It was one of those nights. Home late from an after-school appointment, I grabbed a box of cardboard-thin mini-pizzas and a bag of fries out of the freezer in the hopes that no one would notice my lackluster performance as tonight’s leading chef. As I threw the un-nutritional meal of the day into the oven, I screeched at various children to ‘do your homework’, ‘practice your piano’ and ‘get off your i-pods’. From there, I had words (a fight) with my oldest as well as an argument with my youngest. I also sat down at the computer at some point in the evening after which I exclaimed that I could not possibly sit down with one of my children and practice their piano as “my nerves just couldn’t take it tonight.” I then proceeded to whittle away some well-wasted time on Facebook as my Husband took over.
Am I a bad mommy? Or was this just a momentary lapse of ‘mommy finesse’ in an otherwise typical day/typical life?
I have just finished reading this article in which the bad mommy versus good mommy is discussed in a candid and frank manner. The article can be summed up in the concluding paragraph which asserts that bad mommies, like good mommies are at heart: just a mom.
I have said this before, but it is worth saying again: moms who care enough to self-reflect on whatever good it is they are doing or whatever “not-so-good” it is they are doing are moms who are invested. Moms who care. An invested mom is a mom who is in it for the right reasons. Is it what she does that matters? Not necessarily. Doing is not generally equated with being. It’s not what she does- it’s who she is that matters most.
Moms who care are the best moms for their children- no matter how they define themselves.
As Strauss indicates in her article below, it is time we stop defining ourselves by who we think we are- divisions that serve to build up walls between mothers rather than create common ground. Whether we are stay-at-home or working; bad mommy or good mommy; breast-feeding mommy or bottle feeding mommy; mom who uses pampers or mom who uses cloth diapers; or the most deciding factor of all- mom who feeds her family organic chicken dinners or mom who relies on cardboard nuggets and Styrofoam French fries- it’s not really what matters most. What matters is that we are a mom- and we are the best mom for our particular little set of kidlets that they will ever get. We are the best- just because we are their mom. And it’s not what we do that matters- it’s who we are. Being the best mom our kids know- no matter what that standard appears to be. Because: It’s all good. We’re all good enough. And we are are all the best, ‘bad mommy’ or otherwise.
That is to say: We’re all moms. Period. End of story. Enough said.
I am not a bad mommy nor am I a good mommy every second of the day. I am more than either of those- more than either label. Because being a mom is complicated. It’s complex. We are not just moms, we are women: wives, friends, professionals, employees, friends, daughters and sisters. Each one of those positions can affect how I am at my mothering and vice versa. And sometimes I need to remind myself that labeling has never served to better a person- no matter how much that label is used to explain them.
Moms, we are more than our labels of good/bad or otherwise. More than whatever labels we might place beside our title as mom. Because at the end of the day, our kids know: we’re their mom and we are there for them.
We need to stop the self-analyzing and realize that who we are is a product of many things: our upbringing, our values and beliefs, our personality, our circumstances, our influences and our faith. Who we are in a given moment can change because of a mood. We are never entirely one persona or another: we are a blend of many, varied characteristics and many faces.
Isn’t it time we just started seeing ourselves as ‘just a mom’ and ditch the labels?