I was standing in front of my floor length mirror in my closet preparing for a job interview. I was frowning at the roll that, despite working out 5 days a week, refuses to stop poking over the top of my dress pants. Diet, I thought. I haven’t been focusing nearly enough on my diet. I’ll start tomorrow.
My gaze drifted to the tired circles under my eyes and the wrinkles at the corners. Eye cream. Maybe I need some magic serum to hide the fact that I rarely get a full night’s sleep. Maybe an anti-aging product would conceal the years I seem to be accumulating at an alarming rate.
I take a minute to be disappointed that I don’t have designer clothes and trendy new heels. I mean I’m a teacher, so those things just aren’t necessary for my day in and day out routine. Although for an interview, I’d like to feel a little fancy and important…not with these ordinary clothes.
As I continued to fuss with my outfit and “problem areas” I noticed a set of baby blue eyes peering around the corner. When my eyes met his, he ran to me and threw his chubby little hands around my waist. “Mommy is pretty,” he exclaimed as I lifted him into the air. Was he seeing the same thing I was seeing? How could he see “pretty” when all I saw were imperfections.
The truth is that he wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. My children don’t notice those extra 15 pounds I just can’t lose. They don’t see my worn exterior.
When they look at me, my kids see the woman they love. They see the lady that cooks their favorite food for them, the voice who reads the bedtime story, and the arms that pull them close when they are scared. They see a mom who is focused on her career and her family.
My kids couldn’t care less if I get the new job. To them, I’m the best there ever was. I don’t have to prove myself worthy of their love and respect.
Maybe we would all be better off to start looking at ourselves through our children’s eyes. As moms we have to stop evaluating ourselves with such an unforgiving rubric. We need to celebrate the good and stop agonizing over our shortcomings. From now on, I’m going to stop looking in the mirror so much and start measuring myself by the smiles and giggles that are coming from my special little people.