So you think you’ve messed up motherhood? Have a list of things that you’ve done wrong? Places you want a do-over? So did I.
This is just one of the million reasons why:
I looked at the dental x-rays and sighed.
A really really big exponential you’re such a failure as a mom sigh.
You know the kind. The ones where you sit across from someone else and your parenting is put on full display and you’re getting ready for the grade. Today it was my teeth parenting. Haha. Is that a thing? (If you’ve never been there you might as well add it to the list of potentially nerve wracking parenting moments.) As I sat there, while my boys with ultra clean and fluoride added teeth sat in the lobby, in that uncomfortable chair talking to the dentist I had every single guilt inducing thought cross my mind. And on top of that I had all of these thoughts that I just earned loser parent of the year award.
I know, it will be a super long list. I brought extra paper.
Those were the words I jokingly said to the dentist in hopes that it would alleviate some of the shame I felt in that moment. Oh I just hate hate that feeling.
You know, he said.
And I was so ready. Ready for it. Bring it on. I’ll get a frequent parking spot out front.
You know you’re a great mom for taking care of them and getting them here today.
That’s what he told me first.
The mom whose boys just earned enough dental work appointments ahead to keep me busy for months. He told me I was a great mom.
A great mom, friends.
(A great mom with kids with multiple cavities…)
And I know there are some of you sitting there right now reading these words with your own HUGE LIST of failing mom moments. Missed appointments, late homework, time where you lost your cool, times where you felt like the worst. Times where the kids told you you were the worst. Moments when friends stop over and your house looked like it could have been on Hoarders. Moments when your van could have joined that show. Moments where your kids mess up. Moments with anxiety.
We just have these failing mom LISTS.
Long long long lists of things where we think we’ve dropped the ball.
And it hurts.
It’s hard to sit across from someone else who has not so awesome news to tell you about your kids. It’s hard to stand in the bathroom and hear them scream that you’re the worst. It’s hard to give give give and still feel like you’re treading water. But friends, friends, friends…take a breath. Take a breath and let the words that my kids dentist told me sink in.
You’re a great mom…
A great mom even if your kids have cavities. A great mom even if they have late homework. A great mom if sometimes your packed lunch is Lunchables (okay, truth, sometimes they save me). A great mom when dinner is cereal. A great mom when your life is set for Bravo. A great mom when the kids are mad at you. A great mom when you’re tired.
A great mom.
Do you know why I know you need to hear that?
Because if you are even one ounce like me you judge yourself WAY TOO HARD.
You go into situations and life and the day with the list of all the places where you believe you have dropped the ball. And yet, just like me today at the dentist office, perhaps you forgot to realize that it’s not dropping the ball at all. Instead you’re involved. In the game. Parenting kids who forget to floss even though you have the cool timer. Parenting kids who don’t do every thing you wanted. And can you imagine that? Individual creatures with wills of their own bucking the rules?
You see, sweet mom, that’s what motherhood is about.
It’s about a whole lot of feeling like you’re failing moments that are really beautiful moments of winning.
We aren’t raising robots, for crying out loud, we’re raising kids. Cool feisty crazy get under your skin love them and their tenacity forever kids.
And sometimes it means that it seems like we’ve failed.
But we didn’t.
We’re mothering. Winning.
With every dentist visit, teacher’s conference, take away electronics, tears shed behind the bathroom door, coats buttoned, doors slammed, car seats latched, dishes wiped, floors swept, Hulu watched moment of motherhood.
So now, now pull up your bootstraps. I know you’re tired. I know you’ve got your list. But take that list, that list of failing moments and rewrite it. Take every single thing and realize how you fought. How you loved. How you gave. How you tried.
How you won.
Because that’s what you are doing.
End of the story.