Some days I feel like I could win a Bad Mom contest. I’m not talking the recent cinematic “Bad Moms” where “bad” means your kid eats lots of processed food or smells like chlorine all summer long because you “swimming pool” bathe them. I’m talking real bad; things that make you wonder if you’re completely incompetent at the world’s most important job of raising up decent, kind, respectful humans. Most days – or at least often enough – I pat myself on the back for what I perceive to be a job well done. But then some days are truly horrible. My girls will incessantly bicker with each other or they’ll talk to me with intense and reckless disrespect. Just yesterday my three year old threw a doll at me and called me the “baddest mama in the world” when I told her it was time to leave our friend’s house (my friend’s angel children looked on slack-jawed in disbelief at my toddler’s tantrum). Humbling. The day continues and I don’t really stop to reflect until, after playing an exhausting round of bedtime whack-a-mole, I am left to silence and my thoughts. And the waves of self-doubt crash over me.
I make plenty of mistakes as a mom. I think of the saying, “Does it hold water?” and picture my parenting as a boat. I load my kids up and paddle them out with me to the middle of the parenting lake, thinking they are safe inside my vessel. Then my weaknesses really start showing as I begin taking on water that sneaks in through my splinters and cracks. I feel not so sea-worthy anymore. Having kids exposes my every single imperfection, every single day. I question if I’m too imperfect to get them safely across the lake. Things like patience, gentleness, wisdom, endurance, self-control. I find myself lacking when the pressure is on. I can so plainly see my own short-comings in moments of my kids’ bad behavior; it’s difficult to resist pointing a finger straight back at myself. I take it personally and am left feeling disheartened about my ability as a mother.