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On Being a Good Mom

This week the kids and I traveled to my mom’s house for Spring Break. This is important on many, many levels.

For starters, hanging out with Nana means I get to breathe. There’s no judgment here. No “well, you should really consider…” I don’t hear “If you would just…” The kids get to spend time with her and I’m reminded of all the reasons why I wanted to become a mom. Why it was a dream of mine.

I’m always a more confident mother when I’m around my own mom. It’s been that way since Joshua was born. It will be that way probably for eternity.

There’s something about my mom’s presence that’s just reassuring. Through no words at all she lets me know that I’m doing okay at this whole mom thing. I’m calmer, more patient. I know I’m not completely screwing it all up.

Last week I was called a bad mom. I let those words fester like an infected wound in my heart. I couldn’t help it. Try as I did to let them go, put them out of my mind, I just couldn’t stop replaying them in my head. They were trapped on a loop and I sank into a pit of self-loathing.

This week I’m calling bullshit.

This week I know that even when things don’t go as I’d have them, when the kids get a little crazy, it’s not because I’m a complete screw-up. Could I have made different choices (and have I since then)? Yes, probably. Of course I can. That’s why hindsight is so valuable. But that’s also why it’s called hindsight.

We take those moments and we replay them, sometimes on what seems like an endless loop, and we imagine all the things we could’ve done differently so that they don’t happen again. Sometimes they DO happen again, despite our best efforts to ensure they don’t because that’s just what it’s like, but most of the time we learn and grow and adapt and do better the next time.

I know that I’m a good mom, despite what I sometimes think after the bad moments.  A bad moment doesn’t make me a bad mom. It doesn’t make you a bad mom either. None of us are bad moms because we have bad moments. Do you know how I know?

Because in my worst moments, I’m harder on myself than anyone else possibly could be. I’m hard on myself because I care so much about getting this parenting thing right that when I screw up, it rips me to pieces.

Has this been a blissful and perfect week? Of course not. Emma’s very much a threenager and Joshua is pretty certain he knows what he’s doing even when I’m pretty certain he doesn’t.

But this week I’ve found a little bit of grace, both through mothering and being mothered, and grace is something we all need. We all need the reassurance that we’re doing our best because the truth is that most of us are.

Last week I screwed up. This week I didn’t.

Either way I’m still a good mom.

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Thursday 16th of April 2015



Thursday 16th of April 2015

Seriously. If you want to call me a bad mom, don't hide behind your anonymity. Let's have a conversation.

John (Daddy Runs a Lot)

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

I think you're a great mom. Truly. And this is coming from someone who is only mildly sure that he shouldn't be jailed for the way he's raising his kids.

Laura Clark

Saturday 11th of April 2015

Thank you for this post. I often question whether I'm a good mother myself. I love what you said about a bad moment not making a bad mom. And I'm with you on the comfort of your mother, somehow I always feel better when my parents are with me and my son.

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