The other day, my daughter came home, and shared with me what she had learned about buckets, and how to fill them. Buckets not in a literal sense, but as a metaphor for the basic human need to be on the receiving end of positive gestures. Her teacher/counselor, had taught her class that everyone has a bucket. To fill someone's bucket is to offer a kind gesture of some sort, such as complimenting a person, thanking them, or doing something nice for someone. My daughter had chosen to fill my bucket. Considering she was told she could fill anyone's bucket (including her classmates or teacher), I was touched that she chose to fill my bucket. Here's the note that she wrote me:
Now you would think that getting a note like that from your child would be "good" enough. But I couldn't help honing in on the fact that she wrote "good" mommy. Not "great" mommy. Why did I choose to dwell on that word? Of course on the outside I made sure she knew how much I appreciated having my bucket filled (I thanked her, I hugged her, and told her how lucky I was to be her mommy), but on the inside, there was some turmoil going on. Am I not great? Don't I strive to be a great mommy? I didn't leave my career to become a stay at home mom to become a "good" mommy...
So as my brain went down this dark, critical, pretentious path, I kept asking myself, what my definition of being a "great" mom was, and why had the phrase "good" mom given me such a knee-jerk reaction. Then, thankfully the rational side of me kicked in, and I decided to approach this from a thought exercise lens and think about "good" vs "great" from Addie's perspective. If I put myself in my daughter's shoes, what would I think of Mommy? Let's see.
My mommy gives me hugs in the morning when I wake up. My mommy is always telling me to hurry up and get ready so that we won't be late. I hate it when she brushes my hair and says it won't hurt but it hurts A LOT when she's brushing out the knots. She nags me about wearing my mittens and not zipping up my coat. She gets annoyed when I forget to put my library books in my backpack. She gets cranky if we're running late and she has to drive a little faster so that we make it to school on time. I love that she's always there to pick me up from the school bus. She makes me do my homework first before playing with friends. Just this past week, she decided I can only play with friends Monday and Friday afternoons during the school week. Why can't I play with them everyday? She's always telling me to practice my piano, or read, or practice Chinese, or do math problems. I hate it when she yells at me for crying. She says crying doesn't get me anything. But sometimes I'm just tired and frustrated, so I cry. I love it when she stays with me at night. I feel like I can tell her anything. I'm glad she doesn't work anymore so I get to see her more. I love my mommy very much.
If that's what she's thinking, then I'll take "good" any day, because there are definitely moments throughout each day that I'm not quite reaching the bar of being a "good" mom. And then there's the simple fact that my job isn't to be a "great" mom all the time, that'd be like giving her all the candy she wants at the candy store. So, it turns out I feel good about being a "good" mom. It doesn't hurt that Addie gave me credit for being a "cool" mom, too.