On Friday night, I sat in the airport alone with my three children. We’d just spent nearly two hours getting through the security line and were finally at the gate waiting for our now delayed flight. The kids were each getting out their last dose of energy before boarding the flight, as I sat on my phone trying to catch up on emails and respond to clients. It wasn’t long though before I noticed the stares and looks of judgement as my kids laughed loudly and I looked at my phone. The ones that said I wasn’t actively engaged in my children; that I didn’t have 100% of my attention focused on them. The ones that tried to make me feel like I was a bad mother.
But moments like these can sometimes feel par for the course in motherhood.
Kate Hudson even penned an essay about it recently for an InStyle cover story, bluntly titled, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Bad Mom.” And in it, she makes some pretty candid admissions.
“Some days I feel like I should win Best Mom of the Day award,” writes the actress and mother of two. “… and some days I find myself doing strange things that don’t have any real purpose, in faraway corners [of] my house, and I realize I am literally and deliberately hiding from my children.”
“… Even though every primal ounce of the nurturing, domestic woman in me gets pulled, I’m a hunter as well. And I love to hunt!” she continues. “And as a woman I feel that somehow we are supposed to feel apologetic about wanting both. But I don’t want to apologize for that anymore. Being both already comes at an emotional cost, without adding society’s antiquated idea of the traditional roles of man and woman in the home.”
It’s a sentiment that I can relate to all too well. And I know that many other moms feel the same way.
As mothers, we try and do the very best for our children; but sometimes, through no fault of our own, we lose our sense of self in return. When we try to regain parts of ourselves again, it comes at a cost, and sometimes that means less time for our children. But that doesn’t make us bad mothers — although the natural feeling of guilt would make us think otherwise.
Hudson’s willingness to admit something that we all struggle with every single day is quite honestly a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. So often I’m just trying to keep my head above water. I go to bed each night recapping the day, wondering if the decisions I made as a mother were the best decisions I could have made.
Five years ago, one year after my oldest daughter was born, I quit my full-time job as a teacher. We’d just moved to a new city and I wanted to dedicate all of my focus on my daughter. I wanted to be that stay-at-home-mom that I’d always dreamed of. And I was thankful that I was able to do it.
It was a year after our move and since I’d made the decision to stay at home that I knew that I needed more. I needed to do something for me. And that’s when I started to slowly enter the working world again. But this time, it was on my terms. I’d started consulting and freelance writing. It could all be done at home and on my schedule. In my head, it was as if I had the best of both worlds; the perfect balance of being able to stay at home with my daughter, while still having something that was just for me.
Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. As I soon learned, there is no “perfect” balance between work and motherhood. It just doesn’t exist. Yes, I get to work at home and be with my kids every day, but it’s so much more than that. Many days I’m at my computer working on deadlines while my kids are babysat by the television. Other times I completely forget to do an important task because I have to go to a parent/teacher conference or read a book at my daughter’s school. There are days when I’m overly stressed because of work, and it spills over into places it shouldn’t, with my kids taking the brunt of that stress. And then of course, there’s always that little bit of guilt that I feel for not doing one thing or the other.
Motherhood, as Hudson reminds us, is a constant battle, one that we feel like we’re losing most days. But I’m here to tell you that we’re not. There is one thing that we have that conquers all. And that’s love. No matter how terrible we think our day goes, at the end of it, we still love our children. And they still love us.
So when you’re down on yourself and feeling like a bad mom for wanting to hide in the bathroom for an extra five minutes while your kids run rampant around the house; or you’re feeling guilty for having to stay an extra hour at work and missing bedtime with the kids, remember this: They still love you. And there’s nothing “bad” about that.More On