People say that to me from
time to time. Family. Friends. Strangers. It's meant as a compliment,
obviously. But it always has the opposite effect on me.
My immediate response is to dismiss or downplay the
compliment. I will say something like, "Oh, not really." Or, "You should have
seen me yesterday. Not so amazing." I run through bad parenting moments I've
had recently in my head and feel the need to correct the person's perception of
The assessment of my
mothering skills that leads to kind words is based on a moment when someone "caught" me doing something right. Instead of owning that moment and
celebrating it, I think about how the person doesn't know the whole story and hasn't
seen my less than stellar moments.
Here are just a few things
she may not know about my mothering skills:
1. I yell too often
I hate this about myself. I try to hard not to do it. It makes me
feel awful every single time. I vow to change and then, in a moment of weakness, I find myself doing it again. I believe if the person complimenting my
parenting witnessed one of those moments, she would think less of me.
2. I let my kid have too much screen time
Not always. In fact, this is something my husband
and I have been very conscientious about from the beginning. But sometimes? It
is just too easy to give in. Or rely on devices to keep my child occupied. And
when that has happened, I agonize over it.
3. I don't spend enough time with my child
The No. 1 reason I left my corporate career
was to be with my child. But no matter how much time I do spend with her, it is never
enough . When I have to make excuses in order to complete an article or
respond to an email from a photography client, I feel guilty.
4. I have no idea what I'm doing
I think that is one thing about motherhood that is
so frustrating. It never allows you to get comfortable. Just when you feel you
may have a handle on one phase of childhood, a new one begins. And all the
rules change. You never feel you have mastered parenting, and you always doubt
if you are doing it right. So when someone holds you up as a standard to which
others should aspire, you feel undeserving.
Motherhood has changed me in so many ways.
One of them, apparently, is that is has caused me to feel like
some sort of con artist. I've lost my
confidence. As well as the ability to take a compliment with grace and
appreciate the spirit in which it was intended.
Why do I do this to myself? Why does motherhood make me feel
like a big, fat, liar? Can you relate?