Well, I certainly hope my kids don’t need a perfect mother, because they definitely don’t have one.
I probably spend too much time worrying about the state of my mothering abilities. I would love to go into the ways I fail right here, but I am all too familiar with the cutthroat Mothering audience to do something quite as stupid as that. (No offense gals, but when I get a dozen comments from you about how I am hideous because I dare admit there are things I don’t love about being a mom, it makes a gal a little more careful. So much for keeping it real.)
Despite my frequent and overpowering guilt over my imperfect parenting, I am starting to believe (hope…) that it is actually a GOOD thing that my children have a mother who is sometimes great, sometimes mediocre, and sometimes downright sucky.
Hear me out.
I gave them lots of hugs and breastfeeding and all that the first few years they were alive. I still give them the hugs and stuff. But eventually they started walking and talking and talking back and screaming and running into traffic and then I had to put on my big voice and start putting the smack down. (No, not LITERALLY smacking them. Sheesh.)
I have heard people say that they want to be a “Yes mom”- you know- a mom who says yes more often than she says no. I used to even BE like this. I would say “No, thank you!” to my oldest when he would act like a maniac. It was awesome. I should have written a parenting book back then. It would have made the current version of myself feel really guilty though…
Now, I think the patient, never raises her voice, says yes more than she says no, probably needs narcotics to stop herself from freaking out, mom is not even a good thing.
Yeah. I said it. I now actually consider myself superior to good moms BECAUSE I am worse than them. THIS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE ANYMORE!
(Before you start freaking out, NO, I don’t think I am better than you. Life kicks me in the nuts every time that starts to happen.)
Seriously though- am I really benefiting my children if the first time they hear the word no is outside of my home? I shudder to think what that child would act like in public. Not only that, I shudder to think how much they would LACK resilience.
We all have hard things happen in life. Really hard things.
Let’s name a few of them, (many of which you and I have experienced in our lives):
-trials of faith
-living with your mother-in-law…
The list goes on and on.
I can guarantee that all of my children will at some point have to deal with some of these things in their life, if not ALL of them. I don’t relish that day. I don’t feel the need to be cruel to them in order to prepare them for that day.
I do, however, believe that the strong make it through and many others cave under the enormous load that life can try to crush us with. I don’t want my kids to experience all those things in their youth, but I also don’t want them to wonder why the world is so cruel when it happens to them. Because it WILL happen to them.
Maybe the fact that they have an imperfect mother will prepare them for the thorns of life.
Maybe they will learn from my sub-par mothering that life isn’t always fair but you get through it anyway, that you don’t always get what you want, but somebody loves you still, that sometimes you get kicked in pants (not for real- FIGURATIVELY) and you have to keep getting back up and working anyway. Maybe they will learn that they are stronger than the crap things that happen to them.
Maybe they will learn that sometimes the answer IS no and that is for their own freaking good. Maybe they will learn that sometimes somebody else does know better than them or that sometimes you have to do the right thing even when it is hard.
I don’t want kids who like the easy way out or who think the world revolves around them or who think they can be snarky just because they didn’t get their way. I want kids who are better than me in every way.
I know people say that they learn from example, not by what you tell them. I sure hope that isn’t totally true. If it is, we are all in trouble.
(If you are wondering if that lovely picture is of me and one of my kids, the answer is no. She is way more perfect than me.)