and new. And while arguably we tend to all put our best foot forward on ye olde FB, these heartfelt tributes strike me as genuine and real. I, too, was bestowed a superlative title (You’re the best, Mom!) as my boys greeted me this morning in the kitchen. And I think they meant it. But it begs the question:
So how does one get to be The Best Mom Ever?
As mothers, we spend a great deal of time worrying about all that we do wrong when it comes to raising our children. Did I make the right call? Have I done too little? Have I helped too much? Too strict? Too lenient? Should I fight this battle? Should I begin to let go?
I’m sure every Best Mom Ever (BME) in history asked herself the very same questions with the exact same frequency over the course of her days. And the answers were likely just as elusive as they are for us all. The truth of the matter is that we don’t always get it right. In fact, we probably screw it up more often than we care to admit – although nowadays it is quite chic to wear your parenting shortcomings as a badge of honor. The fact that we are drawn to blogs and social media posts that wax poetic on massive mommy fails simply says that we can all relate. We universally come up short much of the time, at least in our own minds.
Yet, somehow, we still have certified BME status.
Could it be that all of this worrying about our parenting decisions is for nothing? What if everything we have fretted over since these children came into our lives didn’t matter at all? What if there was just one single thing to do to earn the love of your child?
What if all you had to do was love them back? Openly. Honestly. And often.
We all parent differently. But the one commonality of the proclaimed BMEs of this world is that they all are driven fiercely by love for their children. And while that love sometimes steers us in the wrong direction, more often than not it super cedes every mistake we have ever made. BMEs are heralded for all that they have done in the name of love – and rarely called out for those instances when they have dropped the ball in spite of wanting desperately to get it right.
We are constantly searching for the complex formula of how to properly raise a child when the reality is that we only need to do one thing right. We need to love.
Those of us who have been loved by our mothers this way know how it feels to matter. We know what it means to be seen. And if the entire world were to turn against us, we know Mom would always be in our corner. Nothing feels safer than the love of your mother. No face is more welcome in your direct line of sight. And no voice is more comforting in your time of need.
I have been blessed with a mother who has always loved me like that. Along the way, I gained a mother-in-law whose love for her son was large enough to envelope me into its caring fold. Like me, they don’t always get it entirely right. But their constant, comforting presence trumps any minor missteps along the way.
On this Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to all The Best Moms Ever – for being present, for loving us, and inspiring us to follow in your footsteps.