Am I a bad mom?

Do you ever have those days when you feel down in the dumps? You know, one of those days when you start thinking that you are, maybe a BAD mom… When you want to send the whole world packing?

As over-tired and overworked moms, we often feel the pressure to cram 48 hours of work into a 24 hour day. There are always 1,000 things to do and just thinking about them all can tire us out…   And sometimes you crumble. You feel powerless and frustrated, even though all you wanted was to be a good mom to those little munchkins. So, what’s THE solution to stop time slipping through your fingers, just for a while…?

OK, we’ve all seen those Perfect Moms on social media, right? You know, the string of Super Moms and their adorable children on Instagram. In their super chic house, they prepare delicious treats and organic snacks while still finding the time to play with their adorable children. Or, we see them going for walks in stunning parks with their perfect children, who manage to avoid all the puddles along the way.

Yet somehow for us, a trip to the park ends up with another tantrum coming down the slide, a sand-fight-gone-bad with another kiddo, and a crazy race against the clock because we still need to do the shopping, make dinner and run the bath (not forgetting to remove the effing sand!!)

Bad mom or just a bad day?

We all have our ups and downs. Some days are amazing and everything falls into place, and then there are the bad days when one disaster is just followed by another. Yes, we have all had those horrible nightmare days, like the one you might be having today…

Maybe you were feeling depressed today because it was one of those famous days when nothing, and I mean NOTHING worked out as planned? Or maybe you started questioning your parenting techniques? Permissive, too strict, inflexible about some things, and completely permissive about others? You don’t know where to focus your energy.

There are thousands of other reasons why you might be feeling blue: you reached the end of your tether and ended up shouting at your child. Or your kid’s teacher kindly let you know that he or she lashed out at other children in the class? You feel like THE worst mom who has been doing everything wrong…

Or you ran around like a headless chicken for your kid all weekend, juggling sports clubs, trips, and birthday parties… And what has the little one decided to do today? Throw an enormous tantrum. It’s just all too much. Worn out, exhausted, you just can’t be the shining example of a perfect mother right now. You would have preferred to stay snuggled up under the blanket and binge watch some of your favorite TV shows.

And just when you thought you had found the time to kick back on the couch and take a second to breathe, you spill your tea everywhere… Yes you know it’s not the end of the world but… All you want to do is moan and whine … That’s when that horrible feeling comes, down in the dumpsyou feel guilty…. You feel alone and misunderstood.

Sometimes, it’s just too hard to keep your spirits up and to find the motivation to keep moving forwards. We can seriously doubt whether we’re doing things the right way, raising our kids in the right way. We doubt ourselves, we go round in circles…

We can feel completely alone and tell ourselves that, really, ‘I’m not a good mom’.

But, you’re not alone. Far from it. We are all part of a community made up of moms who try, struggle, try again, and, sometimes, lose motivation. In all honesty, I think we have all been through that. Because it’s really not easy to be a Mom, period.

So, stop blaming yourself. Because there is no such thing as a perfect mom!

Here’s to you, you’re doing a great job

No, there is no such thing as a perfect mom… but I know that you are a badass mom, an incredible mother. How do you spend your time? You devote it to your little ones without thinking twice just because you love them so much. You would do anything for them, to say the least. Your heart is as big as all outdoors. As Little Panda would say ‘bigger than the whole of France and Japan and the stars and the galaxies’

You know, I can picture everyone being in these situations:

  • When the only moment you have to yourself is your morning coffee. You treat yourself to a cup (ok, a mug) of strong coffee because you know that this is the only moment you have to yourself. That short moment of respite before the baby starts crying. Farewell, sleep, my old friend ! It was nice knowing you
  • When you disappear under a pile of laundry that you have to fold and put away while the washing machine’s whizzing away and the dryer’s humming at the same time. And you ask yourself : Are these clothes conspiring against me? They seem to be multiplying before your eyes… Not to mention the global Odd Sock Conspiracy.  I’ve had it up to here!
  • When you drag yourself out of bed at the break of dawn, eyes half closed and serious bed hair, because the baby is crying and – like always – needs to be fed, Farewell sleep (again!), it was nice knowing you (again!)
  • When you scoff down your kid’s Mac-n-Cheese because you haven’t eaten anything since lunchtime (you had no time). Actually, the coffee you meant to drink this morning is still sitting on the counter. Oops.
  • When you read one of those famous bedtime stories about gnomes or little baby bears and you have to muster up every little piece of strength you have not to lie down and just sleep sleep sleep. And also when you cut short a hug with your little guy (or gal) because that would relax you too much and then all bets are off. I know. It sucks.
  • When you didn’t give into temptation faced with a bag of delicious, colorful and incredibly tempting candy that your kid brought back from a birthday party. You saw them and you resisted. You did, you resisted them valiantly, for several days. You told yourself : they’re just junk, full of sugar, gelatine, artificial coloring blah blah blah… And then one day, when morale is particularly low, you need some comfort food… bam. Gone in one bite.
  • When you get into bed – finally – and you were meant to have a moment to relax. But actually, you’re going through tomorrow’s to-do list in your head, you remind yourself to call the doctor back and to renew the insurance. You think about how you could/should  have avoided a shouting match at work. You can’t get to sleep and the hours left before you have to wake up keep passing. And then you say to yourself, no, there’s no way that will happen again tomorrow.

