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I Did My Best Today but So What

By Lori Garcia |

As I lie awake obsessing over BooBoo’s kindergarten readiness, my husband inhales deep, peaceful breaths that make me more anxious than ever. He’s not worried about BooBoo’s readiness at all, or wrestling with the guilt of serving our kids cereal for dinner. He’s sleeping peacefully under the mistaken impression that I was a good mom today.

Little does he know I forgot their vitamins and didn’t insist on baths either.

Nights like tonight when I look back over a day of missed mom opportunities, I can’t help but hate myself a little.

The kids watched too much TV and played too many video games today, my conscious warns. Sure, I was trying to catch up working from home, but my kids hardly saw me and there I was, twenty feet from them. Wasn’t this why I left my job outside the home in the first place I wondered, to be present for my kids?

So I’m here, but I’m not here. Everything in my gut tells me that being absent while present is probably the biggest mom crime of all.

I chewed on that thought for a while until it became too hard to chew, like stale gum. My mind wandered, where can I find those green ballpoint pens on Boy Wonder’s back-to-school list?

Boy Wonder, oh how my train of thought always stops on Boy Wonder. I was short today with him and he felt it; I saw the look of disappointment in his eyes. Figures tonight I’d see one of those Pinteresty-looking quotes on a friend’s Facebook wall that said something like, “The words you speak to your children become their inner voice.” That scared the shit out of me. I was curt with him because I was busy and I’m pretty sure it made him feel small. If it didn’t, I can only imagine cereal for dinner did.  Poor small-feeling Boy Wonder without green ballpoint pens.

I sat up in bed, rolled my neck a few times to ease the mounting tension that likes to sit right above my shoulder. “So this is where the phrase ‘weight of the world on your shoulders’ comes from,” I pondered.

I inhaled deeply as if to somehow swallow the emphatic mom guilt. “I tried my best today,” I silently told myself.

I knew in my head that “good mothers” the world over have days like this too; days when they don’t stop to play Candy Land with their kids. Days when they forget vitamins or green ballpoint pens. I knew that those things in isolation didn’t make me a bad mother, but there are nights like tonight when I can’t help but fear I’ve let down my kids. And who cares if I’m trying my best.

Do you think we’re too hard on ourselves as moms?

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About Lori Garcia

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Lori Garcia

Lori Garcia is a writer and mother of two living and loving in Southern California. When she's not fussing with her bangs, you can find her shaking her groove thing on her personal blog, Mommyfriend where she almost never combines true tales of motherhood and mayhem with her degree in child development. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lori's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “I Did My Best Today but So What

  1. Kacy Faulconer says:

    I bet they don’t feel let down.

  2. dadcamp says:

    It’s good to be a dad. Y’all worry way. too. much.

  3. Meghan Gosselink says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for this! I feel this way every night…including the peacefully sleeping husband who thinks I worry too much and that kids are resilient and just fine. Thank you thank you thank you..it is so nice to know I am not the only o e who feels this way. The words “I did my best” are my least favorite words in the English language…my mother says them to me all the time and I actually do feel let down.

  4. Dani says:

    Do you even work? Geee, give yourself a break. I work 50 hours a week and have a kid in preschool and one on the way. I don’t dare think about “not being there” and I try not to give in to mommy guilt. I just know that I am doing the best that I can do for my family and kids. I am present when we are all together and love my brilliant little girl.

  5. mommyfriend says:

    I do work, I work from home as a freelance writer. I know I’m doing the best I can but I have times – like when I wrote this piece – that I doubt my best is good enough. I believe we all have quiet moments when mom guilt gets the better of us. I simply chose to write through it. I know my kids are loved and well cared for but I’ll always want to be better and try harder. It’s just the mother I am.

  6. dani says:

    Yes, we all have those moments. For sure, everyone has room for improvement. Sometimes I wish I could write through my feelings, too. I have a craft blog and I am sure my friends would think I am looney if I blog about my adventures through mommyhood.

  7. wendi says:

    hi, thank you for such a real post. its so refreshing to hear a mom being real when there is dumb competition between some moms and that im not alone. i clean as much as i can and i play with our 2 yr. old daughter and 6 mth old, read her stories, give her and her sister a bath and still sometimes i wonder if i couldve done something different some days. i think thats what makes you an even better mom actually. i wash my hubbs clothes and do chores around the house and cook unless we need to get something. i give my daughters love and they will always know mine and my husbands is unconditional. I know that there is no perfect parenting and my baby girls know that i love them and that their mommy and daddy will always be there for them and will put them first. that is really all that matters most in parenting. providing, dependable,loving them always. if you have that then they are set. ; )

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