Sometimes I’m the worst mom ever.
Sometimes I make rookie mistakes.
I forget to pack snacks or a water bottle when running a long errand. I leave home without a change of clothes for my 99%-potty-trained toddler. I get caught up with doing the dishes and decide to ignore the suspiciously quiet two-year-old behind me for three minutes.
Sometimes I wake up and think, “Today will be a good day!”
And then my daughter throws a tantrum because she doesn’t want the yogurt she just asked for.
And then she doesn’t quite make it to the potty.
And then getting dressed takes 20 minutes of screaming because I picked the wrong leggings.
And then she refuses to clean up her toys.
And then she shrieks through a solid two minutes of timeout.
And then she runs into the street instead of following my instructions to come and get in her car seat.
And sometimes…well, sometimes I snap.
Sometimes I yell, or deliver a punishment in anger instead of rationally thinking it through. Sometimes my daughter looks into my face, stricken with tears and frustration, and I realize I’ve blown it.
Sometimes I feel like I’m always blowing it.
Sometimes I listen to my daughter playing with her toys, and the entire dialogue is composed of one doll scolding the other. “Get down right now!” “Look at me! Don’t do that!” “I said ‘no!'” And I worry, am I scolding too much? Is this what she’ll remember most of her childhood?
Sometimes I feel like I am failing.
Sometimes the discipline tactic that has carried us for months suddenly stops working, and my strong-willed toddler and I lock eyes and both realize that I have no idea what to do next.
Other times, she’s just plain poorly behaved, hitting or biting me or screeching when she doesn’t get her way (usually in public for maximum embarrassment, of course). And I’m certain, for a very brief but sincere moment, that I’ve officially failed as a mom and this is just going to be our life from now on.
Of course, I know, in that rational part of my brain (that is sometimes smothered by the sound of a difficult toddler) that it’s not really possible that I’m always messing up.
I love my daughter with every fiber of my being and I’ve dedicated most of my life to caring for her and ensuring her safety and happiness. We spend every day together, going on adventures, reading books, singing and dancing and laughing out loud multiple times a day.
In truth, I try and care way too hard to be a bad mom.
And you know what? I would bet what’s left of my toddler-mom brain that you do too.
So to all the other #worstmomevers out there, I extend this reminder:
When you catch yourself yelling instead of “positively parenting”
Remember that this is a good opportunity to show your child how adults should react when they lose their temper. Apologize for blowing your cool, and take the opportunity to practice a few calming deep breaths together. (And trust me that your heart will always burst when your little one asks if you can take “Anudder deep bref?”)
When you crack under a tantrum and break your perfect consistency record
Remember that there has never actually been a perfect human parent. You are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, and tomorrow (or, more likely, in a few minutes) there will be another opportunity to get it right.
When you feel like you’re going to go crazy after asking your little one to put on her shoes or clean up her toys for the thousandth time
Remember that while you can’t control your kid (if you’ve found a way, let me know, mmkay?), you can control your reaction. Level set expectations: At this stage of life, getting out of the house may take half an hour—every single. time. But you won’t stress as much if you are mentally prepared for it.
When your tried and true discipline method suddenly stops working and your frustration overwhelms you
Remember that this, like every moment of motherhood, is a moment that will pass. Your child will not always be two (or three weeks or six or sixteen), and sometimes all you can do is wait for them to grow out of a phase.
When you feel like the worst mom ever
Remember that nothing fixes a bad moment like an apology and a hug—and it’s those moments that will really teach your child how to grow up into a good, caring person.
I might never be the best mom ever. Odds are, none of us will be.
But being the best mom I can be? That I can do.