Friday, May 01, 2009

A Less Than Perfect Mom

Have you ever noticed that it doesn't exactly go over very well to admit in polite company that the Very Bad Days as a parent make you question not only your parenting skills, but whether you should have gone ahead with the need/desire/want/impulse to have children? You get funny looks from people if you admit that it may be a completely irrational choice, downright crazy even, to go ahead and have children? This is a topic that's going on in a community bulletin board I visit, and it's been such food for thought. I didn't realize that a lot of other mothers feel similarly.

Having children has been probably the best thing I've ever accomplished. I love my children beyond belief, but it really is hard sometimes. All the time. Good days, bad days, great days, and Very Bad Days. Sometimes it's due to the kid's behavior and sometimes it's due to my moods and my responses to the kid's behavior. Sometimes I can't tell. The thing is, I at least have an outlet to vent with my husband, my best friend, and my therapist. I can get some perspective that way, if only I can find the courage to say something out loud. I just have to be careful who I say it to.

It's not OK to say that I think that some days, my kids would have a far better mother with more patience, more parenting knowledge, more sympathy, more healthy, less critical, less moody, less controlling, more orderly, more consistent on the Very Bad Days. It's not OK to say that I would love to have more Girls Night Out with my friends, and more Mom's Weekends Away with my friends. It's not OK to say that sometimes I just want to get in the car to drive around and cool off while the kids are safely locked in the house. I never do that, of course. The furthest away I get is locking the doors and having some hot tea as I sit on the front porch or pull some weeds or clean some junk out of my car.

Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I yell a lot. Sometimes I lose my cool. Sometimes I'm at a loss for what to do when some crisis pops up.

All of these things happen to every parent. Anyone who tells you differently is selling you something, probably the Brooklyn Bridge or that big dome thing in Sydney. But I think what gets me isn't even so much how taboo it is to say these things aloud and admit that we feel this way sometimes, but that these instances are so much less frequent than the Very Good Days and Totally Awesome Days and yet they're enough to shatter our confidence as a person and as a parent. Forget the fact that most days are good. Forget the fact that most days I can totally relate to my kids and give them everything they need and want. Forget the fact that when most crises occur, I'm pretty good throughout them until everything is over and the kids are in bed. Forget the fact that most days, I don't want to run away. Forget the fact that I love my kids more than anything in the world, and never regret having them. It's those few (well, sometimes more than a few) Very Bad Days that crush us. It's those things that we didn't sign on for, that we didn't expect, that we didn't think would happen to us, that throw us for a loop.

No comments: