I keep hearing people talk about “good moms,” and I believe it is time to stop that. Here in my house, there is just a mom. That mom is me, and when I acknowledge publicly that I’m actually an awful mother on any given day, all who know and love me are quick to reassure me that I am an excellent mother.
But I contest; I am a mom, and there is no need to qualify me, or any mom, as a “good” one.
I am a mom who is often weary and sometimes puts her underwear on inside out, though doesn’t notice until around two PM. This weariness comes from the very act of caring for humans other than myself. It’s a circular conundrum. Weary brains are harder to wear well.
I am a mom who trips and falls into the tantrums with my children once in a while. On those grave days, from outside of the windows and open doors of my home, I sound like a larger, louder, more insolent child.
I am a mom who has sat on the floor, or if I’m lucky, the bench in the grocery, quietly waiting out long and unexpected bursts of emotions (mine or those of my children).
I make too many potty jokes; then a day later, I am completely intolerant of any potty jokes.
I have been threatened by a DHS employee, for leaving my four-year-old son diligently reading his book in the car, to go buy him xylitol gum because all we had left was cinnamon. Cinnamon helps me be less irritable, but he doesn’t like cinnamon. He likes fruit. I could see him through the glass store front windows the entire time. He was less than ten feet away from me.
And I could now counterbalance this exposé with any number of wisdom-laden moments, late night comforts, and maternal heroics, but those are the norm in most of our homes, you see.
If we can stop eagerly tap dancing over the truth and trampling it to bits, there is a path through that unnecessary judgment, to a place where we don’t have to explain ourselves. I’d like to start hanging out over there, where honesty and clarity bloom more readily. I find it’s easier to talk about the everyday struggles, and laugh, cry, or both when the false stories are set aside.
We are all parenting with flaws. Our children know us.