I am not a perfect mom. In fact, sometimes I worry I am not even a good mom. My kids watch too much TV and play too many video games, we do not always eat the healthiest, I spend too much time on my phone, and I get frustrated and yell too often.
What I have realized is that quite simply, I cannot do it all. Like many of us, I work remotely full time, while also watching after my 1 year old daughter. My son is back in face to face school, but for a few months I was also having to help him stay on track with virtual school. My husband and I often find ourselves too tired to cook and resort to take out or fast food. I am drained from the day and just want to zone out and browse my phone or watch TV. Even the thought of having to play Mario again with my son or look at books with my daughter seems too exhausting.
I feel guilty because I feel like I am not doing enough with my kids. I feel like I am not appreciating every moment like I am supposed to. I see activities on Pinterest or Facebook and think they would be great, but never get around to doing them. I feel like my kids are growing upd too fast and I have not spent enough time with them or done enough with them. We tried to get outside more by going on walks as a family. It was great the first few times, but then my son started to complain and it became a chore to do it. We stopped going and now I feel guilty for not getting him outside more.
“We cannot expect ourselves to do it all.”
I will say it again. We cannot expect ourselves to do it all. For me, it was too much to work full time, watch my daughter, help with school, make sure to get exercise, cook healthy meals each night, create daily special activities, and also enjoy and cherish every moment of it. We all do the best we can and if we have to let some things go, we have to give ourselves grace. The important thing to remember is that we can never be perfect and have to stop holding ourselves to that standard.
I have vented to my mom before about how I feel like I am failing and I yell too much. She asked me if I ever remember any of the times she yelled at me as a kid. And to be honest, I really do not. I find comfort knowing my kids will likely not remember. But that means I am just making myself feel bad over it and hanging on to that guilt, when I do not need to be. The best thing to do is try my best to stay calmer next time, but not beat myself up if I fail. Just keep trying. Every day is a new chance to be a little better.
Despite all of the above and all of the ways I am critical of my mom skills, there are things that let me know I am not a complete failure like I sometimes think I am.
“Most importantly, my kids know I love them.”
Most importantly, my kids know I love them. My daughter always runs over to me and gives me hugs. My son tells me I am beautiful and just beams when I tell him how proud I am of him. They are healthy and they are happy. He still loves to come home and tell me what he learned in school or show me the pictures he drew. They both fight over who gets to sit with me. They come to me for comfort when they are hurt or sick. For this, I know I am a good mom.
Sometimes, I lay awake worrying about them at night. Things I worry about include whether they are making friends, doing well in school, eating healthy enough, getting outside enough, and many other things. I know I do not always succeed in these areas, but the fact that I worry about it makes me know I am a good mom.
Deep down, I know I would do anything for my kids. I would take away all the sadness and all the pain they may ever feel if I could. I want to get them the things they need and want. I want to be better for them. That is how I know I am a good mom.
We are ALL good moms doing the best we can. And we are often too hard on ourselves. The COVID situation has only made things harder. We desperately need a break, but have no idea when that break is coming. Do not let yourself get sucked into thinking you are not good enough or are not doing a good job for your kids.
“You are good enough because you are their mom.”
You are good enough because you love your kids deeply. You are good enough because you want to be better. You are good enough because you are their mom.
We have the power to change how we view ourselves, but it can be hard to break out of that mindset. It is a constant battle for me. I want to take steps to improve, but have to stop beating myself up if I fail the first few times. Take things one step at a time. For me, the first thing I want to break myself of is being on my phone too much. I have started by giving my son 15-20 min before bed of focused attention and do not let myself touch my phone. It is a small step, but it can lead to bigger changes.
To all the moms out there, you are doing a good job and you are good enough. Do not let anyone else, especially yourself, tell you otherwise. You are just what your kids need and no one does a better job for them than you.