Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You're not a bad mom if...

(abbreviated list-it could go on for days) didn't have a natural, drug-free birth. didn't/don't breastfeed. have/had postpartum depression don't cook a homemade meal every night.
(Did you know spaghetti O's don't have preservatives? Pair with a salad if it makes you feel better)'re just too tired to read a book to your child tonight. (Your child might want 2 books the next night when you have the energy) can't afford a trip to DisneyWorld. raised your voice. need a break from your kid(s).
...your house isn't spotless and free of toy-debris.
...your child throws a tantrum.
(for most kids, it's the best way they know how to communicate their feelings)

Being a mom shouldn't mean living with the guilt of not living up to the title of "perfect parent."
You're not supermom. You can't always do everything you or your kids want.
You're human, you're going to make mistakes and you learn from them.

I know it's difficult not to feel guilt or inadequacy. But, remember those feelings come from judgments of how you think things should be based on the perceptions of the world. In other words, you feel that way because you think you're supposed to.

As parents, we're constantly judged by others. I have strangers walk up to me in the grocery store and tell me with an appalled tone to put socks on my son. "Aren't you worried his feet are getting cold?" I just ignore them. I know I do worry about my son, but he keeps taking off his socks and throwing them on the ground. I think he'll survive while we purchase some diapers and milk. While we were out running errands another time, strangers remarked about my daughter having a dirty face. Yes, I would prefer my daughter have a clean face too. But, I'm not going to fight or bribe her if she doesn't want to clean her face-especially since the main reason to clean her face is the thought of how others are going to perceive her and me. Since then, she's learned on her own to clean her face.
It's the same scenario as when a kid throws a tantrum in public. We're so worried about what on-lookers are thinking, we change our parenting. We should stay our parenting course. It shouldn't matter what others think.


Fightin' Mad Mary said...

Do you really have people come up to you in stores and make comments? I was such a tomboy, I could make a mean mud pie!
When I see a kid with a dirty face - that says to me, that's a kid thats allowed to have fun. Why stress over the little stuff? and yeah, I think your son will survive a trip to the store without socks.
Also, when I see a parent with a kid having a tantrum, I usually just nod and smile at the parent, my way of saying "Stay strong, do what you gotta do, you're not bothering me"

C. said...

Great post! I think I got most of my mom's neurotic the point that I think if I'm not feeling guilty over something (like no socks, not reading a book before bed, etc.), I'm doing a horrible job. I have to make a real effort (many times a day) to let it go and just relax. I have to block out my mom's voice telling me to put socks on the poor baby! ; )

Kelley said...

Yes, people come up to me at stores, etc all the time. (I only appreciate it if it's to hand me a toy or a sippy cup that has fallen out of the stroller.)

And for others like you that don't pass judging, annoyed glances during a tantrum or whatever, I truly thank you!

Kate! said...

You are a great mom!

Aurelia said...

Wonderful post and great blog. I too have had people come up to me and say things that really irk me. Like you, I ignore.