I was watching the movie Bad Moms last night and while cracking up, I was also unconsciously comparing my own mommy actions of years past to what they decided were the actions of a good or bad mom. I didn’t pick up on it until about halfway through the film. Which made me wonder…Do other moms do this? And how do they see the “job” of being a mom?
So I decided to ask! I sent out a survey last night to the moms of Sunrise Montessori to ask them what THEY considered the easy parts of being a mother and the hardest and they responded in droves! (I sent it out at the last minute and love that so many of you took the time to share your experience so that this blog would resonate for those reading it, thank you!)
So what’s the easy part of being a mom?
The most common response? As Morgan’s Mom said on the survey, “The hugs and kisses!” Other variations, like “Receiving and giving love, the laughter, the hugs and kisses. The enjoyment of watching them experience new things and watching them learn and grow…so fast! ” by Lisa Bays, were also popular. I loved reading these others:
“Being imaginative. My kids definitely keep me young at heart.” Nikki Schmidt
“Humans who love you unconditionally.” Megan Mays Bowman
“Instantly falling in unconditional love with your child.” Anonymous
“The easy part of being a mom is finding the strength to get through each day. Some nights I lay in bed thinking to myself, there is absolutely no way that I have the energy or strength to do this all over again tomorrow. We all have those days when we feel defeated, but when I wake my daughter up each morning and she wraps her little arms around me and says “hi mommy” I feel like I can conquer the world!” Jordan Graham
The interesting part of the survey responses for this section is that the responses weren’t long. The word “love” was written over and over and the replies were short as a result, which makes total sense. Loving our children and feeling loved in return is easy. But it’s not all hearts and flowers, right, Moms? 😉
What’s the hardest part of being a mom?
Now THIS section got a lot of attention. About five times as much was written for this question than the other. To be clear, that doesn’t mean we hate being moms. The most fulfilling things in life are typically not easy or one-dimensional. We like them more, remember them fondly, even feel pride because we struggled at times. For me, the hardest part of being a mom? Not allowing my son’s mistakes/difficulties/failures in life to get me personally upset (like that time he wrote a petition in 5th grade to get a classmate removed from his room because she was a bully? And got almost all of his classmates to sign it? Yeah, not one of his finer moments. I would like to clarify though that she was kicked out of school at the end of the school year, but he still shouldn’t have done it. Should I mention that I’m also proud that he took the initiative to try to help? Being a mom is SO exhaustingly complex.) I also REALLY struggle with not beating myself up over past events like almost dropping him on his head when he was six months old because I sat him on top of the washer. I am better at handling these moments now with 17 years under my belt, but I will never be a pro. He’s going to apply to colleges this fall and I’m trying with all my might not to get upset if he doesn’t choose to go where I want him to attend. (A&M!!!) Does this rollercoaster ride ever end?!? No, but at least after reading the survey responses, I know that I am not alone! 😉
Here are a few. ALL of these were mentioned many times by other moms:
“Picking battles when kids are testing their boundaries and if it’s better to let something go or if it needs to be dealt with so the action (hopefully) doesn’t happen again.” Anonymous
“Sleep deprivation.” Ariela Duntov
“Having little to no down time. ” Anonymous
“Aside from potty training? Knowing that one day we won’t be able to protect her from life’s challenges and she will have to learn about
and deal with the hardships that she will inevitably encounter.” Maria Price
“Never quite feeling like you’re doing it right.” Leah Trainham
“Juggling everything with two hands. Wearing many hats and remembering that I am a person too.” Anonymous
“The self-doubt. Could I have been more patient?” Sterling Jones
“Sticking to discipline and not giving in.” Jennifer DeHart
“Overthinking everything.” Anonymous
“Always being on call.” Anonymous
“Everything. It is difficult to give time and attention in the different ways that speaks to each child. What works for one kiddo, doesn’t
for the others. Having to divide myself into parts to help my children feel whole.” Amanda Vasquez
If being a mom is hard, being a GOOD mom is impossible.
As someone who has seen almost 15 years of child behavior at Sunrise Montessori, I consider myself one of the most un-judgey (is that a word?) moms out there because raising a child is like trying to paint a portrait that won’t stay still; you do your best, but there is no way that the painting is going to come out looking like a masterpiece. A child has a tantrum at HEB? We’ve all been there. Asked their father to take them to the park so you can get 30 minutes for yourself? Check. Didn’t push them to eat their vegetables for dinner? Please tell me you’ve done this. Allowed them to dress up in their superhero pajamas at Costco? Doesn’t everyone do that? 😉 Yet when it comes to my own parenting, I am a severe critic. Rob had to talk me down from a ledge when I initially said no to four-year-old John wearing his Spiderman pajama top/cape while we were out running errands. But then I saw the happiness on his face and also the other smiling parents who saw how into it he was, and realized I was being too rigid. I was so worried about being judged as a bad mom that I let it color the decisions I was making. So no, I don’t judge other parents harshly. I know how hard it is and I also know how we are all trying to do our best with what we have in our toolbox and what’s going on in our lives.
Yet there is nothing on this planet like being a parent. It’s happy and frustrating, filled with hugs and tears, and it doles out regular doses of satisfaction and self-doubt. For those moms who are reading this who only have a young child, I can confidently tell you that seeing the adult my son is becoming is one of the best things in life. I may not have done everything right, I may not have knocked it out of the park very often, but I made darn sure that John knew that I wanted him to be a good human and that I loved him no matter what. Based on the the person he is today, it was enough. And what you’re doing is, too.
John and I at his Sunrise Montessori graduation, June 2008