I’ve struggled with whether or not to post this. Its been on my mind for a while. But, I do feel like moms get a bad wrap for not expressing “correct” feelings or for not being “the right kind of mom.”
It’s been weighing on me for months, really, this sense of not being good enough. Not being “cut out” to be a mom. Of questioning our decision to have a child and then myself in specific raising her. I’m deep in the anxiety that I was never meant to be a mom, that I am just not supposed to be a good one. I’m not alone. Which is why I’m not going to shy away from this topic any longer.
And that’s because, the stigma about being a “bad mom” or a “hot mess” mom has a lot of negativity attached to it. If you don’t love parenthood you are seen as a bad person. If you don’t want to spend all the time with your child, people look at you like you are lazy. If you don’t bathe your child every single night, you must be negligent.
Let’s get honest.
I spend a good deal of my day when I’m not working, being irritated by the singing, the talking, the climbing, the whining, the questions, the chanting of certain words like “mom” and “why.” I spend a lot of time being annoyed by the repetitive statements or questions. I’m exhausted a majority of the time by finding my 4 year old under my feet YET AGAIN. The consistent need to be entertained and my consistent disinterest, is for sure in direct correlation.
I’m not the mom that sits on the floor and finds joy in playing pretend with dolls for another time. I don’t want to oversee yet another one color painting and then clean it up. I don’t particularly care about bedtime stories every night or watching her make, yet another mess, with the bath water splashing.
I’m not the right kind of mom, because we should all be loving every moment of this. We shouldn’t complain about the fact that our children are driving us nuts, that we don’t want to be surrounded by their kisses every second, and we should be grateful to have someone who loves us unconditionally. I find myself more snappy than loving, more stern than soft, more no than yes. And for that, I feel guilty. I feel like I’m screwing up my kid with my annoyance, with my irritation of her generally childlike antics, and my overall disdain for feeling smothered and claustrophobic by my child.
This is a side effect of my anxiety, I’ve learned after several months of therapy. Loud noises, repetitive statements, the endless questions grate on my nerves and I tend to lash out. I try so hard to be the mom I’m supposed to be and smile and bear it. I pick my battles, I hold off the sheer annoyance I feel, until I can’t hold it in anymore. And then for a few days or a few weeks, I withdraw into myself. I spend more time in bed than at work, I am less likely to go on adventures or rock finding excursion. I’m more harsh in my “teaching” and my sensitive little girl takes it to heart.
I see it in her eyes when she hears “Don’t do that.” again when she’s singing the same sound over and over, louder and louder. I see it in the slump of her shoulders when I shake my head and nip the jumping on the bed, and thus landing onto me in the bud. I see the slight downturn of disappointment in her lips when she asks if we can go for a walk and I’m just not feeling it and instead say “Maybe later.”
That makes me feel worse. Because I know she’s just being a kid. She’s not doing anything wrong and I love her to bits. I literally can’t even imagine my life without her. I’m in awe that we have a child every time I see her dance around the living room. But more often than not, I question whether I should be a mom at all. I clearly don’t enjoy a majority of it, and that’s a hard thing to admit. I don’t enjoy parenting, but I do enjoy my daughter.
I feel like I have to justify that, because I feel like these words and sentiments automatically make people think I’m a monster. I’m terrible person, because I don’t enjoy or particularly like the idea of doing the “traditional” mom things. And I have been known to outwardly show it in the presence of my child.
I’m not the mom who enjoys going outside and playing hide and seek.
I am not the mom who puts every single piece of scribbled artwork on the fridge.
I am not the mom who watches movies with her without the cell phone in hand (because really? Who enjoys watching the same animated musical for the 60th time?) I am not the mom baking goodies and dessert for dinner. I am not the mom who cooks dinner every night, sometimes we feed her pizza, from the delivery and not with fresh garden products . OH NO!
I am not the mom who schedules playdates. I am not the mom that does the dishes every night. I’m not the mom who bathes my kid every night and when I do – I leave her to play on her own. I’m not the mom who takes her to the park on fantastic weather days, every time it’s nice outside. I am not the mom who is actively sitting down to teach her how to read or write or memorize her numbers.
BUT. I am the mom who will cuddle her when she is sick, she can puke on me, and she has alot.
I am calm and quiet when she needs someone to hug her after a hard day of being a kid. The mom that simply says, “I love you anyway.” when she’s mad enough to fling the hateful “I don’t love you!” around. I’m the mom that allows her to say “Mommy, that’s not right,” and she can speak her mind, voice her own opinions and feelings. I’m the mom with the patience for that.
I’m the mom who stays up til late hours of the night to deck out a wagon that she will only appreciate for 20 minutes.
I am the mom with the magic kisses for all her boo-boos. The mom who will help her crack the eggs, no matter how long it takes and how many shells I have to fish out – because I have learned this is an area I’m calm about. I’m the mom who fosters her sense of wonder and encourages her to ask those questions, even when I’m tired of answering them over and over.
I’m the mom who surprises her with elaborate birthday gifts like swingsets in the backyard.
I’m the mom who will allow her to choose her own path – and that includes allowing her to wear whatever she wants,
Encourages her to reach for the stars.
Believe in fairies, and never lose sight of her imagination.
I’m the mom that will open another package of beads that I didn’t really want to share when she asks if she can make a bracelet too. I’m the mom who diligently shows her how to thread the tiny beads onto the wire and teach her how to keep the wire sturdy and easy to work with.
I’m not a June Cleaver mom and most days I feel like I’m failing at this, that I probably shouldn’t be a mom or I made a terrible mistake and I’m screwing up my kid in the process. If you feel like you are failing, I’m here to be a reminder to you that you are doing a great job. That while parenting isn’t rainbows and butterflies and it’s not all we post it to be; you are good enough. Your version of being a mom is unique. You don’t have to be good at or enjoy every part of it. Being a mom is usually a thankless, low paying, low incentive, morality draining job.
But at the end of the day, you do the best you can and you know your kid knows you love them as much as you know you love them more than life without them. Hold your babies close and remember, this too shall pass and in the end, all that matters to raising beautiful human beings that you release into the wild to make their own way in this life.
Raise them with as little need of adult therapy as you can muster.