Or, better still, do you think you’re a good mother? That’s probably a far more appropriate question. If I ask myself this question, the answer is easy. It’s one I think about a lot.
And that is, if I’m really honest -
I don’t think so.
I don’t feel like a good mother. There, I said it. Truth be told, I worry all the time that I’m not a good mother. Every time I make a ‘mistake’, I shout or I let them have vegemite saos as I’m cooking dinner, (or that I let them eat saos at all) or I let them get into the car in the morning without having done their teeth, or I leave the TV on for another show despite vowing to turn it off, or I choose to stay on my computer when they ask me to help them build a pirate ship out of packing boxes, or I manhandle someone in order to get them in their car seat or I buy a packet of Tiny Teddies in the supermarket to keep them quiet, or I ‘forget’ to put sorbelene cream on after their bath because I’m too tired, or I pour a glass of wine before their in bed.
There are just too many times, too many regular times, to mention. Times when I cringe to myself and internally chastise myself for my lack of backbone or strength or for letting fatigue get the better of me – all of which cause me to make decisions I know I shouldn’t make.
But the worst of it, (and I have only had one, maybe two, other mothers ever admit to me how hard they find it) is that every other mother I come across does not seem to be as ‘bad’ as me. On the most part, it feels like other mothers do have the strength to make consistently good decisions for their children. They never seem to falter or get flustered or if they do, it’s momentary and it never seems to get in the way of them making good decisions. Have I said that already?
Or, the other type of mother I’ve noticed is one who makes decisions they probably know are not the best but who don’t seem to worry about it. For them, it just seems to be part of the everyday routine.
And I can’t work out which of these ‘mothers’ I more want to be? It’s a tough choice.
See, the way I’ve structured things, my hardship in this regard is twofold. On the one hand, I make decisions regarding my children that I don’t respect and on the other, I experience this constant self-flagellation. And then, these hands clasp the other.
And I feel, well, completely. EXHAUSTED.
I’m reading a great book at the moment, one I’ll speak about more at a later time but the writer’s premise in the first chapter is that we currently parent in an age where everyone seems to have a say concerning the best way to parent. And this, in turn, has created a psyche in mothers (especially) where we are constantly questioning whether we are ‘good’ mothers or ‘bad’ mothers. This is to the point that there is now a ‘bad mother’ movement (just google it, you’ll find many blogs which proudly wear this label) – women embracing their ‘bad decisions’ and arguing that in order to keep yourself together and to remain a loving, mentally healthy mother, these bad decisions are inevitable and even to be celebrated. The premise, I guess, is that these ‘bad decisions’ occasional or otherwise, deliberate or otherwise, just don’t really matter in the scheme of your children’s lives.
I wish I could join this camp too. But I can’t. I get it sure but that little voice in my head (and I guess in my heart) won’t be quiet enough for me to really embrace this.
What about you? Do you worry like me about whether you’re a bad or good mother? Do you even think about it? Are there particular things that cause you to berate yourself?