Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Maybe I'm not a Good Mom?!

And, here's the proof:
  • "Good moms" don’t choose to ignore their children…and there are times that I do just that. I lay in the bathtub, reading my book, hearing my boys scream, cry, and argue. "Good moms" (if taking a bath at all) would promptly exit from the tub and happily deal with the situation. Sometimes, I don’t. Sometimes I even shut the door so not to easily hear the chaos.
  • "Good moms" don’t get resentful of the time the children take away from them. I do. Can’t they see I am having “me” time. I know it looks like I am just surfing the web or chatting on facebook. But really it is quality me time…isn’t it? OK…I know it is me just searching, but never REALLY finding anything that rejuvenates and reenergizes me. But, technically since it is me sneaking time to do SOMETHING other than caring for my kids, isn’t that “me” time? So please, do not ask for apple juice, snacks, or a video right now. Can’t you see I am busy? See, I am not a "good mom"…"Good moms" would not feel that way about their children.
  • "Good moms" don’t snap and yell at their children. Not when they are tired, or on the phone with the electric company, or when they are trying to have an adult conversation with one of their few remaining friends. "Good moms" talk nicely to their children and never yell or “snap” at them.
  • An on top of all of this, "Good moms" do not feel guilty for what they should be doing, what they didn’t do, or what they could have done. Because of course "good moms" have nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about.
It was a bad day…my almost-4-year-old was following his usual pattern. Getting out the door had become a battle. And by time all three of us were in the car, my anger and frustration was boiling over. I was tired of this happening, so I wondered, “is it possible to get out the door with my two boys AND be happy?” When I polled friends, and even a few strangers, their response was “nope, not possible!” I was not willing to accept that as the truth. Instead I began to look at the barriers of that happiness. I came up with some small changes that I could make and began attempting to make them. But, have you ever had one of those moments when seemingly simple things have a roadblock in front of them? Well, that’s what began to happen – and had I been in a better frame of mind – I know that I would have been able to overcome the roadblocks and trudge through to make my changes. But, not that day. Nope, I was spent. My anger, although I tried to contain it (because "good moms" respond appropriately when angy) overflowed and I behaved badly. I yelled at my children, banished the barking dog to the backyard, and snapped at my husband. It was not pretty and I knew, by the end of the day, that my husband (at this point extremely angry) would want to talk. He, rightly so, wanted to air his grievances. Oh, I was not in a good place to have that conversation. So instead I ranted and verbal vomited all over him. I shared the details of my day and expressed that clearly my poor mothering skills had caused the day’s chaos. I confessed my sins (as listed above)….

And then I said it…”Maybe I am not a good mom”. And you know what? A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free. A shit-eating grin appeared on my face and I couldn’t stop it. I wasn’t sure why I was reacting this way, but it felt good! My poor husband did not know what was going on, he was still angry about my bad behavior (who could blame him). Thankfully he allowed me some breathing room during which I realized I had previously formulated an unfair definition of a “good mom”. It was a much needed ah-ha moment! I had set myself up for guilt, shame, and failure.  My definition of a "good mom" did not allow much room for me.

I know that I need to change my definition and put together a new, more flexible idea of what it means to be a good mom, but for now I am embracing the thought that “maybe I am not a good mom.” That, maybe, I can raise good kids, do my best, and still do things that may not be “good”.

Ahhhhh…So freeing!

2 comments:

Debbie said...

Personally, I strive only to be a good-enough mom. I still feel that I fall short of that often, but I like the wording better...

By the way - I just wish I could give you a big hug after reading this post. : )

Kim said...

Thanks Deb! I consider myself hugged. Perhaps good-enough is a better way to think of it! Thanks.

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