Do you ever have bad parenting days — you know, the days you feel like you’re doing absolutely everything wrong? It’s those days you want to rip your parenting to shreds, listing every single darn thing you’re doing (or failing to do) that will most certainly cause your dear child to end up on the therapist’s couch someday.
If you say you don’t have those bad parenting days, you’re either:
B. Not a parent
On any given day, I can find something about my mothering to internally tear down. I am my own worst critic. Fortunately, I have other moms in my support network who cheer me on and lift me up when I feel like I’m tanking.
If you’ve ever felt like you just suck as a mom (raises hand), then blogger Constance Hall has some words you should pay attention to: “Deep breaths, you’re doing a good job.”
Hall is the woman and mom behind the popular Australian parenting blog Like a Queen, and a good person to have on your virtual mom squad. Her recent post on Facebook about not feeling like a good mother is gathering steam, with 320K likes and 155K shares. The reason this post is being shared so widely is because it resonates with parents, especially mothers.
When someone complimented Hall with the words “You’re such a good mum,” her response was to blurt out, “I don’t feel like a good mum. The kids are driving me so crazy, I’m losing my temper, and falling asleep at night wondering where I’m going [to] get the patience for another day.”
Any of that sound familiar?
That “someone” who complimented Hall and her children just happened to be a child therapist and she had these words of wisdom:
“Babies cry, it’s how they communicate. Toddlers scream, children whinge, and teenagers complain. Then mums say the words ‘for f*ck’s sake’ under their breath before every responding. It’s how we communicate.”
While we might wish for a quiet house and to drink our morning coffee in peace, communicating with our children is not a quiet operation. And think about it … what’s the alternative to not communicating? Sullenness? Fear? Shutting down? When you think of it that way, a quiet house loses some of its appeal.
“And kids don’t drive you crazy,” adds Hall’s friend-therapist. “You were crazy already. That’s why you had them.”
We all have those moments where we feel like we suck and that we’re doing this whole parenting thing all kinds of wrong. But we don’t suck and we’re not doing it wrong. Maybe sometimes, we just need someone else to tell us that we’ve got it right, to compliment our mothering, and to say nice things about our children. Maybe that little bit of affirmation is just the thing we need to keep us going.
The encouragement from her friend was what Constance Hall needed to feel like a good parent again.
“Deep breaths, you’re doing a good job,” she tells her readers.
I was one of those readers who read those words at a time when I needed someone to give me the reassurance that I’m doing a good job. And you know what? I am. I just need to hear it sometimes. Maybe you do, too.
“I have four kids,” Hall tells Babble. “And I have no idea what the answers for your child’s latest issue is but I love chatting about them and working out what we are all going to do. There’s no competition among other mothers. We are just a whole pile of glorious queens wondering why there is poop in our hair and who we have become.”
Parenting is hard, but you are doing a good job. Take those deep breaths and believe it. And then pay it forward because somewhere in your circle of moms is someone who needs some reassurance that she is doing a good job. Be that person who gives it to her.