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I Am Not a Bad Mom

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“You’re mean Mommy!” “I don’t like you!” “I want a NEW mommy.”

My newly 3-year-old pouted loudly from the backseat. We were driving in the car and he was done with it. Twenty minutes from home, there wasn’t much I could do about it. We had to keep driving. (Not that I would ever give into a 3-year-old’s arbitrary demands. Ha.)

My heart was breaking, but I kept driving. He kept shouting the hurtful phrases I didn’t think I’d have to deal with for at least another 10 years. As tears streamed down my cheeks, I stopped the car in the middle of a quiet road and turned to face my little tyrant. He hesitated a minute as he took in the tears, but he repeated it. “You’re mean, Mommy. I don’t like you.” I told him it was because he was being mean to me. I know, mature, right? Way to be the grown-up and take the high road, mom.

We all have those days. The ones we’re not so proud of. The ones where we know we can do better. Sometimes I have them more often than I’d like to admit. This particular week my husband was out of town, the weather was cold and dreary, and school was cancelled. We might have spent too much time sitting on the couch in front of the TV. I might have spent too much time absentmindedly hitting refresh on all the social media apps on my phone until there was nothing left to refresh. We might have eaten too many fish sticks and chicken nuggets because I was too lazy to cook a real dinner.

It happens.

We don’t always do so well at this parenting thing. Certainly not all the time. But it doesn’t make me a bad mom. Yes, there are times when I could do better, but self-imposing the overarching label of “bad mom” would be doing myself an injustice. It’d be discounting all the times I was a good mom, a great mom. It’d be ignoring the sometimes not-so-obvious fact that while I’m somebody’s mom, I’m also still just a person. A person who has bad days or bad hours, sad moments or rough weeks. Calling myself a bad mom would be giving in too easily. It’d be giving myself permission to not pick myself up and brush the rough days away. It’d be devaluing all the little moments we have that are so good for no good reason at all.

I hear it or read it at least once a day, often times countless more. A friend or fellow parent saying, “Gosh, I’m such a bad mom.” I’m looking at you, “bad mom,” and I’m telling you that you’re not one. You may have had a bad day, or a bad moment, or maybe made a bad parenting decision. But these things can be fixed, turned around, changed. They can be made up for and set back on course. We all have bad moments. We all have times where we know we could do better but we choose not to. It’s okay, mom. It’s okay. Tomorrow’s another day. Tomorrow will be better.

Image courtesy of Heather Neal

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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