Did you ever do extra credit in school? Bonus questions were my favorite. They were like an insurance policy for Geometry. (Math. Ugh. Anything with numbers and I don’t get along well.) I can’t say the bonus questions got me an A. But I can say that the extra credit pushed me juuuust over that passing C. (In my good-girl defense, that was my only C in high school. Math. Ugh.)
Did you know there’s extra credit in the mom world, too? I bet you didn’t. This extra credit is a little different than in school. In Geometry, there was an assignment and then there were a few bonus questions. If I messed up on the real questions, the extra credit was there to help make up a little bit of the deficit. In Geometry, after the teacher graded, the bonus questions could only help if you answered them. Correctly. (Did I mention? Math. Ugh.) In the wide world of Mom the difference is that the bonus points only count if you acknowledge them. Not the teacher. Not your neighbor. Not your mom or sister. Not the lady looking at you crazy at the grocery store. You.
You do the assignment every day. You wake them up, you feed them, you make sure they are breathing and clothed. You drive them here, there and everywhere. You provide a roof over their heads. You feed them again, you play with them, you bathe them. And then…you do the whole thing again the next day! And the next… It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the real assignment (you know…sustaining the life of another human), let alone think about extra credit (playing Barbies. Again. Ugh.).
But, mom, I have good news. You already did the bonus questions! You just have to take credit for them. Ok, so you got #3 wrong when you yelled about the sand all over the kitchen floor. But you later admitted mommy shouldn’t have yelled, which takes way more guts than anyone who ever competed on American Gladiators. You may have messed up on #6 when you played on your phone instead of listening to her story about the kid on the playground. You also read her a book before bed. You didn’t show your work on #10 when you got her to school but didn’t tell anyone that it was a fight to the death to get those sneakers on her when she was dead-set on the princess shoes. But she’s wearing them. And no one died.
Being a mom is hard. And being real means admitting that sometimes it isn’t fun or easy. Every single day, we could improve on our grade. There has yet to be a day when I didn’t wish for a redo on something I said or did. I’ve yet to go to bed without at least one “man that was dumb!” thought in my head. But being real also means acknowledging that you were pretty great at times. You listened when you really wanted to get your work done. You didn’t lose your whole mind when she colored pink marker on your brand new lightly-colored rug (true story). You let her get in and out of the car unassisted although it took for-ev-er. You tickled and hugged. You held and laughed.
You weren’t perfect but you made it through the day. You didn’t get it right 100% of the time, but you love that little person like no one else can. You’re a real mom. And for that, you deserve extra credit. But it only counts if you let yourself accept it.
Give yourself a little extra credit. No matter how small, what did you do right yesterday?