I haven't had a winning day as a mom in a week and a half. I know because I keep track. I don’t exactly have set criteria that defined a winning day apart from a losing day, but I know when I am having one and I know it’s been awhile.
The truth is, motherhood is so dang up and down. One moment I might be breaking up a fight for the fifteenth time that day and the next I am straight up weeping over how wonderfully amazing my children are.
On particularly difficult days, motherhood brings out the worst in me. I raise my voice. I slam doors. I go to bed angry. Behaviors I swore would never be a part of my life are now, quite honestly, a part of my everyday. I've made a habit of focusing on this idea that my failings far outweigh my successes. I let it pull me down and ruin my day. Seriously, one tantrum on my part is enough for me to find myself sinking into the belief that I am the world’s worst mother, even though I know that is not remotely true. And then, that day gets labeled a losing day and I swear to do better tomorrow.
We are so busy nitpicking our last mistake we forget to stop, take a breath and realize we are doing OK.
It is a silly habit, and I am trying my hardest to quit being so hard on myself. Because when I focus on this idea that motherhood brings out the worst in me, I stop noticing how often motherhood brings out the best in me.
And it totally does. This is not me tooting my own horn or bragging about how freaking amazing I am, but do you realize what we do every day? We forgive tiny transgressions over and over and over again. We spends hours and days of our lives patiently waking with hungry babes or feverish toddlers. Sometimes we yell, but more often we speak softly when we would rather not. We dress wild, wriggling bodies daily and then brush it off when they spill breakfast down their front. We negotiated clenched teeth open every single night for brushing, and then do it all over again first thing in the morning.
We do all of these things, and more often than not, we don’t notice. We are so busy nitpicking our last mistake we forget to stop, take a breath and realize we are doing OK, our kids are doing OK and we are keeping little tiny people alive for goodness’ sake.
The internet doesn’t really help, either. Click over to any of the more popular mommy blogs and you will find that more articles are focused on what moms these days are doing wrong instead of how they could at least be doing better.
It is no wonder that most of us are caught in this endless cycle of setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves, instead of recognizing that we have come a long way since we first became parents. It totally makes sense when I hear a fellow mom admit she is drowning, overwhelmed by a lack of confidence, even though she has clearly been knocking it out of the park in most parts of her life.
In a world that seems dead set on telling us millennial moms that we should be doing better—one that points out when we should be harder on our kids, have spent too much time on our phones or aren’ t keeping our homes clean enough—I want to learn to quit being so hard on myself. Because the truth is, I am a pretty good mom and I think the chances are high you are, too. Can we all agree to stop allowing one mistake on our part ruin an entire day or our whole viewpoint of who we are as women and moms? Let's allow motherhood to bring out the best in us.