Ug. "Bad Mom Syndrome" it's a diagnosis I give myself pretty much daily. When I raise my voice, when I spend too much time cleaning, when I let my kids sass me and don't correct them b/c I'm too tired/lazy. And on and on. Fill in the blank.
I know I'm not the only one. This is a quoat from a mother of 4, her newest born only a few months ago.
"When we took my two year old in for stitches not knowing how he even cut his forehead .............I felt like a bad mom.
When I looked through my 8 year olds backpack this morning and realized she had a ton of unfinshed work..................I felt like a bad mom.
When were late to church.......................I feel like a bad mom.
When my 5 year old had 2 cavities ............................I felt like a bad mom.
When I realize I haven't changed my kids bed sheets for over a month........................I feel like a bad mom.
When I realize my kids have been playing the wii for way too long.............................I feel like a bad mom.
When I loose it and say things I shouldn't..........................I feel like a bad mom.
When the neighbor brings my 2 year old to the door because he somehow snuck out........................I feel like a bad mom.
When my baby is crying bloody murder while I'm trying to make dinner.....................I feel like a bad mom."
I can get so bogged down in "Bad Mom Syndrome" that I feel like it's impossible for me to ever truly be a good mom. And really....it just makes it harder. I am reading "The Power of a Focused Mother" for the second time and I was so encouraged by something she says in the first chapter. The premise of the book is about how easy it is to get distracted as a mom and b/f you know it your children are grown. She gives some practical advise for how to refocus on the main thing and keep focused on it. She addresses the many things that can distract a well intentioned mother...which made me feel like a bad mom b/c I know I get distracted by almost everything on her list! But then she said something that really comforted me.
"Just the fact that you EXIST is a stabilizing force in a child's developing psyche. If you want to have a profound influence on your children, you don't have to DO anything but BE THERE! So if you are having an awful day, have no energy, and find yourself on the couch, cheer up and remember that just your presence is an anchor in your child's life."
What a comfort. I'm here. I'm not perfect, but I'm here. Think back to your childhood. Was it perfect? Mine wasn't, but it was good. Not b/c my Mom and Dad spent tons of one-on-one time w/ me, but mostly b/d they were there and I knew they loved me.
"You have value to your child- every time you pass through a room, every time he hears your voice in the next room. You have value to your child, even if he travels overseas and can't speak to you for several years. Your existence somewhere on the planet makes his days go better."
Does that encourage you? Boy does it encourage me. Not b/c I feel like, "awesome, I don't have to do anything." But b/c there is such a heavy burden of "giving them the perfect childhood" that has been lifted from my shoulders. I can just enjoy them, love them, teach them and be with them. There's no pressure that I'm going to ruin them if I don't get one-on-one time w/ each of them everyday. My dad offered encouragement to me the other day when I was sharing some of my struggles w/ him and he said that the best way to ruin my kiddos lives was to give them the perfect childhood. They would grow into adults that wouldn't be able to keep a job, save their marriage, or make friends. True. "The perfect childhood" is the wrong goal. And it has been stressing me out and actually robbing my children for a long time.
Renee Ellison goes on in her book to address what to DO now that she's helped us relax and find value in simply BEING their mother.
"Now if you actually LOOK at your child, smile at him, talk w/ him, take interest in him, your influence goes though the roof. Then if you ratchet up your efforts just one last notch by PURPOSING to educate him, to train him, discipline, encourage, and refine him, your influence goes into the stratosphere."
Let's not let Satan convince us that we're "Bad Mom's" b/c we mess up. We love our children and we do our best. I know we don't feel like our best is as good as her best so it's no good. Let's quit allowing ourselves to think like that. IT'S A LIE!!!!! All of us moms feel that way!!!! We let it eat at us until a little part of us gives up....and there's just no need for it. GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, ALL KNOWING FATHER OF THE UNIVERSE GAVE US THESE CHILDREN. Not b/c initially He thought we'd be good parents, but man he's disappointed in us now and wonders why on earth he gave them to us in the first place. NO! That's what WE think. HE KNEW FROM THE BEGINNING EVERY SHORTCOMING WE WOULD HAVE AS MOTHERS and guess what....HE STILL DECIDED TO GIVE THEM TO US. It's OK. We are here. Our children are more secure and happy just because we are here. Let's take the pressure off and just love them and do our best and be OK w/ that. Let's stop comparing ourselves to the mother who's blog make our stomach turn every time we read it b/c she always seems to be going above and beyond and we're still just surviving from day to day. Let's be happy for her and for her blessed children. Let's take from her encouragement and ideas for the future, but not let ourselves get down and feel sorry for our kids. Let's remember that she isn't perfect and doesn't have it all together either. And she probably doesn't feel like a good mom either! We can strive to be better always, but let's not beat ourselves up and get discouraged when we have a bad day.
"A lanky teenage boy sauntered up to his mother one summer afternoon and said, 'Hey mom, will you come outside and play basketball with me?'
'Well son, I'd love to do that, and I'm honored that you asked me, but you know I couldn't jump if my life depended on it. How do you imagine I could play basketball with you, dear?'
'Oh come on, Mom. It'll be easy. I'll make all the baskets and you just say wonderful!'
Most of mothering is all about this sort of nurturing and affirmation."
Let's claim small victories. When we feed them, let's caress their little faces and feel good about it. When we bathe them, let's give them a big hug and feel good about it. When we put them to bed, let's kiss their sweet faces and feel good about it. And you know what, if we do anything else above and beyond that....let's allow ourselves to feel like great mothers!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
*Thanks Mom for the practically word for word wisdom in this last paragraph!!!*