Dear Mama (or should I say, Mimi),
I am one of the lucky ones. I have the blessing of having you be the primary caregiver for my son.
I never have to worry about him being mistreated or neglected. I love that you have made your house his 2nd home. I only have to worry about him being spoiled or, as we call it, loved a lot. And who doesn’t want that for their child when they are away from them? Many of my friends comment on how blessed I am to have you and I couldn’t agree more.
I know that I have it easier because of you, but mama, it’s still hard.
Let me explain what I mean when I say hard. Not hard like I don’t trust you hard or I can’t believe I am leaving him all day with a stranger hard. Nope, not that hard. I don’t have those worries. Hard like I can’t believe that I am missing out on the special moments hard. And my mama gets to see them. I don’t get to call you and tell you the cool thing he did today, because you already know. It’s a very interesting dynamic and one that we both work hard at every day to make it work.
It’s hard knowing that you've already raised your kids (and did a great job might I add), but you still need to help me.
I have so much self-inflicted guilt, and sometimes I don’t know if it’s harder or easier because of you. You, my dear mother, are the prototype. You have filled my childhood memories with so much selfless love. You were always putting your family above yourself. You were sacrificing your own desires and making it look so easy. When I reflect on you as a mom, I do not remember the mess. I remember you having it altogether, with hot meals and a clean house. You were strong and firm but loving at the same time. I want you to feel like I am half the mother you were, but you see the good, the bad, and the ugly. You see my house when it’s messy or my child when he’s not dressed. You see me when I am worried and stressed. I do not even get to pretend to be a Pinterest-worthy mom because you see the mess. I don’t know what it’s like to have a mother on the outside looking in, one who may admire how put together her daughter’s family is and how well behaved her children are and may look back and say well done. In fact, you may just go home and pray for me because you see it all and we are always a mess.
Maybe you felt like me sometimes? Overwhelmed and treading water? Maybe all moms feel like they never measure up.
I know this is a horrible thing to say, but it would make me feel great to know that you felt like me when you had a toddler. It would give me hope that maybe when my son looks back on his childhood, he will get the same warm feelings that I feel when I reflect on you.
It’s hard knowing that the one who taught me how to be a mom is seeing me figure it out. I wonder if you think that I am taking the lessons you instilled me and if I am instilling them into my son. I wonder if I am making the right choices or doing the right things. I wonder as you are watching me if you are really as proud of me as you say you are. It’s hard knowing that the one that you want the most approval from is seeing you daily on the hardest journey of your life.
Mama, you are my role model mom. I am so thankful that I have you and, more importantly, that my son has you.
But there are days when I question if I am enough. So, yes, I have it easier than most. But it’s also hard to live up to your role model: your own mother.
Your daughter, who has big shoes to fill.
Chatty (Charlitta) from Charlotte is a Type A, expressive-driving Gemini that loves her husband and son. She is on a mission to make the world a better place. She is a Principal Consultant with Slalom, the author of Black Boy Joy and Chief Mom Officer of the Me3 Project.