Last week was a rough week. It was that type of week that leaves you feeling perilously incapable and questioning your competency as a mother. Both of my kids were unhappy, almost all of the time. I felt like I was being yelled at from the time I woke up until I went to bed. Every day I was doing my best to be a “good mom,” yet I felt like the opposite.
This week has been better, and honestly I can’t tell you what has changed. But I will tell you this: I’m a good mom even when my kids aren’t happy. I’m a good mom even when I feel like I’m not. And I bet you are too.
If you’re curious to know how I’ve become confident about being a good mom, consider this. Last week wasn’t the first week of motherhood that challenged me and left me feeling like a dirty dishrag rumpled in the corner. I’ve been a mom for a measly four years. My threenager and almost-toddler boys haven’t pushed my buttons–they’ve straight up pulled them out and lost them in the recylcing bin.
Yet…these weeks pass. And when they do, there are small moments that leave me with a sigh of relief. Like when my toddler comes home after being at church with his Nana and Papa, 100% ecstatic to see me. Running at me with arms stretched out. Giggling and telling me “I’m so happy I am home.”
When my almost-toddler very clearly understands how to be “gentle” with the cat (and everyone else) instead of incessantly clubbing them.
When my kids cuddle against me in the morning with dewey eyes and huge smiles.
When–after a mommy meltdown of my own, which was followed by an apology to my toddler for being frustrated–he looks at me and sweetly says, “It’s okay Mommy, I forgive you.”
Life, and especially motherhood, requires a constant balancing act. Walking a tightrope of awareness that, “this too, shall pass,” as well as “I’ll never get this moment back with them,” we have to let go of our need to control our kids. Maybe some weeks I’m a “bad mom.” Maybe some weeks I’m ready to curl into a ball and roll away. Maybe some weeks it feels like nothing I do is good enough.
Kids are very little people with very big feelings. You may want to scream with your children as they melt on the floor over a sandwich they asked for, but stop and look at their eyes. Stop and listen to them. They legitimately feel that upset about it. And while it is incredibly frustrating to our adult brains, which have learned to bury our emotions, it is important we recognize that these kids have a life too. Their own life. And they are also deserving of the same grace we are, at the end of a particularly bad week.
Kids are a process. So sure, bad weeks happen…bad days happen. Bad months happen. But preserve. Rub your feet at the end of the day, drink a cup of tea (whatever kind you prefer), and love yourself, Mama. Because yes–you are doing your best, even if you don’t feel like it. This process is more than a few moments in the making. Our kids are learning at speeds beyond what we can even learn at ourselves…give them some credit. Stay sweet with them. And then be amazed when you wake up in the morning and see them bloom.
So yeah, last week too many people heard my kids screeching in the store as I quickly paced down the aisles, flinging whatever I thought to grab in the cart. They probably saw the look in my eyes as I was torn between leaving my cart or being indifferent. They probably saw me try everything I could, even being incredibly patient and kind, to quell the crying. And they probably even saw me in my car, driving with a zombie-like expression on my face.
My neighbors might have noticed that I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches outside with my kids for dinner, too.
But I’m still a good mom, even when life around me feels chaotic, uncharted, and gruesome. Even when my kids aren’t “good,” even when I’m not rocking that #momlife. My kids are learning to love, listen, and learn. They smile when they see me or their dad walk through the door. Their little eyes close ever so slightly and they grin when I kiss their squishy cheeks. They feel safe with me and I know that because they have meltdowns and because they crawl to me when they are sleepy.
The bad days are just as important as the good ones. The hard moments are just as perfect as the cute ones. Enjoy it and rest easy at night, because yes–you are a good mom, too.