When I was pregnant with my first child I had visions of what motherhood would be. My children would never eat processed sugar, we would talk through disagreements rather than fight, they would be trained to make their beds and pick up their rooms daily without me asking, and we wouldn’t even own a TV.
Perhaps it was the hormones or lack of blood flow to my brain, but now I look back and laugh at that naive, pregnant woman. Yet even now I find it hard to admit my faults as a mother. In this post, I plan to admit a few of those faults to let other mothers know, you don’t have to be perfect to be a good mom. Just like our children, we make mistakes daily. That doesn’t mean our children will be in therapy until they’re 75 or that we need to turn ourselves in to the authorities; it means we’re human parents.
Here are a few of my confessions:
- I have a picky eater and dinner-time is the biggest fight in our house. Sure I’ve read the books and heard the advice that if I get angry with my picky eater, it will only make the situation worse. And sure I go into every meal promising myself, “I’m not going to get angry no matter what he does. We’ll talk our way through this with logic and love.” Five minutes later, one or both of us is in tears. Several times, I’ve had to say, “Okay. Let’s start over.”
- I have let my children watch movies back-to-back on more than one occasion. Some days the sibling-arguing and the mess-making become so out of control, we have a designated “movie-day.” This basically means, I sit my children in front of movies for about four hours straight so I can clean the house. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened, and probably will in the future.
- I have forgotten my children in time-out. This one always makes me feel horrible. I’ll put a child in time-out and go about my afternoon until I hear a sad voice say, “Mom? Can I come out now?” Oops.
- I have used sugary, unhealthy treats to bribe my children. Whether it’s to eat two more bites of salad, to go down a water slide (yes, this happened), to share a toy, or to stop fighting, I’ve used our trusty bin of Dum Dum suckers on more than one occasion to “pay off” my children.
- I have (and will) yelled at my children. Though I’d planned to logically solve all disagreements together, I’ve learned something valuable in my years as a mother. Until they reach a certain age children couldn’t care less about logic. They yell and cry, I yell and cry and we don’t get anywhere. After a break, I feel horrible and apologize and they… forgive me. At least I’m an example the them of how to admit faults, right?
- I’m often a hypocrite. “Don’t eat raw cookie dough. It will make you sick.,” (my favorite food). “Don’t yell at your sister!” (See above confession). “Too much sugar isn’t good for your body,” (as I hide in the corner with my cupcake). “If you took better care of your toys and put them away, they wouldn’t be lost,” (as I email my husband daily, asking him to call my phone because it’s lost somewhere in the house). The list could go on and on… Perhaps I’m just trying to make them better than I am.
- I don’t keep art projects!!! My children draw, color, paint, glue, fold, and cut on any piece of paper in sight. About once a month, I go through the art basket, save the special pictures and… THROW THE REST AWAY! Not only this, but I try to hide that fact from my kids.
- I steal Easter and Halloween candy. I admit it, those large Ziplocs of candy sit in the pantry for several weeks after the holiday and I can’t resist. And I only steal the good stuff like the mini chocolate bars.
- We’ve had cookies for lunch. I’m not proud of it, but it has happened.
- We don’t listen to educational, kids songs in the car. My children ask for Arcade Fire, and the Killers when we drive. They know that’s what they get.
- I lie to my kids. That’s right. All meat in our house is chicken. Today we bought crackers with pieces of blueberry baked inside. I told my kids they were crackers with fruit snacks. My kids now have a delicious new snack, and I got my picky son to eat blueberries. Point: me.
- And my last, most important confession; my children are healthy, happy and know they are special and loved. My children know my husband and I are proud of them and would give our lives for them if necessary. They go to bed every night (sometimes after a fight) in a warm, safe room.
I guess the point of all this is, I’ve never met a perfect mother. As moms (and dads) we all have and will make mistakes. But rather than focus on the mistakes we make, it’s better to look at the big picture. If my children can look back on their childhoods with happy memories, I consider myself a successful mother, even if I am imperfect.