Today, being a mother is perhaps emotionally – harder than ever. Generations ago, parents could raise and train up their children in ways that made right and wrong clear. After a spanking or some chores picking cotton as punishment – mom was able to ignore the bleeding fingertips from touching the briars because she knew deep down she was doing the right thing. Children were different too. Sure, they were seen and not heard and would never have the audacity or bravado to interrupt adults or make demands on their parents. And yet they all grew up okay. Suddenly, Ferber and a bunch of other child development experts are trying to tell mom to be both a detached parent, a helicopter parent and to stay on top of and in tune with our children’s deepest psychological needs. Not only is mom the number one caregiver – she is also responsible for knowing a thing or two about psychology. And if she doesn’t, some counselor, some books, some teacher, or some person will blame it al on mom! Mom will be the reason behind the madness, the depression and the reason that her adult child when postal at work.
Today’s mom makes a decision and follows it up with feelings of “Oh my gosh, am I a bad mother?” Guilt, remorse and regret for disciplining as well as the fear that her children were hate her strip away her instinctive way of mothering and her realization that kids need actual life skills in life to survive. Other wise they have to live with and rely upon mommy forever. And while that may avoid empty nest syndrome it also leaves an empty heart syndrome on children. No one else in the entire world is going to treat your children, excuse your children, and forgive your children the way that you do. Teaching them how to be responsible people, compassionate and respectful is not something that should be done in your spare time. It is something you should do all the time. Otherwise, you are setting your kids up for a life filled with unhappiness.
Are you a bad mother for losing your patience? Are you a bad mom because you don’t want to drive your kids to basketball practice eight times a week? Are you a bad mom because you want a career AND want to be a parent? Should you feel guilty for taking care of yourself? Is it really inexcusable to have some passions of your own? Who needs the pair of shoes more – your children who are wearing name brand sneakers or you who owns one pair of black boots that are extremely dated? Do you really think that not having sex with your partner because you put all of your energy into your children is going to bring you some kind of payoff? Before you were a mom, whether good or bad – you were also a person! And you still are. The best moms balance taking care of themselves, with taking care of their children and definitely don’t put the kiddo’s ten totems higher on the pole of life.
Sure, your kids act like crazies sometimes. They don’t listen like they should. They have good days and bad days, and YOU have days when you wonder what in the world you did wrong? For years, you have toiled and struggled making innumerous attempts to provide your children with everything they needed – and they repay you with selfishness or worse…they tell you that they hate you! Then you wonder, Am I a bad mom? Certainly, this sort of stuff doesn’t happen to good moms…or does it?
It boils down to the fact that in today’s world, children are treated as if they are entitled to everything. Society makes mothers feel like they have to be June Cleaver by day for the sake of raising healthy kids and then instantly turn into Sharon Stone by night in order to be a good wife. It is impossible.
Mothering is about following your instinct. The day you became a mother, you didn’t cease existing and you certainly didn’t stop growing. You are going to make a ton of mistakes in the course of raising your children. Your kids, have fifty times MORE than they really need or want right now, exactly as it is. You don’t have to buy them, persuade them or even barter with them so that you can feel like a good mother. And when you do make a mistake, so be it! The kids are too young to realize really, and you can make sure that it doesn’t happen again. There is no reason to feel so overwhelmed by thoughts that you are a bad mom, that you lose your ability to mother.
Am I a bad mother? When the thoughts creep up, do your best to push them away. No, you aren’t perfect – but then again nobody is. When your children make bad decisions, or do bad things – it isn’t because you are a bad mother, it is because they are children. Just like you, they too are learning as they go.
There will come a day when you look back at all the things you have accomplished in life, motherhood included and you will have regrets. You will wish you had done some things differently. Your kids may even disappoint you as adults. However, remember that at some point their lives need to belong to them…not you! You cannot steal their accomplishments no more than you accept blame for their wrongs. You also cannot accept the good days of being a parent and refute the ones that leave you exhausted and confused. There isn’t a mom alive who at some point or another doesn’t question what kind of mom they are. What you can do is always know that you did the very best you could, and that most importantly, you mothered with the kind of love that only mom can.