My Kids Get the Best Me

06/26/2015 10:01 am ET | Updated Jun 26, 2016

A few months ago a close friend told me that I am not sweet. She also says this about herself so I am therefore not to be offended. Last week my 8-year-old daughter told me that I am sooooo sweet. She is an Ivy League suck up (my daughter, not my friend) but I know she is sincere in this offering. Her compliment left me contemplating.

At the ripe age of 40 I know who I am, warts and all. At times, I am impatient, cranky; one who has lists for her lists and embraces a schedule. I like to know who, what, where, when and why. I relish organization, a neat home and things to be put away after use. In social settings with new people I am shy, insecure, embarrass easily and like to fly low under the radar. *

As far back as I can remember I always wanted kids, but was never sure what kind of parent I was actually going to be. I didn't babysit as a teen, never had young cousins and was not a "baby person" until I had my own. Would I be warm and loving or were my kids going to get "Mommie Dearest?" Pregnancy came and with it such joy and excitement that I felt almost certain I would not turn into Joan Crawford's iconic role. Still, I couldn't visualize myself mothering. Then my son was born and since the very first moment I held him, he, and subsequently his sister, have consistently brought out the best in me. They have found a me I didn't know I had in me.

No surprise, as a mom I run a tight-ish ship, have high standards for my small family and am still the impatient type A woman depicted above. But when we are alone, I am also much more. I am (absolutely not always-but more than in the rest of my life) patient, kind, empathetic, nurturing, loving, fun, goofy, free, encouraging, congratulatory, understanding, helpful, grateful, considerate, giving and even sweet.

I laugh out loud, sing even louder and I don't give thought to how ridiculous, ugly, fat, thin, pale or tired I look. I hug, kiss, squeeze and tickle endlessly. I tell my son and daughter I love them continuously, so much I even surprise myself. Seriously.** Sweet in my adult life makes my eyes roll but with my spawn, there is never too much. There will never be enough. My kids continue to surprise and teach me about life, love and my own self. They have allowed me to accept, forgive and understand myself in ways I had not before they came into my life. So, with them and for them, I am sweet.

I do wish that I could be the me that I am with my children all of the time. But, if anyone is to get the best me, it should be and it is, my kids.

* This all goes out the window if I am seeing live music. Those who attend shows and festivals with me likely do not recognize the description of me above.

** I have in fact been known to go on "I love you diets" with my boyfriend when I feel like it's said too much.