“I’m a bad mom.”
“Wearing my “Mom-of-the-Year” sash and tiara.”
“Rotten Mom Club President.”
Just a few of the sarcastic-but-not-really comments I’ve seen recently on social media and blog posts.
Every time I read these comments, my inner voice screams inside my head:
MOMS! STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!
(If you’ve written any of these or something similar recently – don’t worry – this post isn’t about YOU specifically.)
I know the feelings behind those words, trust me, I really do. The guilt about some parenting mistake that you’ve made. I’ve been there. Repeatedly. I’m no mothering expert or pro.
But in addition to the numerous resolutions I quasi-made for 2014, I am really trying to give up on mom-guilt.
Do you know why?
It accomplishes nothing except making us feel like shit about ourselves. How does that do anyone any good?
So what, if you don’t make all those stupid designer lunches for your kids – most kids just throw out their food half-eaten or bring it home uneaten anyway.
So what, if you did the happy-skippy dance when your kids walked out the door on the first day back to school after the holidays – you and I and about a million other moms did too.
There seems to be a growing trend of mothers expressing their mistakes publicly – which is awesome. Let’s be honest with one another – we all screw up. Every single one of us. Hearing about other moms’ mistakes makes us feel normal and supported – we are a mom-munity.
But how does it help other moms to feel like part of the community if we talk about our screw-ups in such a negative way?
I’m not suggesting we brag about what we’ve done or pat ourselves on the back. “Woo-hoo! I lost my shit on little Johnny last night because I have PMS, so I sent him to his room with no dinner – isn’t that cool?” isn’t going to make other moms feel that sympathetic or connected to you. But sending out the subtle message that you are a bad mom if you make a mistake or if you enjoy time without your kids or if you get mad at your kids sometimes (a lot) for annoying the bejeezus out of you or any of the million other things that moms feel guilty about – that’s not cool either. Just tell it like it is – you made a mistake, you maybe feel guilty about it (or you feel guilty because you don’t feel guilty), but in the grand scheme of things, you’re still a great mom and this isn’t going to turn your kid into a disaster in the humanity department.
All of your guilt and shame and screw ups and oopsies – they are NORMAL. Do you really want your kid having documented evidence of reasons to hate you or rebel against you or blame you for needing therapy when they get older? Nuh uh. Documenting your very normal HUMAN behavior under the label of “wrong” or “bad” is simply putting the idea into their heads, other mom’s heads and even YOUR head that you’re not good at what you’re doing.
And that’s bullshit.
Unless you are abusive or neglectful or doing other stuff that might require help or improvement – you are all good moms.
We are a different breed of good. And that’s ok. We don’t need to be perfect, or even perfect-in-training.
Personally? I’d rather be the mom I am and demonstrate to my kids that I’m imperfect, flawed and I make mistakes, but I keep getting up every morning and trying again the next day. I keep trying to learn from my mistakes and trying desperately not to repeat them. I apologize to them when I think I should. I’m human.
I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they need to be perfect. I’m not perfect. Nobody is. They don’t need to be, either. And they definitely don’t need a perfect mom.
Imperfection is the new black, so stop beating yourselves up, moms. Be kinder, gentler, easier on yourselves.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:
Good enough is still good.
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