It was a rough week all around. At work. At home. Especially at home …
I was not a perfect mom this week. I didn’t have a perfect kid this week.
It’s not that either of those things actually happens any other week, but this was a particularly bad one, and by the tail end of Friday, I was feeling like a failure. It’s easy to get down on yourself as a parent: when the kids are acting up, when you’ve done everything you can possibly think of doing (Lengthy time out? Check. Taking away the electronics? Check. Telling them they will have to write an apology letter to the friend they were mean to? Check. Cancelling special events? Check ….), when you’re losing your cool, when you feel like everyone else is doing so much better at it.
It’s never been easy being a parent, but I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t so much harder these days because everyone is willing to tell you how much you suck at it … and plumping themselves up as bastions of parental greatness.
Go on any blog site, and read the comments. These people will tell you how wonderful they are at everything! Their kids never misbehave! They never lose their cool! And they can juggle six oranges behind their back WHILE making a perfectly balanced breakfast!
Well, it’s bullshit.
We all have sucky days as parents. Sometimes we have sucky weeks.
I had one. But I did something different this week, something that was surprisingly therapeutic.
I admitted it.
I was a bad mom.
I put it all out there on Facebook — well, not all, I’m not big on oversharing. I reached out to other moms and dads not to cluck my tongue about this, that, and the other mama doing something wrong on the playground but to get real, to admit that every day with kids is not a walk in the park.
And they did.
These were some of the stories I got (names have been redacted):
1. I seriously said to [my husband] yesterday “I am a bad mom. Because the children of good parents do not behave like this, right?” He reassured me that even the best parents in the world have kids who scream like banshees, run away from them in parking lots, and give them massive amounts of attitude when they have to leave a fun event to go home.
2. My daughter tells her friends their parents are going to die because they’re old.
3. My son sticks his fingers in dog’s butt holes and asks overweight women in public why they are so fat and I could go on.. Point being, kids are weird sometimes. You are doing great. I know. I have seen you in action:)
4. [My son] was acting up when I picked him up from the babysitter the other day and I said “I missed you all day and couldn’t wait to see you and now your acting like a jerk” Now every time I say I missed you today he says “And I’m acting like a jerk?” Epic. Parenting. Fail. blah
5. i got 5 CALLS, 5!!!! In one day from a summer camp about my 7 year old’s behavior. 5!!!! And then we had to find him a new place entirely after that. SO. seriously it happens to all of us. Or at least I hope it does or I’ll feel like the worst mom ever. *hugs*
6. Well, I’m the worst mom today co my daughter has been watching TV for about 4 hours, is currently drawing all over her legs with marker and I just fed her cold leftover mac and cheese from yesterday. Yeah, I suck.
7. Well I know for a fact your kid is not the baddest kid ,because my 10 year old is. I got told by security in my complex that she was swimming in one of the pools in the complex, with her school uniform and her brand new shoes.
Why did I share these? To let the world know that my friends suck as parents too?
I actually admire all these parents. I wouldn’t be friends with them if I didn’t think they loved their kids and had their best interests at heart. I wouldn’t want to be around them if I didn’t think they were trying.
I share their downfalls because that’s exactly what I needed last night: honesty. Reality. A community of parents rallying around me to say, “You know what? Perfection is a myth perpetuated by parenting magazines and Pinterest.”
Parenthood can be absolutely fantastic. And it can absolutely, without a doubt, suck.
We need to remember that’s OK; we need to re-convince ourselves that it’s one thing to strive for perfection but another to actually expect it.
Our kids don’t need the best. They need trying. They need the best they can get.
And we parents need to remember that when we talk to one another, when we talk about parenting. We need to stop talking about ideal and start talking about real.
Because kids — and parents — are human beings. We’re not automatons, programmed to do things to a “t.” We’re people dealing with emotional and physical limits, with the ebb and flow of patience and compassion, with hormonal surges and the will to just blow this popsicle stand … but the knowledge (and frustration) that that’s not a valid option.
This is the truth about parenting, not some sanctimommy up on her high horse insisting she’s got the secret to raising kids “right.” Some days she is a bad mom too.
Some days, we all suck as parents. Some days, our kids suck.
But we are not alone, and tomorrow is another day.
What is your suckiest parenting moment? Care to share?
Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?