Every single time that my children decide that they want to pack instead of buy their lunch at school, I put in a little “pocket kiss,” handwritten note on a heart-shaped little piece of paper.
It’s a small message – just something short and sweet. Sometimes I wish them luck on a test or just remind them how proud of them I am. Other times, I mark down some encouraging words or simply tell them just how much they are loved.
When they were in kindergarten, I would incorporate their “sight words” that they were learning and keep it very basic. As Maylie has grown in her reading ability, I have been able to personalize them even more – which I love.
Most days, the notes make it home with something spilled all over them in the bottom of their lunch bag. In fact, I don’t know if they even read them. Regardless, they know that when they open their lunch up in the middle of their school day, there is something handwritten from someone who cares about them so very much.
This week, during a particularly hard week when I was completely over adulting and all that comes with it, I thought about the fact that no one puts notes in my lunch bag. And I pack my lunch every single day.
When I have a hard task coming up at work, no one handwrites a note to wish me luck. There are no sweet reminders that I am loved or encouraging notes to go kick some booty.
Or, at least there wasn’t.
As I was scripting out two heart-shaped notes to my girls the other night, I noticed that I accidentally grabbed three of them. Sure, I could have just put the third one back. I mean, this wasn’t the first time that I grabbed more than I needed. But, I realized that maybe I really did need all three.
After reminding my babies that they were loved, I stared at the blank little heart on the counter in front of me. This third note – this one was going to be for me. And I wrote the following:
“You are totally killing it. Keep it up. I am so proud of you. Love, ME”
Then, I tucked it in my lunchbox.
When it was time to eat the next day, the first thing I saw was my note. Yes, my note — to myself. And, I couldn’t help but smile – partially because of the ridiculousness of me writing myself a note to myself – and partially because it felt good to see MY words written with a message of encouragement.
Because, guys, this mom life is tough sometimes. Overwhelmed with a sick kid, missing work where I was supposed to be training on something new, tantrums from babies not feeling well who refuse to take medicine and feeling the pressure of whether I am doing enough or too much for my babies — that stuff is real. It is a lot to handle.
And sometimes, I just need the reminder that maybe, just maybe, I actually am not messing things up too bad. Maybe, in fact, I am killing it.
But, I am at the age where no one really reminds me of that. Usually, if I hear feedback, it is what I should be doing better. And while that is welcome to become better, often it is overlooked just how well I am actually handling things.
And well, I decided that I had the power in the pen in my hand to change my mindset on that. I can root myself on – toot my own horn – and boot out any negativity.
So, I did that this week; I told myself how amazing I was, poured love into myself like I pour into my girls. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a very trying week to get through – both at home and at work – but I feel like those little love notes to myself – even just seeing my own thoughts and feelings in my own handwriting – really helped get me through.
Which, in turn, helped me to be a better Mama to guide my girls through.
Call me crazy – writing handwritten notes to myself. Ha. But, I am ok with that. Because in the trenches of full-time-working-motherhood, I promise, I have to take the encouragement wherever I can get it.
So from here on out, I will be writing three little notes nightly. Not only will I be filling my baby girls’ lunch boxes with reminders of their strength, ability and worth, but I will also be filling up my own lunchbox – and myself — with the same.
And, Mama, I invite you to do it as well, because, you deserve it. And remember, you are totally killing it, keep it up, and you should be so proud of yourself!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.