This may be a health food blog, but my new full-time Mommy life doesn’t allow for pretty pictures of colorful salads and hours of research on the benefits of turmeric or bone broth. I’ve been wracking my brain wondering what I could possibly write about right now on Healthy Stacey that’s of any help to anybody. But recently, I came to the conclusion that I’m just not in that head space right now.
Then I thought, maybe I can offer parenting advice? HAHAHAHA (that’s me laughing at myself). Because I have no idea what the heck I am doing and in no position to offer advice to others. So then I decided, instead of offering advice, why not offer the truth?
Mom life is HARD. And about 75% of the time, I don’t think I’m doing it right. In fact, on a daily basis, I think about all of the things I do that are most likely going to turn my child into a needy, selfish, messy, maladjusted human being. I've never said it out loud, but that terrible nagging voice inside is constantly calling me a bad mom. Instead of quelling the negative thoughts and reminding myself how great a mom I am (or asking my husband to remind me), I decided to embrace it. Shout it from the rooftops!
That’s why I’m giving you my list — The Ten Things That Make Me a "Bad Mom," in hopes that you share yours too so we can all remember that we’re not alone and we all have a little Bad Mom in us.
- I dread hearing her sweet cries for “Mama!” in the morning, knowing that either my sleep or my short-lived alone time is over even faster than I expected.
- My feeling of dread equally matches my feeling of excitement when I close that door to her room at 7:05 pm and head downstairs for three blissful hours of alone time.
- I’ve already been on two different elementary school tours, and she’s only 16 months…preschool doesn’t start until they’re three. Yes, I am that eager for the day she goes to school and I got (some of) my freedom back.
- As much as I tried to avoid screen time before two (per the American Academy of Pediatrics), there are days when I just can’t entertain her any longer and resort to Kid Zone On Demand (an assortment of children’s shows all in one place on Comcast). When she actually sits to pay attention (read: stare mindlessly at the screen), I get so relieved for a moment of peace — even when peace means watching Caillou whine for the 32nd time about how hard his life is (this little boy has a serious hate following, which of course means Charley LOVES him).
- I secretly hate when I meet another toddler close in age to Charley who seems totally capable of cleaning up, playing independently, and/or sharing, leading me to wonder why my child is so averse to all of these things.
- I’ve read many times about the importance of routine and not overloading your kids with activities. Something about them being overwhelmed and needing consistency while they’re trying to make sense of the world, yada, yada, yada. But every time I try to stay home to give her “safety” and “routine,” I end up wanting to climb the walls because it’s all on me to entertain her. Inevitably, I give in, and we end up at the library, or gymnastics, or dance, or music, or her other music class, or the neighbor's house, becuase I NEED CONTACT WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Oh, sorry. Was I yelling?
- I only brush her teeth once a day. And when I do brush them, the only thing she’ll give me is her tongue so who knows how much cleaning her actual teeth are getting. Incidentally, I just wrote a post for Mama Natural on bottle rot, which made me feel even worse about putting her at risk for early tooth decay.
- On long car rides, I give her bags of snacks — totally ruining her appetite for lunch or dinner — because I know it’s the only thing that will keep her from throwing a fit for at least half the ride.
- When she throws temper tantrums, she bangs her head on the floor (or the closest hard surface she can find). Though I stop her most of the time because I don’t want her to get a concussion, sometimes, when I’m really over it, I just let her go and hope she’ll learn her lesson by how much it hurts. I know. I’m terrible.
- I once gave her a huge orange slice while at the airport and didn’t pay attention at all while she was eating it, until the moment I saw her put the entire thing in her mouth — peel and all — and swallow it.
Phew. That felt good. Exhilarating even. You know why? Because once I wrote them all down, I realized they weren’t THAT bad (right?). And it reminded me of all the things I am doing right (I'll save that for another day). Or at least with good intention, because what is right really when it comes to parenting?
We're all killing ourselves every day trying to do the best we can. But then we read the parenting books and the parenting blogs and second guess our choices; we go on Pinterest and Instagram and think, I could be doing more; we see other moms at the children's museum who looked like they just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog complete well-behaved and equally well-dressed child and suddenly become convinced that you ARE doing it wrong and just aren't cut out for this kind of work.
It should go without saying that I love my daughter dearly. She is the most incredible creature I've ever laid eyes on and I'm so proud to be her mother. I often remind myself that the more spunk she has (i.e. I'll-do-what-I-want-ness), the more likely she is to turn out the confident, defiant woman I want her to be. I just didn't realize — until I was knee-deep in motherhood — how hard the job would be to get her there.
Alright, now, it’s your turn. Seriously, write ‘em down. Comment below. Or on Facebook. Or email me. Just get it out. You’ll feel better. I promise.