My friends and I have been pondering this for this last few years: am I a good mom? It came up yesterday or today, but really, we’ve each been thinking about it since we became mothers. Are we really doing a good job? By what measure are we doing a good job? How do we know if we are doing a good job? Here’s the kicker, what if we’re doing our best, but it’s still not good enough?
I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day beyond wearing green. I don’t dye the water in our toilet green and tell my kids a leprechaun peed in it. My Elf on the Shelf just sits wherever I remember at 11 PM to put him (or 5 AM). He doesn’t party with Barbie and Ken. I rarely, like for birthdays only, cut lunch sandwiches with a cookie cutter. I have never made pancakes into shapes. I don’t have daily craft time. I don’t do flash cards (which is my husband’s measurement of awesome mom). I won’t home school. (Shudder)
I don’t beat them. I don’t deprive them of food (they even have snacks half an hour before dinner!). I don’t deny them sleep. I don’t lock them in confined, dark spaces for hours on end. I have never allowed anyone else to do any of those things.
I lose my patience and temper. I give lots of hugs. I yell. I kiss tummies. I turn the tv on when I need quiet time. I play Candy Land, Memory and Princess Cupcake Tea Party whenever asked (within reason). I drive miles so James can go to school with his best friend and Ellie can do gymnastics.
Am I a good mom? Like everyone else, I am doing the best I can. I wish I never lost my patience and that we all made Christmas ornaments for our family and friends together. That is just not realistic. That’s not me and that’s not them. If I were a better mom, maybe they would be better kids. But, they are mostly fun and I think I am mostly fun. Sometimes they are naughty and sometimes I am angry.
How do we know if it’s enough? My measure is if my children are happy, positively contributing members of society. Of course, I won’t know if I’ve succeeded for years. That’s probably for the best. I am not ready to know yet. If James ends up a drug addict, unable to deal with reality; Ellie is a car thief looking for thrills and not caring about the innocent victims of her crimes; and Katie is a stripper trying to get attention from all the wrong places then I’ll know I’ve failed. Maybe I’ll shoot for two out of three.