Monday, June 2, 2014

The Bad Day Mom

"C'mon!" I yelled backwards. Here we were outside of the store, already in the crosswalk and I had one child lagging behind, still in the store, walking at the pace of a tortoise. "Let's go! Move your legs!" At this point I wasn't feeling patient anymore. Let's just be honest, at the end of a shopping trip my patience bank is often running low on funds. At this point my other three kids and I were standing in the middle of the crosswalk waiting on the laggard of our group, while several cars were being held at bay. Finally our slowest unit made their way into the sun and we wound our way to the car.

After I'd gotten the kids in the car and as I was starting to load the groceries an older man (one who'd been waiting while I herded my kids across the parking lot) drove up, leaned out his window and said, "Keep up the good work there! You're doing a great job, mom!" All I could do was look at him in a stunned manner and stammer, "Thank you..."

What!? I was shocked. I'd just stood in the middle of the road shouting at my kid to hurry. Yet, the man's words spoken so genuinely warmed me. He knew. In that moment I needed to hear that I was doing a good job. I didn't need a dirty look. I didn't need someone telling me to be more patient. I didn't need someone to make a snide remark about how many kids I have. I needed encouragement. 

This role of mom is so full. It's not just cooking, it is navigating picky eaters. It's not just cleaning, it's shoveling through piles of clothes, cleaning up various caked on substances, and sifting through  mountains of drawings and crafts. It isn't watching children, it is shepherding them. It isn't only dressing your kids in clothing, but dressing them with dignity, confidence, and honesty. It's not just washing their faces, but kissing their little faces, looking them in the face... making their face light up with the knowledge that you see them.

It is loving. 

It is cherishing. 

I remember mentioning to a mom of teenagers one day that I'd heard someone once say that when you have several kids it is your job to make sure that you always depict it in a positive way. Without skipping a beat she said, "Wow. That's a lot of pressure."


Pressure not only to be a good mom, but to make it look like it's not difficult. 

Amidst a conversation with my neighbor she spoke of her friend in Chicago, "My friend said that it's really weird. Where she lives all the moms act like they have it all together. She thinks it's really strange that they never ask for help or act like they would even need it. Everyone seems to live such separate lives."

There is a fine line between admitting that something is challenging and saying that you don't like it. When did these two things become synonymous? I love being a mom, that doesn't mean that because I love it, that it is easy.

Those days when everything spills, you yell when you don't want to, your kids won't listen. The days when there is mud on the floor right after you mopped, your kid lies, and your living rooms gets trashed 15 times. The day where the craft you painstakingly planned takes 30 minutes to get ready, 5 minutes for the kids to complete, and 30 minutes to clean up. The day the dinner burns, the dryer breaks, the dog next door wakes up your baby from their only nap, and someone pees their pants right as dinner is about to be served. Those days. Those are hard.

Sometimes? Sometimes you need encouragement. You need to know that you don't have to be perfect. You need to know that regardless of your reactions and your failures that you're still awesome. When that older gentleman in the parking lot pulled up and encouraged me in a low moment I felt like regardless of my frustration someone could still see I was trying. I was still a good mom.

Being a mom, being a parent - is difficult for everyone. Remember that. Know that you're not the only one. We're all in this together. We're all changing diapers, we're all sleep deprived hoping for a shower, getting drinks for the hundredth time, pushing kids on swings, and being used as Kleenex because we're closer in proximity than the tissues.

When you have so much emotionally invested in something it isn't going to be easy.  It doesn't matter if you have 1 kid or 18. You love your kid, you want what's best for them, and you're going to try your hardest to make sure that they are well taken care of. That, my friends is hard work.

It is ok to stumble. It's going to happen over and over. After all you've never done this before, at least not with this child - because remember, each child is different.

It is ok to admit that you're having a bad day sometimes. Your bad day does not define who you are as a mom. There is a big difference between saying that you're struggling versus complaining, being negative, and slandering. It's ok (and good) to sometimes even ask for help. Sometimes people don't know you need help unless you ask for it.

I don't have it all together. I burn cakes, I flake out on friends, I have to say I'm sorry to my kids. I'm  learning to ask for help on occasion, because sometimes I'm just good and tuckered out. I'm also learning to  ask my husband for a compliment because on occasion I really need one. This parenting stuff, the bad days, they're not for the faint of heart. That doesn't take away from how awesome this calling is.

Dude, it rocks. Just look.

I can't look at those faces and say that all the work isn't worth it. It is so, so worth it. Even the bad days.


  1. What a great comment from that man, such an easy thing to do and yet something that really makes an impact.

    1. Yes! So true. It was so unexpected and so perfectly timed.

    I have wondered frequently why people don't admit they are tired or having a rough day. My husband thinks I am much too quick to be honest, it shouldn't be such a default, but I can't be any other way. I think maybe it's from being an actor, you have to be very comfortable exploring your humanity and your imperfections and character flaws. I have so many of them! In way, this takes the pressure off. I can be lazy and just love my child and know the rest doesn't matter. No matter WHAT anyone else says. Particularly about bedtime discipline. Um, what's that? Not that I am sensitive about having a child with a late bedtime or anything!

  3. I love this. The end.

    Haha! Seriously. Love this. Nothing else to say except spot on, lady! :)

  4. Yes! Even if they drive us crazy and makes want to pull all our hairs out, when they give us those endearing smiles, we melt and everything falls back into place. :)

  5. Your post was a true encouragement to me! It was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

    1. Jenny, thank you so very much! You just made my morning. <3

  6. Thanks for the reminder that we all need encouragement sometimes and that we can all be encouraging to others. It was wonderful how you pointed out both the challenges and the joy of parenting.


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