I’m a bad mom.
I was recently at a play date, primarily comprised of first-time moms, bouncing their immobile babies in hopes of adult conversation. Inevitably, in a group of moms, only a few stories need be swapped before the comparison game sets in…thus perpetuating the ubiquitous “mom guilt.” An innocent story of a baby’s first time in a park swing was the impetus…within moments came the phrase in varying forms…
I haven’t put my daughter in a swing… I’m a bad mom!
We haven’t gone to a park yet… guess I should do that…
I hadn’t thought to take him to a park… maybe I should do that?
Another item tacked on to the never-ending checklist of Mom Shoulds: Put Baby in a Swing. I doubt that the much-needed camaraderie of time spent with other moms left anyone feeling encouraged that day. Each mom left, resolved to return the following week a better mother, and not in a good way.
So, let’s call off the dogs…the self-imposed dogs of guilt. Let’s take ourselves out of the running of being Best Mom Ever (even if you own a coffee mug that says otherwise). It’s okay to not be the best in every category. Maybe your home doesn’t look like Joanna Gaines staged it and maybe your muffins wouldn’t win the Great British Bake-off.
Too many reality TV references? No?
Maybe you aren’t training for a triathalon, and that’s ok! That mom on Instagram with the flat stomach and kale smoothie likely isn’t on the ball in every other area, either.
I don’t buy anything at thrift stores. It would be GREAT for my family if I bought my kids’ clothing second-hand and was able to upcycle old furniture. But I don’t. I don’t need to feel guilty; it’s fine. That’s not how I’m wired.
I used to try to be that mom and, you know what? It stressed me out. I did not experience any thrill of pushing a tiny cart between piles of old frames, digging through boxes of mislabeled shoes for that great deal. Not for me. I’d much rather save the time and buy the item new. I’d probably save a money the other way, but I’d lose my sanity in the process. AND IT’S OKAY.
You don’t need to win the trophy of World’s Greatest Mom. Set your own expectations and meet them: Love your kids. Stay sane. Take care of yourself. And, please, buy a mug that says, “Best Mom Ever.”
Because you probably are.
Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs at karagaris.com.