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As much as I love Pinterest, I also sometimes hate it.
On one hand, it’s this place you can go to find great ideas – from creative party ideas, to dinner recipes, to ridiculously delicious and calorie filled dessert recipes. It’s awesome.
But on the other hand? It’s also full of so much information it’s easy to get lost. Especially when it comes to information about parenting.
There are countless articles about how you should parent, how you shouldn’t parent, what phrases to say to your kids, what phrases will ruin them for life, how to avoid raising ungrateful children, why you should be a minimalist when it comes to their toys, and about 50 ways you’re probably screwing up your kids.
Because I’m so ridiculously well-informed on the impact every single decision could have on my kids, I feel like the worst mom in the world.
Every single day. Without exception.
The reasons are all different:
- I yelled at him for touching me too much.
- I bought him a donut because he was upset after daycare.
- He snacked too much and didn’t eat a good dinner.
- I’m worried he doesn’t get enough interaction with other kids.
- I let him watch TV all day.
- I’m worried he’s too clingy.
- I took away his toy train because he was being a butthead.
- I smacked his hand away after telling him not to touch something for the billionth time – was I too harsh?
- I forgot to brush his teeth at bedtime.
- Did I put him in time out too much?
- I used the phrase “good job”, am I setting him up to be a failure?
- I got mad when he laughed about being in time out.
- I failed to embrace every moment, and what if I regret it when he’s too old to need me anymore?
There’s about a million reasons each day why I think I’m just blowing it.
But then, I always get a friendly reminder that I’m totally not the worst mom in the world – not even close.
There’s the time I was watching Forensic Files and there was a story of a woman who, when she was a little girl, her father would try to get her and her brother to behave by threatening to kill their sibling if they didn’t.
So my son’s screaming and tears because he didn’t get chocolate after refusing to eat dinner? Big whoop. That’s far from scarring him for life.
There are stories of heartbreaking neglect, where kids are kept in closets for extended periods of time. Where they don’t even have basic language skills because nobody has talked to or looked at them.
There are kids who are humiliated and exploited every single day, who don’t know what it’s like to actually be loved. It’s awful.
Just because my son doesn’t get every toy he wants is not the end of the world. Or the possibility he has too many toys and sensory overload and a sense of entitlement (because he’s 2 – of course he feels entitled.)
It’s ridiculous to think that the little quirks in my parenting make me the worst mom in the world, that I’m somehow preparing him for doom and gloom as an adult. And honestly? It’s a little insulting to those who don’t have it so good.
I mean, we’re ridiculously blessed. We have a clean, safe home to live in. We have enough food to eat. We even buy lots of fruits and vegetables (even if he fights me on eating them.) He gets to buy new toys now and then.
He is loved, more than he knows, by people who will always put him first and work hard to keep him safe. A mother and father who want the best for him. He is impossibly lucky compared to some.
The faults and imperfections I have as a mom are normal. I’m far from the worst mom in the world, and that’s important for me to remember.
It all comes down to gratitude.
If I can stop and be grateful for what’s around me, it goes a long way. If I can pause when I’m freaking out about whether he eats a good enough diet and realize what a privilege it is to worry about “What’s the best thing to eat?”, as opposed to “When will we get to eat next?”
Does that mean I’m going to stop trying to be better? No, absolutely not. There are always going to be areas I need to improve in, and I never want to stop trying to be a better mom.
However – I don’t want to let the good times pass me by because I’m so worried they’re not good enough. I want to take a deep breath, show myself grace, and remember that I don’t have to be perfect to be exactly the mom he needs.