Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Mother's Day Poem

For that day when you ask me what it was like for me when you were little.

I don't know what I am doing -
at all.
I falter on a daily basis.
I fail you on a daily basis.
I am not consistent like I should be
with timeouts
with discipline,
of any kind.
I give in when you whine, not all the time
but some of the time.
I put you back in pull-ups after trying underwear
because I was too exhausted to spot clean the carpet...
I raise my voice way too much, in fact
I have screamed at you
more than once.
And I slapped your hand
(only once.)
I lose my temper and am frustrated with you
almost every day.
I give you lollipops and chocolate milk at the grocery store
just to keep you quiet.
I bribe you with stickers.
I plop you in front of the T.V. just so I can
talk on the phone,
have a moment of peace and quiet.
We don't have as much structure in our day
as you probably need.
I buy you too many clothes
and shoes
and hair bows.
And I fight with you about which
and shoes
and hair bows you wear
and when you wear them.
I don't bathe you every day
or even every other day.
I don't brush your hair every day
or even every other day.
I don't remember all of your milestones.
We rarely go to the library.
I haven't taken you to the dentist
or eye doctor
but we go to Target at least once a week.
We don't have as many play dates
as you probably need.
You share a room with each other.
You wake up early and I make you go
back in your room!
So I can lay in bed just a little longer...
I feel like I'm doing it all wrong
all the time.
I feel guilty about what I am doing with you
or not doing with you
all the time.
I am exhausted
and puzzled
and afraid of messing up
all of the time.

Because I love you more than I knew was possible.
You are wonderful, kind, happy little girls
and I just want to do right by you.
I want to give you love,
give you things
and experiences
and joy
and hugs
and stories
and fun
and faith and hope.
And I want to teach you about love
and life
and letters
and numbers
and music
and movement
and I just never know if I'm teaching you
at all.

But I try.
I try really very hard -
to protect you and guide you and honor you.
Because I cherish you
and I want you to cherish yourselves
and others.
Being your mother is the most important
and overwhelming
and special
thing I've ever done.
And, the truth is that I'm making it up as I go.
And that seems crazy
but it is just the truth.
I always mean well but that doesn't mean
I'm doing well.

But we read books together every day
and snuggle
and hug
and sing
and make eye contact
and eat together
every day.
I gave you each other.
I have never yelled at you for spilling something
or making an honest mistake.
I praise you without bidding
and encourage your imagination.
I can calm you down,
I am almost always the solution to your problems
(even if I am also the cause.)
I answer your questions and listen to your stories.
I dry your tears.
I bandage your wounds and
tend to your fevers.
I have you vaccinated.
I let you cook with me
and make messes
big messes.

I won't know what were the most important things
I did or didn't do
-and what things didn't really matter at all-
until it is far too late.
And I know I'll always wish I did a better job
at so many things
because you deserve so much

But, if what you are really asking
when you say
“What was it like for you when I was little?”
“Am I a good mom?”
Perhaps in your asking,
and in my absolute resolution to tell you
I'll learn what what I'm seeking
and maybe even after all that time
you can tell me too,
that I was
a good mom after all.


  1. You are the best mom I know. This is based on careful, peer reviewed data by the Pew Research Center and also an informal poll I just conducted in the kitchen. There may be some slight margin of error, as one respondent named "May" 1) provided inconclusive polling data and 2) is a small dog.

    Love you! Adam

  2. Sissy you are the best mother anyone could ever hope for. I love you and know that your girls love you more than life itself, that shows just how wonderful you truly are. Happiness surrounds your family. I love you!!

  3. Whew! Wept through most of that one... so beautiful and honest. Thank you as always for your truthfulness. It is good and lovely.

  4. This is beautiful and captures motherhood perfectly! Love and miss you!

    1. That last anonymous comment is from Kameron I couldn't sign in to my google account for some reason!

  5. Found your blog through Ronis Weigh. Love the honesty of it all. This poem had me weeping and wanting to call my mommy. Love it.

  6. I love this Danielle! Thank you for sharing your blog. You're a terrific mama.