Updated: Feb 22
I’m not a good mom and I don’t try to be. It’s such a tight, ever changing box that I want no parts of. It’s so subjective; changing at any given moment, day, Facebook comment to Instagram post. Am I a bad mom if I lived in subsidized housing, struggling to pay bills, and all I could do for my kids that day is make sure they ate? Am I a good mom if I live in the suburbs, work as an executive, and have a live in nanny? There are way too many nuances for society to try to define us as good or bad mothers. I find the phrase ‘bad mother’ is just used to ostracize and ‘other’ moms. Should a mother who hit her child be held accountable, yes. Is she a bad mother? Is she a bad mother if she heard a voice that told her to hit her child? Is she a bad mother if she was hit as a child and only had 2 hours of sleep over the past several days? Accountability and empathy can co-exist. I find most mothers are not offered the grace of empathy.
When people throw around ‘good mom, bad mom’ labels as ways to judge, they don’t know the whole story. So why can’t we just remove these from our language? Why must we live in such dichotomy? Good person, bad person, good friend, or bad friend. When any of my mom clients use the phrase, ‘good mom’, it tends to have some shame associated with it. Outside judgments that become our own thoughts, societies unrealistic expectations that seem to become our own. Good moms never yell at their children. Good moms must be with their children all the time. 'I’m regretting this pregnancy that means I’m not going to be a good mom.' Good moms must be martyrs and sacrifice all their dreams and aspirations. As if being a good mom can’t be letting your kids see your greatness, seeing you truly happy. Why can’t our children be part of our happiness. Part of the happiness that I’m sure their fathers expect.
Good moms can’t have bad days, can’t get depressed, and must be ready at all times for the perfect IG post frolicking in the park grass with their kids. Moms can’t have a night of lying on the couch, ordering pizza, and brushing their kids teeth tomorrow. Moms can’t just want to sit in the car, laugh with their friend on the phone before stepping into the house of mom duties. If moms have days like the ones above must they must be ‘bad moms?’ Why can’t we just be mothers needing a break, why can’t we prioritize a friend in this moment, why can’t we just want to lie down and let daddy be there? I decided to be the best mom I can at any given moment. If my best is a beautifully structured home school day, great. If my best is giving my child a hug after her upset about missing her dentist appointment, because mommy was 4 minutes late, great (yes, this happened, still fresh in my spirit). I offer you, mom, the same grace. I know you love and care for your child and you do the best you can every day.