I AM: A Good Mom
September 11, 2017
“Mother’s a good-tempered woman,
but she gets fair MOITHERED.”
Martha Sowerby, The Secret Garden
I immediately felt better after reading that the “best mother ever”, Susan Sowerby from The Secret Garden, got moithered (synonyms: bothered, fed up, bewildered) when the kids became wild after being stuck inside due to rain.
“Yes!” my inner mom shouted.
This one simple sentence about a fictional super-mom was so comforting because sometimes…I wonder if it’s just me…alone, bewildered and teetering too often on the edge of implosion in my mom-ness.
Moms out there…do you feel me??
I think this is why in a world full of “Pinterest Perfect” posts on social media…showing mostly wins and grins…I tend to seek out those mom’s who are showing and sharing their battle scars too. Because ya’ll (yes I am from Texas) this mom thing is hard enough for any of us to think, even for a minute, that we are the ONLY ones falling, face-planting and stumbling through it.
CONFESSIONS of A GOOD MOM:
I have had a few pretty major parenting fails lately, both with my 11 year old daughter.
It all began with a hair cut, that didn’t turn out the way she had expected…or should I say, she didn’t look exactly like the girl in the picture that she had shown the stylist. The stylist did precisely what Rylan asked of her, and the haircut was beautiful…but Rylan DID NOT see it that way. For over an hour, there were waves of hot tears, angry words, and enough negative self talk to sink a battleship. And through it all, it seemed there wasn’t anything I could do or say that could make her believe that it was NOT as bad as she was making it out to be. I tried, trust me.
If I said she was beautiful, she would scream that she was not. If I mentioned it would grow back, she would say that it wouldn’t. The ‘one upping’ came to a head when she decided that she didn’t want anyone to look at her anymore because her hair was so terrible and ugly.
In a sad attempt to get her to see how crazy she was acting…I finally threatened, sarcastically of course, that “perhaps I should just turn the car around and head home so we can lock you in you room until you feel your are beautiful enough to be seen again in public.”
Yep, I said it…this girl…right here…Me. Ugh. While these words were still echoing in my ears…my heart sank in defeat as I whispered,
“I think it’s best that I don’t speak for a while, because clearly…I am not helping AT ALL.”
I was so caught up in her emotional escalation that I had forgotten to jump off her crazy train and instead became the worlds worst caboose!
Then right on the heals of this epic fail, I again overreacted in frustration, when her teenager-ness took her huffing and puffing around my “happy place” while on vacation. It was the one place that I was looking forward to being, the Ferry Building Farmers Market, with it’s halls and stalls full of food, flowers, and my favorite people: farmers. The whole time we were there, my daughter acted as if, with every step…she very well might actually die of thirst, boredom, heat and at some low point…of too much ice cream. What???
“She is 11…she ONLY 11”, I kept mumbling to myself as we wandered from booth to booth. “Don’t get frustrated Keri, just find a happy place, find a happy place, find a happy place. “
But the eye rolls, the whining, the feet dragging, and the complaining all came to a head…and in a knee jerk moment I pulled her aside quietly to tell her, in essence, that “She alone had ruined my day.” and that I was “done”!
I was actually proud of my calm delivery, but I quickly realized that just like her haircut, this day for me did not turn out how I EXPECTED either.
I was so looking forward to sharing this special place with her…the sights, the sounds, and especially the tastes…and now all I wanted to do was crawl under a rock and cry. And the truth was, she didn’t ruin anything…I did…or more appropriately…my words did. *sigh
That day, my mothering skills felt like they had hit an all time low. “You are a terrible mother Keri,” I whispered to my heart. Unfortunately, this was not the first time I had spoken to my heart in this way. The truth is, I have often quietly counted myself as a second tier mother, especially when comparing myself to the super-mom’s around me.
Arriving back at our flat from the market that afternoon, I threw myself on the bed to try and regroup…but instead made a fatal mom mistake: I opened Facebook. And with just one quick scroll around the social media block, my suspicions seemed to be validated, I was a terrible mom. All mother’s that day seemed to be winning at motherhood, while I was struggling to not come in dead last.
