I have a 7-year-old daughter whom I absolutely love and adore. I try to be the living, breathing example of what a happy and healthy life looks like, but at times it feels like that can be an impossible task. Up until she was about 6 years old (the beginning of 1st grade), I felt like…. “I got this mom thing down.”
I knew I wasn’t a perfect mom, but I knew I was doing the best I could and I was perfect for her.
Over the course of some months, life began to hit me in a way I couldn’t imagine. I was dealing with a parent’s addiction, a long-term friendship had ended and a job I loved was slowly turning into a place I dreaded. It seemed like the world around me was turning into something so unfamiliar.
When Life Happens:
As all of us moms know, being a mom doesn’t stop just because life happens. Yes, I was being a parent. I was taking care of my child’s needs and made sure she felt love. But if I’m being honest, I was pretty much on auto-pilot. I was so focused and distracted on so many other things I stopped checking homework (actually I would completely forget about it sometimes!). We didn’t participate in class projects because of course, I would forget. When I did remember, it would be at the last minute and I would need to throw something together. It wasn’t my best effort and I wasn’t doing a good job at being a role model.
My Turning Point:
After having multiple anxiety attacks over a period of time, (that she sometimes witnessed) I began to reflect on my life and the things that made me unhappy and caused my anxiety. One of those was I thought I was being a bad mom. I had every intention on wanting to do better and being emotionally there for my daughter, but my actions were not showing it. I allowed life to distract me from something that is MOST important to me, and that’s being the best mom I could be.
I began to break down the things I thought were important to being a mom. These were:
- Spending true quality time (no phone and no distractions): I give her my undivided attention during this time.
- I do something, watch something, eat something that she enjoys.
- I provide structure and consistency. We have weekly routines to help her with discipline and focus.
- Educate her on the new things I’m learning and didn’t know when I was growing up.
- Participate in school projects.
- DO HOMEWORK DAILY.
- I get to know her!
Your Work is NEVER Done:
I keep a mental and physical list and I check it to see the last time I did some of them. If I find that it has been a long time since we spent some quality time together, I make sure I put that on my to-do list and plan something for the two of us. As a mother, your work is never done when it comes to taking care of your children and providing for them. Trying to raise a child to become self sufficient is challenging. Just like any relationship, it will evolve, there will be some good days and some bad. You will check your list and find that you’ve been slacking in some areas.
But that’s OK, because it’s all about being aware of where you are falling short and doing something about it.
We all struggle with negative thoughts about our parenting, so you are not alone. Take some time to reflect on how you feel about your parenting and what you can do differently to improve.
Our children deserve to have the best version of ourselves.
How About You?
Have you ever felt like a bad mom? What did you do to remedy that feeling?