I'm a bad mom, but my kids don't care.
Now stop. I'm not writing this post because I want you to all jump up and tell me how wonderful I am.
But if you really want to tell me how wonderful I am, feel free.
I'm writing this because in the last week, I've had almost a dozen friends confess they feel like bad moms. Their infractions? Not even big enough to be considered minor.
Letting their kids watch TV all day.
Feeding them boxed mac and cheese.
Not having a good craft project.
Cancelling a play date because Mommy's too tired to deal with more kids.
Really? That's a bad mom? Because if so, I am one too.
In this crazy world of Perfectly Pinteresty Moms and Beautifully Blogged Families and websites of Candied Candid Confessions, it's hard to remember that most days, for most of us, there comes a moment when we put our fingertips to our foreheads, close our eyes, and grit out, "If you don't stop squirting toothpaste at your sister, I'm going to sell you to the first person who answers my Craigslist ad."
No matter what some popular bloggers say, motherhood is hard. Let's be real for a moment. It's part of life and life? It's hard too. And so very messy. Sure it can also be rewarding and wonderful and beautiful. But without the bitter there is no sweet. And the bitter sucks.
Yes, we're being judged. Constantly. It's human nature to observe and compare. I can count on one hand the number of people I know who truly don't judge others. But, sometimes, I wonder if perhaps the worst judge is ourselves.
We are barraged with images and words of perfectly imperfect mothers. We see the status updates containing an eye roll and a request for wine. We see the pictures of children the same age as our children doing advanced physics. We look at other moms and notice how they seemed to have lost the baby weight and still have time to straighten their hair. We see amazing craft projects and wonder why we don't seem to have the energy to cut five hundred paper hearts to make a shabby chic garland from paint chips. We see two seconds of their days. Two tiny seconds.
But it triggers the whispered, seductive voice of guilt.
Why aren't you hanging a hammock under the table for your three year old?
Why aren't you using only organic apples?
Why don't you sew your daughter's clothes?
Did you really just lie and say you read to your children for twenty minutes when it was actually a rushed ten?
You are the only one who feels like a teenager pretending to be a grown up and is completely lost.
The guilt niggles and wiggles its way into my brain. I try. I play dolls and put together craft projects and try to remember everything a mother is supposed to remember about food, medicine, school, enrichment, growth, emotional development. Words and Google knowledge swirl and twist in my brain until, finally, I can't do it anymore.
I switch to "hands off parenting" and tell myself I'm not my children's social director. I tell them to play by themselves. I tell them we can be together without actually doing the same thing. Joseph can draw, Elizabeth can play with her babies, and Mommy can write.
And then, another post, another article, another picture, another image pops up. This blogger is telling me I need to be more in tuned. That author is telling me I need to be more aware and in the moment. Suddenly I feel like a bad mom.
But I'm not.
And neither are you.
Still, it made me realize that by blogging and pinning and facebooking my own crafting adventures, gardening exploits, and cooking triumphs, I might be contributing to the problem.
So I'm going to come clean with a few true confessions:
My kids watch TV so much we have half the episodes of Good Luck, Charlie memorized.
Sometimes we order out for pizza because I'd rather read a book than make dinner.
I have never bought glitter.
We cram all of Joseph's homework into one night because I hate homework.
I never take them to the park unless I'm forced to by other mommies.
The only craft projects we do are the ones I blog about. You might want to count them. It doesn't happen that often.
I play hide and seek, get distracted, and forget to go find them.
I burn a lot of food because I start writing and forget I'm cooking.
I yell and get frustrated and sometimes even cry over it all.
I've said, "If you are going to cry, I'm going to give you something to cry about."
But do you know what?
My kids don't care. They love me anyway. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to be always patient. I don't have to be constantly present. They love me anyway.
They love me more than the stars. They love me bigger than the earth.
They told me so. Last night. After I yelled at them for dumping the humidifier. I tucked them into bed and said, "I hate it when I yell. I'm sorry about that. I just get so frustrated sometimes."
Joseph responded, "That's okay. We frustrate me sometimes too. We still love you."
So yeah. I guess I'm a bad mother, but my kids don't care.
And neither do yours.
9 hours ago