Passionate About the Community
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Ode to the Failing Mama

When I first began this journey of motherhood, I was pretty confident that I would be good at it. To my credit, my two year old is still alive and well and my home is mostly in tact. As for my own failure barometer, well that seems to be a little off. You see, there are days when I feel like a supermom who has it all together, and then there are days when I just feel like I stink at everything. Even on the good days, there’s always the one thing I didn’t accomplish/get finished/succeed at, and it drives me bananas. After talking to some moms, I realize my neurosis isn’t unique. Here’s a list of things that we mamas think we are failing at on any given day.

The Wife Fail: My poor husband is a saint. I run a zillion mom groups, do volunteer blogging, and typically have a full calendar both with and without my toddler. He never complains when I dash out to make an event, spend hours on the computer answering irate emails from my moms club members, or take time to schedule events on Facebook. When I am trying to empty the dishwasher, climb over a toddler and her 400 legos, I don’t often give the most pleasant of greetings when he comes in from a hard day at work. As I give him a hurried greeting, I feel like a bad wife. The poor guy just wants to know how my day was, but I’m thinking about the 26 things that need to be done in the next 45 minutes. Being pulled in all directions can make busy moms feel guilty that they aren’t spending enough quality time with their significant other. It makes us feel bad. Really, really bad.

The Housekeeping Fail: I know, I know, there are tons of articles out there that claim that it’s okay to have a messy house, messy kids, and tear open a box of Entenmann’s for breakfast, but really? Most days I am fighting the tide. I try valiantly to stay closely behind the destruction left by my toddler like a street sweeper behind a parade. Of course there’s the laundry, the dishwasher, the random clothing strewn about by the husband mentioned above (Did I say he was a saint?) I also have this obsession with making my bed each morning (thanks, mom) so I usually can’t just close the door and pretend it isn’t messy. Most days, my house looks pretty clean and I feel good about that. Other days, it looks like six toddlers live here and possibly Guns ‘N Roses. Those are the days I promise myself to set my alarm an hour earlier and scrub the tub.

The Friend Fail: Remember all those friends you used to see before you had kids?The ones you saw at least once a week? Me too. My days of spending endless hours chatting on the phone or having late-night dinners are few and far between. Ya know, because I am busy baking bread and doing laundry. Of course, there’s the guilt that wells up in me for being a bad friend. Have I seen this person enough? Do they still know I’m alive? Do they know I still care? The time I do have is so precious and if I take some and don’t give it to a friend, I feel like a jerk. Some situations require phone calls, which don’t bode well for the mom. Who can talk between one and 2 in the afternoon? Oh that’s right, other moms who are trying to catch up on laundry. They have no time for phone calls. Text? Too impersonal sometimes. Facebook? My best friend never checks it. So here I am again thinking that I’m just not doing my best. Bad friend. More guilt.

Creative Mommy Fail: Not only are there a zillion blogs out there about great activities to do with your kids, but there is also Pinterest (the devil). I spend time reading about all these cool ideas and plan to do them all. Yes, all of them. Why can’t we make our own play dough while painting sand pictures, swimming in my homemade sensory pool and nosh on 4th of July themed snacks? Umm, because it’s impossible. The time and energy expended on even one of these “easy” and “fun” activities is more than my fragile self can handle. Can’t I just use a cookie cutter and make cute sandwiches? Further proof that I’m an awful mom. If I were doing all of these fabulous activities my child would be more intelligent, well-adjusted, emotionally mature, socially capable,{ insert your own choice here}, right? Of course I am doing everything horribly wrong. Who even let me be a parent? Right…FAIL.

Free Time Guilt Monster: I admit it. I wanted some free time to go to the gym. Not a whole day, just an hour. That’s not all. I wanted some free time to go to the store by myself. And shop. For Myself. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be saying these horrible things. I mean, who am I to ask for time for myself? I have my family to take care of, the husband who needs me, the friends who are in crisis, the Pinterest projects to make, so there’s just no time. When I do, I race like my life depended on it. You’ve seen us, the women who tell their hubbies that they will be back in an hour and try to cram 45 errands into 60 minutes. You have definitely seen that mini-van peeling out of Whole Foods. In fact,  you might have been the one driving it. While we are gone, we wonder if our kid is getting the right lunch, or if our significant other remembers to give our toddler the grapes after the avocado. The 60 minutes of “me time” turns into a marathon expedition with a guilty conscience. Of course we feel bad. We aren’t at home doing EVERYTHING.

So what to do? How do we stop this endless cycle of feeling bad about something every single day? The answer is that while we may never completely get rid of these feelings of inadequacy, we don’t have to let them take over our lives. We don’t have to let them prevent us from doing the things we enjoy or force us into doing the things we don’t. Like to get a manicure? Go get one. Hate to bake? Buy the darn cupcakes at the store. There is not a doubt in my mind that each and every mom is fighting a hard battle each and every day. Let’s be kinder to the mom with the messy house or the yoga pants on every day. Let’s not judge the mom who spent a few hours at the spa or worked out while her kids were at the kids club. Let’s empower the mom who’s headed to work and puts her child in daycare. Let’s bring over a coffee to the mom who’s been home all week with a sick kid. Ladies, it’s up to us. We are all these women, and they are us! Let’s start being kinder to one another and most of all, kinder to ourselves.

Kindness is like fresh-fallen snow; it makes beautiful everything that it covers.”  — Anonymous

 

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