Sometimes, particularly on the days when everything seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, I often wonder if I’m failing at motherhood. It’s easy to fall into this trap, especially in the social media age where everything looks perfect with the right filter. It’s really easy to let my frustrations bubble over when I tell Charlotte to stop doing something and she looks me dead in the eyes and continues to do it and I stop and think — am I raising an entitled brat? Or when she screams at me like some sort of deranged animal and I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one with a deranged animal for a kid.
But then there are moments when something shifts. Charlotte shows empathy. She can tell if I’m having a bad day and cheers me up. She gives genuine compliments out of the blue. She’ll take my picture and tell me I look beautiful or tell me she likes the way my hair smells or how my dress looks. She always, and I mean always, says thank you when I do her laundry. When I bring the basket up, she helps me fold the clothes and she chirps out “oh thank you so much for washing my clothes!” Last night she thanked me for buying her new toothpaste. She genuinely gives thanks for small tasks that I do that can largely go unnoticed because they are so routine, and it makes the world of difference. These are the times when I think that we’re doing a good job in parenting. Sure, she will scream at us that she is never talking to us again and stomp up the stairs like an unruly teen when we punish her, but she is also cognizant enough to show gratitude and kindness, and that’s one thing I always wanted to make sure I instilled in my daughter.
Now if only I could get her to stop swimming naked.