This is the inner voice we all hear some days. Sometimes it goes silent for a week and then shows up for a number of days in a row. It can eat us alive.
This inner voice can make us yell. It can make us cry. It can make us silent when we should speak out.
Today we welcome Katina from Not Just a Boy, who shares about her own inner voice.
Confessions of a Bad Mom
I’m a bad mom. I think that about a million times a day. I think it because I swear at my children under my breath. A lot. All with a fake smile plastered on my face. I think it because I get frustrated. A lot.
My son has Sensory Processing Disorder, which has riddled his life- and mine- with friend issues, and self-control issues, and weird noises, and I get so frustrated I want to scream. And sometimes I do scream. I scream into pillows, into my hands, in my car, in my bedroom, and sadly, I sometimes scream at my kids. I hate that I do that. That makes me a bad mom. Yes, my screams are often followed by apologies, but the apologizes shouldn’t have to happen because I shouldn’t yell.
But I yell because I’m frustrated and I’m a bad mom.
I think about the parents who have children with special needs much more significant than my son’s and I think that I need to keep it together, because I have it so good compared to those other moms. I’m a bad mom because I told my kids that wine is “Mommy’s Medicine,” and I’ve been known to say I’m going to go postal on them if they don’t stop doing whatever kid-like thing they’re doing. I’m also a bad mom because I don’t want to spend every moment with my children.
I love the one-on-one time I have with my husband. I mean really love it. Like I feel like I’m not a real person if I don’t get enough grown-up time. For this reason, we’ve opted out of Little League and the like because I don’t want to commit that much time to something. Because I’m selfish. Because I’m a bad mom. These are the toxic thoughts that infest my brain off and on, all day, every day.
But I guess there are some good things about me. For starters, I didn’t smoke or do drugs while I was pregnant, so that’s good. I also don’t do those things now, so chalk up another point for Team Mom. I feed my kids really healthy foods (most of the time), I teach them to care for the environment, I keep them active, I limit their TV time, I try to keep them involved with things, even if they’re not time-sucking things like Little League. Mostly, I love my kids. I love the shit out of them. I would do anything for them. I snuggle them and kiss them and squeeze them and love them, not unlike Lennie from Of Mice and Men. I’m really honest with my kids, so I feel like that’s a good thing too, although I know some may disagree. We do lots of fun things together too, like camping, biking, hiking, swimming, pom-pom animal building, what have you. But see, that’s about all I can think to write down that’s good about me.
Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I have such ridiculously high expectations of myself? Why do I feel like I need to be SuperMom?
Recently, my husband and I were watching a show about a boy who has Treacher-Collins Syndrome, a cranial-facial disorder that affects the development of the bones in face, resulting in severe facial abnormalities. The TV show focused a lot on the boy’s family and what they’ve done for him. My eyes filled with tears as I said to my husband, “That boy was born to that family for a reason. They are such great parents to him.”
“That’s what I always say about you,” he responded. “That Cameron was born to us because we can handle it.”
Because I know what a bad mom I am, I wanted to say, “Whatever, his family has it so much worse and they’re so much better than I could ever be,” but instead I swallowed my self-deprecation and said, “Yeah. I guess.” It’s the best I could do knowing what I know about my bad mom-ness.
But then, I really started thinking about it. I thought about how a lot of people would probably just think Cameron is naughty, ADHD, goofy, or “just a boy,” but I knew that wasn’t true. I knew there was something more. Then I thought about how, while it’s true that I do yell, it usually when I’ve been incredibly patient for ungodly lengths of time, and since I’m a human, I can only take so much.Yes, my screams are often followed by apologies, but the apologizes shouldn’t have to happen because I shouldn’t yell. Click To Tweet
I thought about how when I swear at my children, at least it’s under my breath, and not out loud, and they’ve never heard me. I thought about how my kids share my sense of humor so they laugh when I say wine is “Mommy’s Medicine” and that they don’t understand “going postal,” although I should probably take that one out of my repertoire of frustrated sayings. I thought about how, because I know about all the issues and I do get frustrated, I do everything I can to make it easier for him and for us. I read books about SPD, I read blogs, I write my own blog about it to release some frustrations, and I look into anything I can that will help Cameron channel his energy into positivity. He even did the IronKids triathlon this weekend, and I’ve not seen him so proud of himself, ever! And I thought about how much I love my husband, and how I should want to have alone time with him. If I’m only with my kids as a mom, I’m not a wife, and if I’m not a wife, our whole family starts falling apart.
So, maybe I’m not a bad mom. Perhaps I have bad mom moments, but I am not a wholly bad mom. However, I am a lucky mom. I’m lucky to have my son with Sensory Processing Disorder, which has filled our lives with friend issues that cause him to make better friends, and self-control issues that allow him to show his excitement to the world, and weird noises that make his sister giggle. And I may even go as far to say that he’s lucky. He would definitely tell you he’s lucky, because he loves the shit out of us, especially his dad. He’s lucky because we fought to figure him out and we continue fighting to help him be the best person he can be with all the gifts and struggles he’s been given. For that, maybe I am a good mom, but only because I have a couple of good kids and a good husband to help me fight through the bad mom moments.
This post originally appeared on Not Just A Boy. You can read more from Katina there.
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- Parenting with Purpose
- 31 Days to Better Parenting
- Parenting That Empowers: Quick Fix Manual
- Parenting That Empowers: Improved, Empowered, Impactful Parenting Strategies eBook