Raising my kids is the number one most important thing that I do in my life. Showing up for them is easy; showing up for them without my own childhood baggage and tired, old habits is less…easy. When they were born, I promised them I would give them a perfect life. That I wouldn’t repeat history with them. That I would be the mother to them that I’d always wanted for me.

Then, they became toddlers, and…it got a lot harder to keep my promises.

The longer I’m a parent, the more I know that to show up for my kids wholeheartedly means giving myself permission to be imperfect and inexperienced. The more I set out to teach them to value their sensitivity, feel their feelings and show up, even when it hurts, the more I have to give myself permission to do all of the same things. When I want to stop history from repeating itself, I have to start by giving myself permission to look at my past with a tender heart and a gentle touch.

I can’t become less anxious by crossing all the things, closing my eyes and hoping for good luck. I won’t be the mother my kids need until I allow myself to be the woman that I already am. Flaws, pocks, marks and all.

After all, a whole person isn’t a perfect person. A whole person has sticky spots, spiky places and closed off corners that feel impossible to crawl into. A whole person has jagged edges and round corners, times of struggle and times of ease.

In other words, we don’t teach our kids to embrace their whole selves by being anything else than a person who embraces her whole self.