Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Faking it

When I left my last full time teaching job, I got a letter from one of my dearest students. It was a three pager that said, among other things, how grateful she was that I still respected her even when no one else did, that I had been able to look past some of the stupid things she did and love her anyway. It was the kind of letter that makes me weep, that makes my heart overflow with pride and affection and joy and sadness, all at the same time. But this letter also made me feel a twinge of guilt.

Because in the beginning? I was mostly faking it.

Don't get me wrong. I don't give up on kids. It's just that this time I didn't have an overwhelming amount of confidence that this kid was really interested in being good. But I didn't let her know that. I pretended to have faith that she was more than her decisions.

And then a funny thing happened. I started to believe it. And then a funnier thing happened. She became the girl I'd pretended to believe she was, and she was such a joy and a help to me.

Now that I'm a full time mommy, there are days when I don't feel like doing what I have to do. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter to the moon and back. We had absolutely no trouble with bonding or attachment. We are so attached. So. But that doesn't mean there aren't days when I'm just not feeling it.

When I have been up every 2 hours all night long and I don't want to play. When it's bedtime and she's squirming out of my arms but screaming when I put her down. When all I want is to drink my coffee, or read my book, or stay in bed.

So, I fake it. I pretend that I want to play with blocks, that I have a heartfelt desire to read Goodnight Moon. And I've been feeling guilty about that, like I'm a terrible mother for not really wanting to do those things, but when I re-read that letter, I'm reminded that maybe I shouldn't. Because sometimes, faking it is all it takes to really change someone's life.


  1. I think every mother feels this way. I've said to my mom friends that motherhood makes you realize how selfish you really are. But sometimes that's not a bad thing. We are still women who have desires, wants and obligations. Being a mom adds to it, but shouldn't take away from it either.

  2. We all fake it, sometime or other. Especially at being a mother. It's a hard job (and yes, it is a job!), so sometimes, faking it is what gets us through the day.

  3. Thanks! Sometimes it really is about getting through the day. But I'm starting to realize that sometimes, faking it is good enough.

  4. I was always told to fake it till I make it. I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that. It's much easier to act your way into right thinking than it is to think your way into right acting. Visiting from fledgling Fridays!

  5. Sometimes you just have to fake it. I do it all the time and, honestly, sometimes I can't even do that. But you're right - do it if you have to, and it will get you through.

    Thanks for linking up with me for Fledgling Friday :)

  6. Sometimes I really like to play the games my tot wants me to play with him, but sometimes I'm faking it too. And when I got enough, and can't fake it anymore I have to come up with a distraction, which is not always easy. You are so right with saying that sometimes you can change someones life with it. It makes my son's day, he's so happy when I play with him, so I keep doing it.
    Found you on Fledgling Fridays.

  7. I love this post, Story Girl! Sometimes I have the best intentions but am just too tired to be the kind of mom I want to be at all times - you know, the one who provides a balanced breakfast hitting all of the major food groups, then takes her son to the playground and returns home for a round of junior's favourite game, all before making our way in relaxed and organized fashion to preschool dressed in coordinating socks. Thanks for the 'faking it' tip. I do find myself projecting far more enthusiasm than I actually feel, and I love the thought that it is enough. I have felt that it is enough for my four-year-old, but have wondered how much longer I can pull it off before he's on to me. Your story gives me hope for the future!

    Visiting you from the Fledgling Friday link up and following you!

  8. It is much easier to fake it with the baby than it was with high schoolers, but I think you can for sure keep it up when they're older. And I think, maybe sometimes they will catch on but it won't matter because they'll appreciate it anyway.