Sometimes I’m A Bad Mom, But I Am Always A Good Parent

Sometimes my kids eat goldfish for breakfast or sneak a cookie or two before dinner. But I’m still a good mom. Sometimes my kids sleep in my bed all night, falling asleep to a movie, but I am still a good mom. Sometimes they jump on the couch.  Sometimes I let them go outside without a coat. Or wearing an Elsa costume on a trip to target. But I am still a good mom.

I don’t make fancy cupcakes or snacks for school. I use boxed cake and that’s okay because I am still a good mom. I have planned elaborate Pinterest worthy parties for my children’s first few birthdays but then decided it was too much work and now do parties at the local jump center. But I’m still a good mom.

My son plays with toy guns and is the sweetest boy there is, and I’m still a good mom. My son sometimes dresses his sister up as a boy because he desperately wants a boy to play with, and that’s okay. I’m a good mom.  Sometimes I just need a break to get stuff done so I will let the kids use their iPads longer than they probably should.  Sometimes I would rather do anything other than get on the floor and play with them. But I am still a good mom.

Sometimes I forget when they last bathed. And that’s okay because sometimes I forget how long it’s been for myself.  Sometimes I forget to brush their teeth before bed and knock on wood: no cavities yet. But if they did, I would still be a good mom.  Sometimes I let my daughter pick out her own clothes, complete with leggings, leg warmers and bright pink rain boots. But I’m still a good mom.

Sometimes I stay inside and get stuff done while my kids play outside. It’s okay because I live in the woods and because I’m a good mom. Sometimes I drive a little bit longer so that the kids fall asleep and go right to bed when we get home and I have a free night.  Sometimes my son screams and hits me because he’s angry for not getting his way but I am still a good mom.

Some days I can’t stand it when they crawl all over me.  Sometimes the only thing I want in the world is to be left alone. Some days I think about running away. But I am still a good mom.

There is a lot of judgment in motherhood. We judge our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our friends, complete strangers… Most moms probably judge themselves the harshest. The standards that we set for ourselves are practically impossible to meet, but we strive to meet them anyway. And we apply our own standards to those other moms we encounter in our lives.

As a mother, you have to worry about every decision you make. On top of worrying about how this could affect your child and family, you also consider what other people will think. What if they knew that the only vegetable that my kid eats is ketchup? What if they knew I forget to brush my kids' teeth every other day? Or that he takes a shower only twice a week?

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We all know that “perfect mom.” She looks like she just stepped out of a modelling shoot on a Monday morning. Her children are well behaved, his husband is perfect also and she lives in a big spotless home that she cleans herself. She makes homemade treats from scratch. She’s always smiling and she’s sweet as pie. You want to hate her, but you can’t because she makes amazing egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free cupcakes that are to die for.

Would you be surprised to know that she probably doubts every decision she makes as a mother? Would you be surprised if you know she had a closet drinking habit from having to portray the perfect life, yet she is cracking under the pressure? What about if you know she was begging her husband to stay with her even though she knows he’s cheating, because what would people think of her then? Okay, sounds super cliche, or like the beginning of any made-for-tv movie, but you get my point. No one is THAT perfect. Motherhood is hard. Keeping up the perfection is impossible. Yet we ALL strive for it nonetheless. We all want to seem like we have it all together.

For some reason, society has made motherhood all about appearances. You must be a good mother, no matter what comes up. You need to speak calmly and get down on the floor and play with your kids for several hours a day. Your kids need to be well behaved and clean and perfect themselves. They need to eat their vegetables and say please and thank you. And for heaven's sake, never have a tantrum in public. You need to post perfectly curated photos on all social media so everyone else can marvel at what a good mother you are.

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There has been this growing fascination with being a “Bad Mom,” thanks to social media and the amazingly funny movie starring Mila Kunis and Katherine Haan of the same night. Mothers are becoming fed up with the notion of being a perfect mom and owning up to their faults as parents, admitting what others may judge them for, but still proclaiming that they are actually a good mother.

What if a “bad mom” is just a normal mom, doing her best, struggling one day, killing it the next, owning up to both her parenting wins and faults? What if a “bad mom” is just the opposite of the “perfect mom” and is not actually a bad mother, just an imperfect realistic mom?

Thankfully the moms I have encountered myself in my motherhood journey have been wonderfully real and I hope in return that I am too. You have to know that the facade of a perfect mother does not actually exist and that we all struggle in some realm to keep it together. If you are worried that you yourself are a “bad mom,” maybe think of it as a “real mom” instead. And if that doesn’t help, know this, if you’re worried about being a truly bad mother, you’re not. Bad mothers don’t worry if they are doing a good job, they don’t care.

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