Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, you just aren’t good enough? That you don’t measure up or make the cut? I do. Parenting is hard. And in today’s world it always feels like a competition. Little Susie is going to a different camp each week this summer. Johnny plays on 4 sports teams. Being a “good parent” shouldn’t be measured by accolades and activities but sometimes it can feel that way. Loving your kids should be enough, but it is still tough.
I always want the best for my kids and I worry about them constantly. Are they safe, warm, educated, enriched? Do they feel loved, secure, valued? I struggle to decide how we should prioritize their needs; summer camp or free range? Private school or public. Screen time or no devices? The decisions are endless and the worry is thankless.
And just in case it isn’t obvious to the outside world that despite my best efforts I am still falling short, my wonderful children like to remind me whenever it suits them that I could do better. For example, my eight-year-old daughter likes to point out how unfair the world is when all of her friends get to go on exotic trips over spring break and we have to stay home (I work and March is our busiest season), lay on the working mom guilt.
But just when I think my “keep them fed, washed and clothed” approach to rocking motherhood is keeping me clear of the authorities, they chime in with new gems of encouragement, like when my 6-year-old told me this week, “Mom, at least you’re not the worst mom ever—you could be like a hamster and eat your young.”
“Yeah, or a quokka, they throw their babies to the predators so they can escape. See, you’re not the worst mom ever.”
And just like that, my faith is restored. I don’t eat my young, I’m not the worst mom ever. I am just so glad to know I rank up there above my mammal and marsupial counterparts in the grand parenting scheme simply by not throwing them to the wolves, literally.
Also, they inform me, there are lots of animals whose mothering skills are worse than mine. For example, koalas feed their young their own poop and when baby eagles fight with each other, mother eagles don’t intervene, letting the stronger chicks actually peck the weaker chicks to death. Survival of the fittest.
How I will miss elementary school science “fun facts.”
But at least now, the next time they are at each other’s throats over if they should watch Cocomelon or Power Rangers (clearly, I went with screen time), I’ll have a reason to tell them to knock it off and go to their rooms. I’m just protecting them from certain death.
Hang in there, Mama, you’re not the worst mom ever, either.