Picture the serenity: It’s 930pm, your precious daughter has been asleep for a good hour or better, you’re laying in your king sized bed- cloud-esque mattress below you, marshmallowy down comforter over you- nothing to disturb your peace in the soft glow of the bedside lamp except…
The thought that you’re a terrible mom.
Suddenly, your blanket doubles as a puffs tissue and your husband becomes your confused therapist as you blabber about all of the things that you’ve done wrong since the moment your 4.5 year old was conceived.
I mean, I bawled. I was giving Kim K a run for her money on the ugly cry front…and winning.
Let’s see, there was that time that I told her I would play picnic with her later just to blow her off long enough to finish the next five chapters in my book, and then it was bedtime and I promised we’d play “tomorrow”… And then we forgot to play it the next day.
Obviously she’s going to grow up feeling like she’s not important and can’t trust anyone in her life.
Or what about the time I told her not to cry over something silly, which seems like an innocent remark to you and I, right? But what if she internalized that phrase as “what matters to you doesnt really matter so stop crying” and is now doomed to a life of lying on couches with her eyes closed and her every sentence will start with “Well, my therapist says…”
Clearly she’s going to be an adult that cannot express her emotions nor communicate with anyone but the person she pays to talk to.
How about when I gave her a treat for being “such a good girl today” which undoubtedly ensures she will grow up believing that the only way to get and keep our love (plus “win” goodies) is if she is absolutely perfect 100% of the time?
Surely she’s doomed to psychosis and the ultimate personality suppressor: perfectionism.
There was even one time (or was it more than once?) I only half listened to her 10 minutes of jabbering about God knows what while I was doing something much more important, like scrolling through Facebook, and I didn’t even look up from my phone as I nodded in agreement with whatever she was saying.
No doubt she is going to grow old with mommy issues and zero self-confidence.
And so there I was, reading in bed, minding my own, when all of sudden I realized that I ruined my daughter’s life before she even turned half a decade old. That must be a record. Much like Monica Gellar, if I can’t win, I want to win at losing. #orsomethinglikethat
Except I don’t want to lose at this. Because if I lose, then she loses. And ugh, I don’t want her to lose because I’m a loser.
But am I?
How easy it is to hyper focus on all that you’ve done wrong. Not just in parenting (Oh Lordy, though, is it ever easy to do with parenting), but in everything. People spend more time thinking about their past, a part of their lives that they virtually have no control over, than they do their day to day.
Wouldn’t it be ridiculously short sighted of me to “give up” trying to help shape her into a functioning member of society because I messed up a few times over the years?
That’s kind of what happens to us, though, isn’t it?
We allow the worst parts of our lives to define our lives. We hang onto the times we failed instead of focusing on the ways we’ve overcome. We filter our life’s pictures with negativity instead of turning on the flash and seeing clearly.
Here’s the truth: I’m not a terrible mom. I’m a mom who’s messed up. I’m a mom who’s most likely going to mess up her kid in some regard (don’t we all)? I’m a messy mom. I’m a hot mess mom. But I’m not a terrible mom…and neither are you.
You can do terrible things but that doesn’t make you a terrible person.
You can make a mistake, but that doesn’t make you a mistake.
That time I cried about being a terrible mom, I remembered that those were terrible feelings to hold onto and terrible things to say about myself, and I prayed them away. My hubby and I prayed and then we went and woke up our little lady, brought her into that big squishy bed, and let her sleep between us, that night.
And I’m pretty sure that that spontaneous slumber party makes up for the time I waited until she went to bed to finish off the ice cream because there wasn’t enough to share…
Have you ever felt like a terrible mom? You’ll probably fit right into the Messy Mom Squad–with all of the other no good mothers–and we can mess up our kids together. Yeah?
P.s. You’re awesome. We’re all awesome. Love your kiddo. Keep them healthy. And give yourself a pat on the back for being the absolutely incredible PERSON that you are. Smooches!