Thursday, July 25, 2013

Are you a bad mom?

At some point (perhaps daily), every mom feels like she is doing a shitty job.  Am I spending enough time with them?  Do I do too much/too little for them?  Do they even like me?  There are moments where you feel like you are doing it right (for example, I got home yesterday and my smiley son looked right in my eyes and yelped "happy (to) see you, mama!" - yay!  I guess I'm doing ok!), but then something else happens and you are back to reassessing and doubting your abilities.  When you really think about it, though, it's actually pretty hard to be a "bad mom."  Abuse and neglect would certainly count as bad mom activities, but if you love your kids and are mostly sane, these aren't possibilities for you.  The love part is easy, a given (maybe not the sanity).  There is nothing more natural or unconditional than a mother's love for her child.  Tale as old as time.  One of the main reasons humankind and animalkind persists.  Most moms put their kids first because there is no choice not to, anything else would go against instinct.  This doesn't mean you have to be president of the PTA or that your child never leaves your sight or that you never admit that bedtime is a relief (ha!).  It just means you love your kids, are there for them, and make sure they have everything they need (even if it means you don't have everything YOU want).  Even when you think about the girl friends you have who you can't imagine with kids because they've never taken care of so much as a plant or because they take 2 hours to get ready everyday or have never cooed at a baby, chances are if they actually have one of their own, you'll see a kind of transformation that can only arise from being ultimately responsible for another being.  Will they actually enjoy motherhood?  Maybe not as much as some, but perhaps more than they (and you) thought they would.  And they probably won't be a "bad mom." 

Though raising a kid is hard work (and raising a good kid even harder I think), feeling like a good mom isn't as hard if we just remember what really matters.  I think we are all trained to think we have to do more, be more and have everything figured out at all times.  In reality, if we love our kids and are invested in their happiness, as well as our own, we probably can't screw it up that badly.  So next time you feel like a bad mom because you let your son walk outside barefoot and he screams because his feet are burning.....or, you have to leave for work while he hangs onto your feet crying "mama please sit".......or, you turn on Mickey when you get home from work so you can just sit for 24 minutes..............try the love test.  Do you love him, does he (most of the time) seem to love you?  Are you all safe and (most of the time) happy?  Then you're doing just fine.  And when he tells you he's happy to see you, dammit, believe him and relish in it.       


  1. I had a friend call herself a bad mom because she's inviting us to her older kid's birthday party before she finished writing thank you notes for the younger kid's party. Never mind she's rearranged her entire life to be the sole breadwinner for her family.

    So, of course we told her - she's not a bad mom, just a busy one. We women sure are hard on ourselves.

    1. Haha yes, we are. I hear the phrase all the time, usually in the context of moms doing anything for themselves or when admitting that they sometimes get overwhelmed. It's a silly phrase that just puts even more pressure on us!