I was trying to recall a day when I was a fantastic mom all day, where I managed to stay patient, positive and in the zone. More often than not, I flop back and forth between extremes like a fish out of water, I'm a fantastic mom, wait, nope I'm a shitty mom. It's incredible how quickly I can go from nailing it to absolutely shitting the bed.
Keep in mind, my kids are all in school full-time -- I am not in the toddler zone, I'm in the school-aged-get a 6 hour reprieve-zone. How hard can it be? It's really hard.
Kids can very easily disarm your best intentions. Mostly though, it's me who judges my parenting mishaps, who scrutinizes my reactions and moves as a parent. I imagine the inner dialogue I have regarding my choices as a mother is akin to a defense coach breaking down a play. I can really analyze the shit out of something and come up with four other "plays" that would have been more successful than the one I went with.
There is a pattern to it. I have come to recognize the times when I think I am being a fantastic mom or a shitty mom. The list, not exhaustive, includes:
1. I do something new and fun with them -- doesn't have to be super jazzy, even baking will do.
2. We have a lovely family dinner.
3. I am patient and do not rush them through tasks.
4. I listen to them - like eye-contact, paying attention listening.
5. When they volunteer the hugs and kisses - or even better when they tell me they love me before I tell them.
I feel like a shitty mother when:
1. I tell them to stop crying -- perhaps it is reasonable for them to be crying. I recently had a discussion about validating emotions which is totally messing with me.
2. We have a family dinner where they act like assholes which inevitably means I act like an asshole back.
3. I do not read to them before bed - this causes me more guilt than anything. I can't take 20 minutes to read to them! I'm a shitty mom.
4. When they go to bed late. Well rested kids are better than cranky, emotional kids; which increases my chances of being a fantastic mom.
5. When I yell. Yelling is shitty.
I am starting to come to terms with the fact that this will never end. I will forever be presented with opportunities to shine as a mother and to fail. What I am working on is the guilt that accompanies being a shitty mom. Guilt-free shitty parenting is what I am after. If I can do that, anything is possible.
On a positive note, when I discuss being a shitty mom with Wizz, he is quick to point out, I am showing my kids how not to parent when they get the chance. Perfect.