Then I stumbled on a post from a local friend about her latest blog. She IS sunshine, so I clicked on it with giddy anticipation, eager to read more about her new adventures in life and writing. But my hope of light turned to heartbreak when her blog began as my worst nightmare…a proclamation about the bliss of motherhood.
I rolled my eyes…a skill I had learned earlier in the day while watching my daughter do it a million times in the market...as these were not the words that this failing mother wanted to read. I was honestly flush with jealousy and about to stop reading when something deep inside urged me to keep reading…despite the aching in my heart and tears of shame falling down my face.
Her blog went on to tell the story about her young daughter, who had recently become frustrated while painting at family camp. After erupting into uncontrollable tears, she confessed to her mother that she “wasn’t good at anything” and that “everyone was doing things better than her.”
Anyone hear ME in those very words…or perhaps themselves?
My friend then lovingly took her daughter outside, and with tears streaming down her own face began to list all of the things that her sweet angel WAS good at.
I AM: A GOOD MOM
Just hours after my market meltdown, I sat on the patio with my husband with silent tears streaming down my face, and filled him in on my most recent parenting fails and frustrations.
With my head hung low I said, “I want to be a good mom babe. I need to be a better mom.”
He said, “You ARE a good mom Keri.”
My heart jumped back a bit, as my brain was honestly having a hard time with his words. “Could they be true?” I wondered quietly to myself.
But before I could answer, just like my daughter had done before, I began listing off in my head all of the ways that it couldn’t possibly be true.
I can’t be a GOOD MOM because…
- I have friends who cry when their kids are away at camp or gone to grandma’s house over night…I AM NOT THAT MOM.
- I have friends who home school or are the homeroom parent…I AM NOT THAT MOM.
- I have friends who can tell you the exact time, weight, length, and blood type of each of their babies: I AM NOT THAT MOM.
Then my mind flashed back to my friend Katie and her daughter, and then to my own daughter Rylan, and then back to me. And all at once I realized that I have been so busy keeping a record of all the ways that I am not like” those moms” and listing my mistakes, that I could’t see the truth: that I AM a GOOD MOM.
(Hmmm…I’m starting to see a pattern here in my life. Anyone read about My Garden Meltdown?)
So to prove to myself that I was indeed worthy of the “GOOD MOM” title, I quickly grabbed my journal, channeled my inner blogger friend Katie, and began listing all of the ways that I WAS a good mom.
And I am proud to report that the list of good far outweighed the bad. Seeing the good on paper filled my heart with content and joy, and in an instant…”those moms” didn’t seem so far away. Because it was finally crystal clear…that I was one of them and they were me…each of us are “Good Moms”, just in our own unique ways.
I AM: NOT ALONE
Not long after this revelation, I sat next to a friend at a wedding shower. As we chatted about mom-life and the impeding back to school season, she proudly proclaimed and rightfully so…“I’ll admit it…I am a GREAT mom.”
It’s true. Being a mom is her gifting, her jam. But in her next breath, before I even had a chance to be jealous, she admitted, “But I truly struggle with being anything other than a mom.”
When I asked what else she wanted to do, she mentioned her love of writing, but stopped short…moving her gaze down to the floor before stating, “but I’m not a legitimate writer like you.”
I almost spit water out of my nose at her comment, in utter disbelief of my own legitimacy, but in that instant my heart knew this truth: I AM: Not Alone.
I am NOT alone in my “wanting to better than I am” heart.
I am NOT alone in feeling “less than” sometimes.
I am NOT alone when I get moithered by my kids like Susan Sowerby.
Have you been feeling like you aren’t “good at anything” or that “everyone is doing things better than” you? Take time this week to flip this thinking on it’s head and list out all of the things you ARE good at, and just watch how it suddenly change your view of not only them…but of you.
From Two Good Moms,
FHB and Especially Me
P.S. Read my friend Katie’s full blog by CLICKING HERE.
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