By Kelly Youngblood
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a “bad mom” moment. I’m typing with one hand in the air right now in case you’re wondering.
I confess- I’ve had my fair share of “bad mom” moments. What mother hasn’t? But now that I have three kids and I’m too busy to worry about every little thing, I’ve relaxed my expectations a bit.
For example, not every meal I prepare would get a stamp of approval from an expert in nutrition and I’m OK with that.
And on the days my kids get to watch more TV than the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends, well I just accept it and move on.
I don’t suffer from mommy guilt nearly as much as I used to and that’s a wonderful feeling.
These days, I let myself off the hook pretty easily, even when I’ve brushed off complaints from my kids about not feeling well and then end up at Convenient Care later that night.
I’m learning to let go of these small infractions in order to focus on the bigger picture- raising really nice, kind, happy kids who want to give back something to this world.
Of course, I do have those “bad mom” moments where I’m convinced I’ve scarred my kids for life. Some days I feel like I yelled too much or spent too much time looking at a computer screen instead of paying attention to my kids. Those are the days I go to bed wishing for a do-over.
And I know I’m not alone. I don’t know a mom out there who thinks she’s perfect, doesn’t have regrets or feels she’s made mistakes.
But in my eyes, what makes a mom “good” is promising herself that tomorrow is going to be better and keeping that promise.
Moms who try their best, mean well, and love their kids more than anything—these are measures of a good mom in my book.
As moms, we have to remember not to judge ourselves so harshly because nothing constructive ever comes from that.
And we must give ourselves a break more often, especially when it comes to the little things. It’s the little things we beat ourselves up over that can really add up.
I try to remind myself of this on a regular basis. I also try to remember, as much as I’ve done wrong, I’ve done a lot of stuff right.
I hug my kids A LOT, we read books every night (even when I’m really tired and don’t feel like it), and I can get downright silly with them just to get a laugh. (I also can throw a pretty awesome birthday party, but that might be more for my benefit than theirs.)
This isn’t anything extraordinary, but that’s kind of the point. We don’t need to live up to these impossible expectations we put on ourselves to be, for lack of a better metaphor, the next June Cleaver.
We should all let go of that ideal right now, because I doubt it even really existed when “Leave it to Beaver” was in its prime.
While we’re at it, can we also let go of the super-mom ideal too please? You know, the idea that moms could handle successful careers and raise Harvard-bound children all while baking cookies for the PTA and keeping our houses spotless. I don’t think this ideal is any less damaging than old Mrs. Cleaver. (No offense, June.)
Most moms I know have a schedule like mine. We are so busy juggling work, home, kids, volunteer obligations-—all while trying to nurture our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being-—it can seem like too much at the end of the day. (I forgot to mention the need to keep up a social life and a solid marriage in there too!)
I’m not saying we are too busy to be good moms. I’m just saying we should cut ourselves some slack and try not to obsess over the “small stuff.” Because while most moms I know aren’t perfect, they are good moms.
So go out today and look for those opportunities to pat yourself on the back for all that you do, and let go of those thoughts that you’re not doing enough. If there’s something you think you need to improve, then work on it.
I’m working on saying yes to my kids’ request to play more often, instead of responding, “OK, in a minute.”
On that note, I must be going. I’ve just received an informal invitation to play with my kids and I know I shouldn’t pass up that opportunity.