Motherhood is filled with moments of self-doubt. From the time her firstborn child's head exits the womb, mommies typically begin to question themselves. Did I handle the labor and delivery right? Did I choose the right name? Should I breastfeed? If I breastfeed, how long should I breastfeed? Should I bottle feed? Did I choose the right formula? Should I use cloth or disposable diapers? Heck, I don't even know HOW to change a diaper! How do I get him/her to stop crying? I guess I should let him/her cry...(followed by)...How could I have let him/her cry? Do I have a safe enough car seat? Did I/my husband install the car seat correctly? I should immunize. I shouldn't immunize. I must be enmeshed if I am a stay-home mom/don't use daycare/homeschool. I must be neglectful for going back to work/using daycare/sending my kids to public school. You pretty much can't win because someone along the way will always try to tell you (or imply, at least) that you've done something wrong...regardless of what choices you make.
Yesterday, however, it really hit me. In spite of all the questions and doubts I've had along the motherhood-way so far, I have done some very important things right. Lately Dear Daughter has been "mothering" her dollies, her Taggie Book, her baby brother, the geriatric cat, sometimes she even tries to mother me. What comes out of her mouth are words hauntingly familiar, words I've spoken to her dozens of times, and words that are nurturing, loving, and sometimes (whew!) even patient. I know I've done well when she calls her dollie "Sweetie Pie," gives her Taggie Book hugs and kisses, reassures the geriatric cat that "it's okay, I still love you!" and tells me, "You are my favorite Mommy!" I also see the evidence of doing a lot right when Dear Daughter's budding self-image shows through...when she smiles at herself in the mirror and says, "I look beautiful!" or "I look like a princess!" But best of all, was yesterday when I took her out to the "backyard beach." She plopped down in her toddler-sized deck chair as I filled her wading pool with the garden hose. Several minutes later she still sat silently and patiently, and so I finally asked her, "Whatcha doin?" She then stood up and stated, "I was just relaxin' for awhile." I then experienced an overwhelming urge to grab her and squeeze her tight and smother her with kisses. Since I was still holding the garden hose, I settled for asking her, "How did you get so cute?" And she replied, "Well...I dunno! I guess Jesus just made me that way!"