I don’t know about any of the other moms out there, but there’s something about Mother’s Day that always seems to shine a light on what I see as my motherhood failings. Let’s face it; it’s impossible to be a perfect mom, no matter how hard you try. We all make mistakes, we all have regrets, we all wish we’d kept our cool a bit better when our kids were driving us nuts. Motherhood is the biggest, most important job I’ve ever had – and like any job, it’s probably normal to sometimes have those moments when we feel we aren’t good enough. I always seem to think of it even more as we approach the day that actually celebrates us.
The worries are constant. Seriously, I have anxiety as it is, but when you’re responsible for a little PERSON, that anxiety is doubled in ways that seems crazy. I obsessively check on my son before bed to make sure he’s breathing, that the covers aren’t too tight, that there’s nothing that could suffocate him, totally normal when you have a little one, but my baby is nearly seven and I still do it. I worry about him all day at school, despite knowing he is in very capable hands. I worry about him with his friends, how they treat him, how her treats them, what kind of person he is becoming – raising a child who is both compassionate and strong is no easy feat. I worry about him falling, getting hurt, about him being so distracted he’ll walk into traffic when he’s not with me. You name it, I’ve worried about it at least once, but probably more than a dozen times in a given day. It’s exhausting.
I worry about all those things, about the little person he’s becoming, but in this day and age, it’s becoming harder and harder to have the time, the energy, and the resources to be able to constantly ensure that everything turns out alright. I work full time, maintain a household, try to blog when I can, and spend quality time with my baby boy, in a limited amount of hours each day. We’re all stretched so thin and nearly every night when he’s gone to bed, I find myself thinking that I haven’t done enough, even if I know I did everything I could that day.
I’m not a “fun” mom. I don’t like playing, I don’t have the same level of imagination he does, and I hate the park. To be fair, I was like this as a kid, so it’s not like I suddenly stopped liking all those things. I sound like a really boring and un-fun mom, and that’s exactly what I think I am most of the time. He doesn’t seem to think so, but I do and it’s my greatest shortcoming as a mom, at least I think. I am very nurturing, which I feel is my strength – maybe my only strength as a mom; when he is sick, I am the comforter, the soother. When he’s sad, I’m amazing with cuddles and tickles that perk him up. But other than that, I see far more shortcomings than anything else.
Why is that? Why are we so hard on ourselves? People often comment on how sweet and kind my son is, so obviously I (and of course, his dad – actually, probably more him than me) are doing something right, but I still feel like I’m not the best mom. And we all want to be the best mom ever – of course this era of blogs and social media and everyone being all up in one another’s business means that comparisons to other mothers are even more widespread than the generations before us, when you were limited to comparing yourself to the other moms in the neighbourhood, or maybe Carol Brady. It’s tough and so is the job, so it’s probably natural that many of us are even harder on ourselves than we have to be.
So this Mother’s Day, to all the moms out there, whether you have young babies or your children are grown, remember that we’re all just trying to do the best we can. We will fail, we will triumph, we will lose our shit, probably more than once a day! But we will try. And we will LOVE. And both of those actions together will help provide for our children and will help them feel secure, no matter what this big scary world throws at them.
Enjoy the pretty things in life,