Faking It

This post was inspired by Zoie’s post, “I Am A Fake,” on her blog, TouchstoneZ.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I would wake up before my three-year-old and try to write or read or just have a mug of tea before being “on” for the day. Invariably, I’d have just sat down at the kitchen table with my book or my journal or a steaming cup when she toddled bleary-eyed into the kitchen and said, “Good morning, Mommy!”

I would sigh and glare at her. I would give her a monotone “Good morning.” Then I would feel awful about myself. I did not like being this mom. I did not like greeting my daughter in a way that made it clear I really didn’t want to see her. She was my sweet girl, and I was a wicked, awful mommy.

So I decided to fake it.

The next morning when the world outside the window was still dark and my tea was still untouched and my daughter came into the kitchen, I put on a smile. I got up from the table and precariously knelt my bulbous body down to her level to give her a hug. I told her, “Good morning! I’m so happy to see you!”

The first few weeks that I did this, my daughter would stand with her arms at her sides while I hugged her, looking at me sideways from under her furrowed brow.

We both knew I was faking it.

At first I felt even worse about myself. I was faking being happy to see my child. What kind of a mother was I? Why could I not feel happy to see my daughter? And worse, I was in the process of bringing another baby into this family to experience my reprehensible parenting.

But I kept it up because I figured since it was a choice between pantomiming happy and expressing authentic unhappy, I’d rather be a big faker.

And then something amazing happened. One morning, my daughter came into the kitchen as usual, but this time when I said, “Good morning! I’m so happy to see you!” I really felt happy to see her. My smile was a real smile. I hugged her with tears in my eyes. I still hadn’t had a chance to write, but in this moment I was happy to see my daughter.

Five years later, I no longer have to kneel when I hug my daughter good morning; I just stand upright and rest my cheek on the top of her head, but most mornings I still really mean it when I say I’m happy to see her and her brother.  On days when I start to droop when I hear their footsteps in the hallway, I stop myself and think, Why not be happy to see my kids? Because I didn’t get done everything I wanted to before they woke up? There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to feel like I’ve finished everything I want to, anyway, so why not just let it not happen and let myself feel happy for the sweet little distractions I have for these few years?

So each morning I give my children and myself the gift of a hug and smile and an enthusiastic greeting. Then no matter where the day goes from there, at least we’ve started on a high note.

Have you ever faked it ’til you made it?

Drop by the yeah write weekly challenge grid for some great blog posts, all 600 words or less.

18 comments

  1. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ · November 9, 2013

    Can I please give you ideas and you can write them? Because you are able to see deeper and express far more eloquently than I, what the core of the ideas are. Thank you for this post.

    Like

    • CJ · November 9, 2013

      I disagree about the depth and eloquence of my writing compared to yours, but I would love to have more ideas from you.

      Like

  2. tmwhickman (@fercryinoutloud) · November 7, 2013

    Very nice! I need to remember to do this, and not after the fact!

    Like

  3. simshanley · November 7, 2013

    Love this. And I do it all the time. So glad to hear you say it. Thank you!

    Like

  4. elleroy was here (@modmomelleroy) · November 7, 2013

    this is such a sweet story.

    Like

  5. jacquelinecaseypoetry · November 7, 2013

    Years later, you will look back on those moments with your children and wonder why you did not realize they were the most important moments of your life.

    Like

  6. ReallyGina1 (@ReallyGina1) · November 6, 2013

    It’s like forming or breaking a habit. I thought it was darling that your daughter first picked up on your faking it (of course, we all fake something to get by) and then when she walked in and said it to you!

    Like

  7. Dawn @ The Momma Knows · November 6, 2013

    Definitely! At one point we had SIX kids in this house, and faking it WAS the only way to make it. It’s not that I didn’t LOVE my kids (and all of their friends!!), but sometimes it was just so hard to get into that mode that we really do need to be in with young kids. All they remember is that they were loved, and that’s what matters to me. Great post!

    Like

  8. nataliedeyoung · November 6, 2013

    I like this perspective, sort of programming yourself to appreciate what you have instead of focus on what you don’t have. I’ve done it many times myself- and I am the happier for it.

    Like

  9. theinnerzone · November 6, 2013

    Such a heartwarming post. I know, the faking part, it has been troublesome for me, so i gave up.My near ones took time to understand and appreciate my true self, but it was worth it.

    Like

  10. icescreammama · November 5, 2013

    i get this. sometimes when i really want to do what i want to do, i’m bothered by anyone interrupting me, but then i remind myself what and who are important. sometimes, i have to work harder than others. 😉

    Like

  11. Angela Ryan · November 5, 2013

    Wonderful post. It’s even more wonderful that the cheerful, morning greeting is genuine now. Just know you were never a wicked mother.

    Like

  12. darkcirclesetc · November 5, 2013

    So human, and so very moving.
    Reading this just inspired an idea for another post.
    Watch out for a link. 🙂

    Like

  13. Robbie K (@momma23monkeys) · November 5, 2013

    I am a firm believer that some times if you go through the motions long enough it becomes authentic.

    Like

  14. zoe · November 5, 2013

    What else is there to do? When in that position you have the option to fake it as you did or you could retreat or act out and make things worse…lets hear it for going through the motions once in a while.

    Like

  15. Stacie · November 5, 2013

    How sweet! I’m glad it’s all real now 🙂

    Like

  16. CB · November 5, 2013

    I’m not a parent, but I can relate to faking how I feel when babysitting or whatnot. It does make you feel guilty when you’re disgruntled by the fact that you’re watching the Disney channel about a dog who can blog and they are so content. & also when you can’t wait until their bedtime. I’m awful. But I am a great faker. 🙂

    Like

  17. Ellery Davies · November 5, 2013

    Profound…Deep!

    Like

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