I’m sitting on a set of concrete stairs just outside my 3 (almost 4) year olds ballet studio while she is in class. The lobby is crammed with parents waiting. So, with nowhere to sit and two hours in front of me for her ballet and tap classes–I found a less crowded space.
After her tap class – we head to the beach … Woohoo!! A much needed family vacation.
But for now…. I wait. I wait for my little girl to come out just a little more grown up. The weeks, the days, the time, is ticking away before my eyes. Every time they step out the door of their preschool or ballet or soccer…or even their grandparents’ house – they seem just a little older. As these days keep passing, I keep waiting – trying – hoping – praying – wanting – needing – and more waiting to be a better mother. One that’s more patient, less frustrated. Yells less. Cries less – oh wait – I hardly ever cry – I’m just not a cier. But I know a lot of moms that do – a lot – over this. I’m more of a – lock myself in the bathroom and pretend I’m pooping while I’m actually drinking my Starbucks and eating a bag of skittles for 32 seconds of peace, while I regroup so I don’t blow a gasket type–which I then feel guilty about.
Basically – I feel guilty all the time. Guilty for what I do, guilty for what I don’t do. Guilty for not having time to take them to the park, guilty for taking them to the park but then abruptly ending it and yelling the whole way home because they just won’t listen. Guilty for letting them cry themselves to sleep at nap time when they protested they weren’t tired. Guilty for not making them take a nap when I knew they were tired. Guilty for making them a crap dinner so they would actually eat – guilty for getting angry because I made a decent dinner and they refuse to eat. Guilty for not making it to story time because I didn’t get up early enough to shower because I’d been up all night with them the night before. Guilty for not taking them to preschool to play with their friends because I couldn’t get them out the door in time to make the car pool line. Guilty for taking them to preschool because I need that 4 hours to clean the house, do their laundry, buy them groceries (that they aren’t going to eat and I’m just going to throw away). Guilty for fighting with them to make them get dressed for the sake of being clean (when we really have no where to go) – guilty for letting them stay in their PJ’s all day and look like little sloths (and occasionally letting them wear same said PJ’s to bed again that night). Guilty for yelling at them for having their dirty food (that they didn’t eat) covered hands all over the new curtains – guilty for not letting them play hide and seek in the curtains. Guilty for giving them have a sugar filled Icee in Target so they sat still for 10 minutes. Guilty for not letting them have the Icee they begged for in Target. Guilty for letting them watch TV so I could get a few things done in the house – guilty for not stopping what I was doing to sit and hold them while they watch TV. Like basically – I feel guilt over absolutely everything I do as a mom – all the time – as in, I lay awake in bed thinking about it, guilty.
I just can’t imagine a world where every mom (or at least most moms) out there don’t feel the same way. It’s as if in this world of Blogs, and parenting websites, and Ferberizing, and Moms on Call, and Instagram, and Facebook, and for God’s sake – Pinterest – screw Pinterest……
There is nothing you can do the right way, or good enough. You are constantly held to someone else’s standards and ideas of what a “good” mom “is” and the “right” way to raise a child – your child.
June Cleaver was June Cleaver (aside from being totally made up) because she didn’t know who in the hell June Cleaver was. She didn’t have to stare at the sheer brilliance of Handmade Charlotte or Molly Yeh. She didn’t have Pinterest to search for ideas about how make the best cake and dinner EVER all while crafting with your kid and remodeling your bathroom – and then see all of the success stories on Instagram or Facebook from her “friends” while staring at her epic fail.
Like – right now – while I am sitting here trying to finish this post (about three weeks after I started it) at 8am, I’m watching my son lie in bed (naked from the waist down because he got up and took himself to potty when he woke up and of course had to lose his underwear – because he just wants to be naked – and Batman) waiting on me to come get him (granted his sisters are still asleep), but what am I doing instead of leaping up the stairs – finishing a “Blog” post—which I’ll feel guilty for later.
So, before I run upstairs and scoop up my little guy and tell him good morning – and he looks and sounds just a little older than yesterday…. I’m thinking in my head – today you will do better, you will be better.
My questions is this… Better at what? Better at being you – the mom your kids know and love? or better at being someone else that you are seeing in magazines and social media? or reading about on someone’s blog?
At the end of the day – if your kids love you – call you – need you – want you – and my favorite – tell you you are their best friend – you’re doing something right. You may do plenty of things wrong (God knows I do), but in their eyes (which is all that matters) you are doing it right. Be the best – you – can be for your kids. Innately, you know what that is. You know if you are giving them -your- all. Live by your own standards – not some else’s pictures. Stop feeling guilty for what you have or haven’t done – and consider the good you are doing – Good Moms Feel Guilty too…but they feel guilty because they care.
Don’t wait for time to pass to be better, do better – don’t wait until they walk out the door of that ballet class and you are too old to change.