Lots of us moms joke about being the “worst Mommy in the world” from time to time. Generally, it’s one of the teen or pre-teen daughters telling us such a thing or rolling her eyes at one of us in such a way to indicate she feels this way.
Many of us subscribe to the theory that, if we aren’t told this at least once a week, we aren’t doing our jobs. After all, we are parents to our children, not friends (though it’s nice when we can be both). Of course, during these times it’s always because we won’t let our girls stay out super late, watch a particular movie or wear something inappropriate … something along those lines. You know, being horribly unreasonable.
Sometimes, we even compete to see who’s the worst. I wouldn’t let my then seven-year-old read “The Hunger Games,” while a friend of mine wouldn’t let her daughter of the same age wear a shirt that showed her belly (for the record, I wouldn’t have done that either). Sometimes I’m the most evil for making my kids empty the dishwasher and put away their own laundry. Sometimes friends win when their kids have seemingly worse chores.
We laugh about these things. Like I said, we understand we are parents first, and then, if we are lucky, friends to our kids as well. But we are also human, and humans make mistakes. There have been times I really do feel like the worst mom in the world.
Just recently, I had one of those weeks where it seemed like nothing could go right – and none of it had anything to do with my kids. But one particularly bad night, I was trying to get something out of my son’s drawer and the drawer fell off the track for the umpteenth time (I really need to fix that – any volunteers?), and I lost my cool. I yelled at him for no reason. And I almost never raise my voice to my children – they are good kids and I’m pretty even keeled for the most part.
It was time for bed and he climbed in. I went to tuck him in and I immediately apologized for my outburst. He hugged me anyway and said “That’s OK, Mommy, everybody has bad days. I still love you, just like you still love me even when I do bad things.”
I still felt pretty awful for losing my cool, but maybe not so bad of a mother if my son understands that everyone makes mistakes – even mom. And he knows that when he screws up, he is still loved.
Ashamed, I told my story to some other moms at the soccer field one night, and they laughed at me. Every one of them had the same story – every one of them had done the same thing. Yep, we are all human, and we all make mistakes, and we can’t all be the worst mom in the world. So, perhaps, we are all doing just fine.
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly.