I’m a bad mom. I’ve heard so many moms say this out loud. Which makes me wonder how many moms say it in their heads. Why are we so quick to judge ourselves? I recently had a conversation about this very thing with my best friend about this. She felt bad for wanting a night away from her kids. “If that makes you a bad mom,” I replied, “Then I’m one, too.” I don’t know what it is that makes you feel like a bad mom, but remember, unless it is something that truly harms your child, chances are you are lying to yourself. Your kids love you! They think you are amazing! If you love them and take care of basic needs instead of partying or spend that money on drugs, then you are a good mom.
I’m responsible for every thing that happens to my child. Yes, you have control over what your child watches on TV, or what they wear, who they spend the bulk of their time with, but you cannot control everything that happens to your kids. This lie usually rears its head after something bad happens. I remember after my son broke his leg when he was two, this lie filled my brain. I wasn’t in the room when he fell, I even felt at first he was just being dramatic about how much his leg hurt (it didn’t cross my mind until hours later that it might be broken). Watching him hobble around for the next month in a cast that stretched from his upper leg to his foot, brought on all sorts of mom guilt. “If I had been in the room I could have stopped him from jumping on the couches.” “What must people think of me when they hear that such a small baby has such a large injury?” Things happen, and its fortunate for kids to have experiences when they are younger. Obviously, I’m referring to broken bones and not life-altering experiences. We can help them prepare for the even worse things that will happen to them as adults.
My child’s behavior is a reflection on my parenting. This one I swallow hook, line, and sinker almost anytime I’m in public with my kids. If they do well, share with other kids, don’t scream or hurt people, then I feel good about myself. It’s when they’re throwing fits, bickering, being cranky, etc; suddenly, I’m a bad mom (two lies in one). Yes, some of our children’s behavior reflects on what they are getting away with at home, but not as much as we dump on ourselves. They are going to be children. They are going to have raging emotions and not know what to do with them. We can’t expect a 4 year old to “have it together” all of the time. I’m 30 and I don’t have it together all of the time!
You know what truly shows our parenting prowess? Our reaction to their behavior. I learned this a long time ago, when my oldest daughter was about 18 months old. She was screaming and throwing a huge fit at a public pool. So I slowly methodically started changing her and getting ready to leave. An older lady walked up and patted me on the shoulder to get my attention. “You’re such a good mom, and you are being so patient.” (Im not saying this to toot my own horn. Please, do not take it that way.) If we freak out and match their freak out, the reflection people around us is that we must be a mom who freaks out a lot. (Not a bad mom!! Once again!)
Once my child doesn’t need me anymore, I will be pointless. Your child will always need you! They might not need you for the basic every day things anymore, but, trust me, I still need my mom! Also, just as a side note, you have a purpose bigger than your kids. Its hard to remember that when you’re up to your elbows in diapers, but start dreaming now of what you can fill your time with after you’re not so busy with those little ones. Your kids, especially your daughters, need to see that it’s okay for MOM to have hobbies and goals.