Lowering the Bar. At Least for Today.

2012-10-18 11.13.52
There are days I feel totally and completely incompetent.

Take today for instance. My bedroom floor is littered with toys, books, and clothes. There are far too many water glasses on my dresser. My kitchen is messy, a side-effect of my son’s insistence that we make an apple pie. All my daughter’s cloth diapers are dirty, so she’s in a disposable. It’s almost noon and I’m still not dressed. And my son is watching probably his third or fourth TV show of the day. Oh. And I still haven’t done any of the revisions that I promised my novel I’d tackle today.

I haven’t taken my kids to the playground in ages. My dog needs a walk. And these little beings sometimes seem to exist only to torture me with guilt and, well, incompetence.

I am not one of those moms that does it all. I’m more like one of those ones that’s just muddling through. And this is my job. I’m a stay-at-home-mom. Or, actually, I like to think of myself as a work-at-home-mom seeing as how I spend at least a few hours a day writing, reading, revising, networking with other young adult writers etc, but since that hasn’t started paying the bills…

I’m not going to lie. This is a pretty terrible feeling. It feels like juggling. Badly.

But I have a prescription on days like today when I don’t feel like enough.

1. Read a book with my son. Marvel at how many letters he knows.
2. Enjoy nursing my daughter to sleep for her nap.
3. Get a little something done around the house.
4. Read one chapter of a good book.
5. Take the kids outside for half an hour. Bring the dog.
6. Kiss both my kids. Tell them I love them.


My house may never be clean. (At least not every room at the exact same time.) And my kids may watch more TV than I like. We might eat only pretzels for lunch, and I may not be able to convince my son that green veggies are good.

But the yardstick I choose to measure myself with, at least today, is whether or not my kids feel loved, and healthy, and safe. And, yes, they do. So it’s a good day.

8 thoughts on “Lowering the Bar. At Least for Today.”

  1. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I am so grateful for other moms like you who don’t try to pretend like they “have it all together” because it makes all the rest of us who don’t “have it all together all the time” a whole lot better and a lot less guilty. As my psychology professor says, “kids don’t need a supermom who does all the latest craft projects with them, they need a good-enough mom- one who tries her best to meet their physical and emotional needs everyday”. You are wonderful!

  2. This describes my day today almost exactly (but substitute the apple pie for cupcakes and nix the productive writing stuff :). Thank you for sharing and for helping me to feel better about all of the curious George my son watched, and his lunch of cheese crackers!

  3. Good for you stay at home moms. I often marvel at how you do it!!! And, if the “working out of the home moms” were honest with themselves they have the same self doubts and more…..
    Hang in there. All moms are doing the best they can under their particular circumstances. Enjoy the special moments and hang on to them whether you work “in the home” or “out”…..

  4. There are really times parents feel that way and we cannot avoid those times. But that’s completely understandable especially when you’re alone with children at home. You do all the errands and take care of the child/children but it doesn’t mean you’re not a good mom or worthless mom. You don’t have to be a perfect one just be a good and deserving mom and that’s enough.

  5. THANK YOU so much for sharing that! I so needed to read it this morning. We are blessed with three children who are my world. But when it comes to the house I feel defeated often. No matter how hard I try the house is always a disaster, laundry always behind, poor dogs haven’t been on a walk in ages– insanely keep thinking I’m going to find time to work out. And I tell myself I’m the only one. The only one incapable of managing their life. So you don’t know the relief you brought my heart reading your story this morning.

  6. Wow, I’ve done 5 out of 6 on your list. (We only went outside for about 5 minutes and didn’t bring the dog and I was delinquent on kissing the preschooler, but that was easy to fix.) I feel SOO much better about my day now. Thank you! 🙂

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