Ruining Your Child’s Life & Other Pleasures
My son just told me I am the worst mother in the world.
Yes, the WORST. Apparently good mothers let their nine-year-old sons stay up until ten at night playing violent video games and eating Snickers bars. Good moms don’t care if it’s a school night, because school is dumb anyway.
My daughter chimed in from her bedroom that while I wasn’t the worst, I’m not the best because I lied when I told her she could stay up as late as she wanted as soon as she turned twelve.
I’m already picturing my Mother’s Day card: “Thanks for ruining my life. XOXO”
Being a mom has taught me three valuable lessons:
- Never take a good night’s sleep for granted;
- Never believe a recipe when it says it can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, and;
- Never stop believing you are a good mom.
It’s the last one that takes the longest to learn. Because no matter how late you stay up baking cupcakes for your son’s classmates or how much you spent on material to make the perfect princess Halloween costume or how many lullabies you sing at 3 a.m., a little piece of you wonders if it’s enough to transform your children into responsible, loving adults.
There are those moments when you think, “Dang! I totally rock this motherhood thing!” Like at parent-teacher conferences when the teacher says what a wonderfully smart, talented, and responsible person your child is. Or when you witness your child helping an elderly woman carry her bags out of the grocery store. Or when your child brings you his piggy bank and asks if you can take it to the animal shelter to help feed the stray dogs and cats.
Yeah, those are stellar moments.
Then there are those times when you think, “OK, I’m doing OK.” Like when your child admits she spilled the Kool-Aid on the white rug and offers to pay for the cleaning out of her own money. Or when your child doesn’t throw a fit about going to church on Sunday.
Yeah, I’m not perfect, but I’m not Joan Crawford either. Everyone is all right.
Then there are those days like the one I’m having. Your son curses while playing a board game, refuses to apologize, then stomps so hard up the stairs to his room that the recessed light falls out of the ceiling. Your daughter refuses to do her chores, back-talks to her father as he doles out her punishment, then slams her bedroom door so hard a picture falls off the wall.
This is when you start to lose faith in your abilities as a parent. This is when you have to remind yourself that no one told you it would be easy. In fact, most people warned you that parenting would be the hardest job you would ever do.
That’s when you have to dig deep into your soul, muster all your energy, look in the mirror and say, “I AM GOOD ENOUGH!”
There are bad mothers out there, no doubt. But most moms are just trying to do their very best by their kids. They love their kids. They discipline them and hug them and make them feel safe.
And by that standard, I guess I’m doing my best this week.
I’m a good mom. And I’m going to keep telling myself that until I can believe it tonight.
That’s my Mother’s Day wish for all of you. Never stop believing you are a great mom.
I just heard some footsteps coming down the stairs.
“Mom,” my daughter says softly. “I’m sorry and I love you.”
Maybe my Mother’s Day card will simply say, “Thanks for being my mom.”