Monday, 22 August 2016

When You Feel Like a Bad Mom


Today on Mombies Unite, I'm so excited to feature Emily Fisk's words. If her name sounds familiar, you may remember her powerful essay, Parenting Bravely in a Frightening World. Emily has a way of boiling truth down to its simplest form and then gently streaming it onto a page. This post resonated with me deeply. If you (like me) often find yourself in self-deprecating mom mode, this one's for you.


 

Photo via emilyfisk.com
Meet Emily. Emily swore she'd never be a mommy blogger, so now we all have something to laugh about together. From a cozy valley in Idaho, Emily writes in between work deadlines and toddler tantrums. Follow along at emilyfisk.com for attempts at gardening, sanity, humor, and faith.

In case you're wondering, I didn't name my firstborn after this amazing gal although it IS a happy coincidence. I started internet stalking reading her amazing words and just had to get to know her (sorry Emily). Feel free to just go bookmark her blog right now so that when her books come out, you can say, "Hey! I read a post by THE Emily Fisk." You're welcome.


This post originally appeared on EmilyFisk.com and has also been published on The Huffington Post.

 

"I'm such a bad mom."

I say it to get a sympathetic giggle, to show some sarcastic humor, to inject some honesty into my conversations. I say it to lower the stakes for myself, and I don't mean it—just like I don't mean it when I complain about my love handles returning or when I joke that the state of my house is a (mental) health hazard. It's just something we say, especially to other moms. 

But my mom friends and I are smart. We know we (kinda sorta) mean it. We know words mean something. We know we're beating ourselves up for last night's chicken nuggets and today's dirty pajamas. We know that sometimes we're barely making it and that the days we don't mostly believe in the bad-mom mantra are few and far between. And we absolutely know that we say those words because we're not sure how else to process the guilt and expectations. 
I'm not a bad mom because serving healthy food, keeping a clean house, and reading books aren't what make me a good mom. I'm a good mom because I'm not trying to do it in my strength but with prayer and humility and mistakes. I'm a good mom because I agonize over whether I'm doing it right. I'm a good mom because I asked the question in the first place.  emilyfisk.com

I've been in bad-mom territory for a month or two now, brought on by sickness and fatigue and cloudy days. I swear every Monday, every new morning, every naptime that I'm going to turn it around and get my crap together, and I write to-do lists with sky-high expectations. I'm not only going to finally address the mildew in the bathroom, I'm going to spring clean my entire house! Since I haven't cooked a hot meal in two weeks, this week I'll master the art of French cooking! Because I've been behind on work all month, it's time to take on more projects and do it all in one day! It's my penance for being a bad mom, and the heart is willing but the flesh is weak* (*and also my expectations may be a tiny bit unrealistic). 

I keep thinking the cure is productivity. I'll get out of this funk when I'm back on top and that to-do list is checked off. But I have a feeling it's more about my attitude than my circumstances.Even when my toddler uses fast-food chicken nuggets as a spoon to eat five packets of sugar-filled ketchup, I'm not a bad mom.   

Even when there's mildew in the bathroom and dirty diapers overflowing the trash can, I'm not a bad mom. 

 Even when there are more Daniel Tiger episodes watched than books read in a day, I am not a bad mom.  

I'm not a bad mom because serving healthy food, keeping a clean house, and reading books aren't what make me a good mom. I'm a good mom because I'm not trying to do it in my strength but with prayer and humility and mistakes. I'm a good mom because I agonize over whether I'm doing it right. I'm a good mom because I asked the question in the first place.   

So are you.  

Today, I erased "Spring clean bathroom" and "Bake bread" off of my handy-dandy to-do list. In their place, I added, "Walk to the park with Charlie." And by golly, I checked that one off. 

I'm not a bad mom because serving healthy food, keeping a clean house, and reading books aren't what make me a good mom. I'm a good mom because I'm not trying to do it in my strength but with prayer and humility and mistakes. I'm a good mom because I agonize over whether I'm doing it right. I'm a good mom because I asked the question in the first place. emilyfisk.com

Love this post as much as I do? Leave Emily a comment below and give her post a share! Don't forget to follow along at emilyfisk.com!

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