Even an amazing mom can crack

So yes. It’s totally possible to be a super mom and still have moments of weakness. You can make mistakes, get things wrong, scream and forget things… But for now, if you are reading this article, it might mean that you’ve had a tough day, one of those draining, never-ending days when nothing went according to plan.

It’s true, there will be bad days, sometimes. There might even be some more coming, quite a few. You can’t control everything, it’s inevitable. This thing with being a parent is that we can try to protect our kids and to control everything. But this can’t work 100% of the time, life can take an unpredicted turn, so please :

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, try to accept your flaws and weaknesses, nurture your kind and understanding side
  • Learn to forgive yourself, from the bottom of your heart, just like you would forgive someone else
  • Give yourself a big, no… a massive hug when you need it (go on, it really does wonders!)

Because you do an amazing job every day. You are an incredible mom, even when you mess up. And don’t we say ‘storms make trees grow deeper roots’? Even superheroes fail. So for us, mere humans, it’s ok to stumble from time to time, right?

We’ll never be perfect. Not you, not me, not our kids. The only thing we can do is to learn from our mistakes and try to improve day by day.

So don’t blame yourself, sweet precious mom. Because no one is perfect and you don’t deserve any blame. So hang in there.

When I doubt myself : am I a good mom?

1. If you get mad at yourself, because of your ‘lack of this’… or your ‘not enough of that’:

Just remember that, up until now, you have made great decisions for your kids on a daily basis. Trust yourself, listen to your instincts and do what you’ve been doing. You’re on the right path : your path!

2. If you doubt yourself too much, too often :

Take a couple of deep breaths, center yourself for a couple of minutes and tell yourself, in a decisive and reassuring voice : ‘Everything will be ok. I can do this and it will be alright.’ It’s better to see the glass half full, or put on those rose-tinted glasses, it’s up to you.

3. If you can’t get over a bump in the road, something that you did wrong :

Give yourself a second chance, try again and forgive yourself. Tomorrow is another day and you CAN wipe the slate clean and start again.

4. If you feel guilty for not doing something well enough :

Give yourself a break and indulge yourself. You are allowed to make pasta with ready-made sauce for dinner two days in a row. Your house is allowed to be a mess.

5. If you have so many things to do that it makes you want to break down in tears :

Stop what you’re doing. Take a break, breathe and give yourself a moment to relax : a hot bubble bath, get some fresh air, a good book and a cup of tea… anything that will improve your mood, take your mind off things and give you a break from your day!

6. If you feel lost, overwhelmed, confused :

Call a friend, go out, have fun, clear your head! And don’t forget that you’re an amazing person, like… really exceptional! Yes, that’s all you need to do. Everything you do on a daily basis in your role as the ‘head of the family business’, on call 24/7, on top of your job and the 1000s of other things you have on your plate… It’s quite an achievement.

So here’s to you, mom

Know that I understand your moments of joy and sadness, your daily amazement and exhaustion. It’s time to take a break, give yourself the time to breathe, and indulge in some ME time.

We all have our ups and downs. We misstep, we lose our temper. But we also have the opportunity to forgive ourselves, to learn from our mistakes and to learn to love ourselves, even with our little flaws.

When you feel like nothing is going right, just remember : the little ones have a roof over their heads, enough clothes, regular meals, joy in their lives and, most importantly, parents who love them. That’s all that matters at the end of the day!

You are a super mom. And even more importantly, you are doing a great job! Don’t ever doubt that.

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