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My Dear Daughter, I Promise to Be a Better Mom Tomorrow

Photograph by Twenty20

My dear daughter,

I have something to say to you. We had a difficult day, didn’t we? You were behaving like the toddler you are, and I lost my cool one too many times. Like when you threw that tantrum because I thought you wanted the Goldfish crackers, but really you wanted the granola bar. It’s so hard trying to communicate with each other, isn’t it?

As I sit here in the chair and rock with you in the dark, I have one last thing to say to you before I lay you in your crib for the night: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I was so frustrated with you today. I’m sorry I had to put you in the play pen and walk away. I’m sorry I don’t understand you better. Today, I wasn’t the mom I want to be. I wasn’t the mom you deserved, and tomorrow I promise to do better.

I promise to have more patience with you when you are mad. I promise to take a deep breath and let it out slowly instead of snapping at you. Because today you saw me raise my voice at you, and walk away shaking my head when you screamed and threw yourself on the floor for the 12th time that morning.

Right now, my eyes are tired. My body is tired. The weight of you is heavy in my arms and all I think of is how lucky I am to get another chance with you.

But here’s what you didn’t see: The pang in my chest when I realized I just shouted at my 2-year-old. Those tears that welled up in my eyes as I turned my back on you to take a moment to myself. The inner turmoil I feel every day since you came into my life, wondering if I’m cut out for motherhood. That fear that I’m going to completely screw you up and you’re going to grow up to resent me.

My sweet baby, one day you will be old enough to gain awareness of my shortcomings. I’m not always going to be the center of your world, so I want to start being honest with you now. And maybe tonight you can’t understand my meaning, but one day you will.

Every night, I tell you I’m sorry. Every night, I silently ask for your forgiveness and resolve that tomorrow will be better because it’s important for you to see that I’m not perfect.

Right now, my eyes are tired. My body is tired. The weight of you is heavy in my arms and all I think of is how lucky I am to get another chance with you. That you still love me and trust me and that is my motivation to get through tomorrow.

I hope the next time I see you unwind the toilet paper roll, or pull that half-eaten sandwich out of the garbage and eat it, that I can do better than I did today. I can have more patience and laugh and let your little quirks—however unruly or disgusting—roll off me, so I can be the best mom I can to you.

And, if I fall short tomorrow, I promise to tell you I’m sorry again. My sweet girl, thank you for making me a better mom.

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