I get a couple emails or messages every week from women and moms in particular thanking me for “keeping it real” and for making them “feel normal.”
It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. Because when I was in the thick of parenting and we had five kids under the age of eight years old, I realized how much unrealistic pressure we moms put on ourselves, how much comparing we do, and how, no matter what pictures we post on Facebook and Instagram, we are all starring in our own shit shows.
So I started sharing the good, the bad, the ugly and the funny in an effort to help moms understand that we are all doing the best we can and we are all fucking up, succeeding, and second guessing many decisions we make every day. It’s just how parenting works.
And at the risk of sounding like a jerk, I’m going to come right out and say it.
I’m a good mom.
Sometimes I’m even a great mom!
I can kick some serious ass in the mom department. I can perform near impossible logistical feats like it’s my job (it is).
I manage emotions, make things work, find all lost things, solve problems, fix boo boos, and improvise, adapt, and overcome on a daily basis.
But being a good mom is not synonymous with being a perfect mom.
There is no such thing as perfect.
And just as with our kids, all moms are different. All moms have different strengths, all moms have different weaknesses, all moms have different talents, and all moms have different interests.
Some of us have lots of patience. Some of us have lots of energy. Some of us have lots of discipline. Some of us are crafty. Some of us are outdoorsy. Some of us are spontaneous. Some of us are super organized. Some of us are good with tools. Some of us are baby whisperers. Some of us have that perfect way of relating to teenagers.
We all have some great parenting moments.
And we all have some not-so-great ones, too. They are inevitable.
If you are beating yourself up right now or if you are questioning your abilities as a parent or if you are thinking you are a bad mom, I just wanted to remind you of the following things:
Good moms let their kids eat processed food.
Good moms drop f bombs in front of their kids.
Good moms let their kids watch too much television.
Good moms go days without brushing their kids’ hair.
Good moms let their kids go to bed without brushing their teeth.
Good moms have kids who act like assholes.
Good moms have sinks full of dirty dishes.
Good moms can’t remember the last time they changed their kids’ sheets.
Good moms can’t come close to fitting into their pre-pregnancy pants.
Good moms let their kids stay up way too late.
Good moms let their kids use technology unsupervised.
Good moms lose their shit on their kids.
Good moms don’t RSVP to birthday parties.
Good moms spend too much money on Christmas and birthday presents.
Good moms give their kids empty threats.
Good moms break every single parenting vow they made before they were actually moms.
Good moms stay up too late.
Good moms overschedule their kids.
Good moms spend too much time on their phones.
And good moms say things they regret.
Do good moms do all of these things every single day?
But good moms have experienced some, most, or all of those things at least once, and more likely, multiple times.
Because good moms are also human.
Sometimes you are on it. Sometimes you are patient and organized and understanding and prepared and your kids are all behaving. Your family actually resembles the photos you post on Facebook.
And other times?
Other times your goal is simply keeping the kids alive, whether it’s by use of Goldfish for dinner, the television as the babysitter, or a psychotic meltdown as a means of discipline.
If you find yourself in one of those “other times” right now?
Go easy on yourself.
We’ve all been there. And there is definitely someone with you there at this exact moment.
So just keep the kids alive today.
Tomorrow is a blank slate.
YOU ARE A GREAT MOM.
Jodie Utter says
I’m one of the uber-appreciative moms that sends you the, “thanks for the real” comments. Because I love it, and I need it; the real. It takes a village to make a mom feel like a good one. Mom on, warrior!
Kathy J says
Kristen Swain says
Thank you so much for this. In a dark place right now and it just made my day.
The best piece of advice I got when I was pregnant with my twins was…forget all that shit you’re “supposed” to do. All you have to do is keep them alive. As in fed, clean, loved. The rest will fall into place naturally. And I am FAR from perfect but I feel like a pretty kick ass Mom. A kick ass Mom who often lets her kids eat Goldfish for dinner.
I love your perspective.