How to seal the ability to feel like a complete loser as a mother…meet another mom who seems to have it all together.
Some time ago, I noticed a trend. A lot of mothers were feeling like I did. I felt like I couldn’t do enough, plan enough, clean enough, do the right things with my kids, I couldn’t keep myself up, in shape…I couldn’t keep up with the things that seemed to come effortlessly to other mothers.
I question (as I often do) my ability and decision to be a mother and felt bad for my children that they were stuck with me.
Eventually, I came to the realization that most if not all of us feel like that, even if it’s deeply rooted in some denial place that we can’t “go to”. We all feel like we’re in competition with each other; like there’s some secret contest to see which mom can juggle the best regardless of what’s thrown at them; the contest that awards the winner with admiration and awe from other mothers who only long to have the skills necessary to be her.
So, I thought, if we’re all feeling like that, including the mothers who seem to have/be/do it all, then that means none of us is succeeding in this unattainable throne of worship. This, of course, leads to the acknowledgment that there is no throne, but rather another unreachable dream that we all (apparently) collectively have.
I was good. I made my ‘discovery’. I felt better knowing that I was better than no one and no one was better than me. We all have our weaknesses; we all have our faults and flaws. None of us is sitting high upon a throne being worshiped by all, and there are always wrongs in the life that appears to be perfection.
And then I fell off my horse.
It’s been nudging me for some time. I think it slowly comes after each new diagnosis or news of Alex. I feel like I can’t do enough for him. I haven’t done enough for him; researched in every nook and cranny. I haven’t put forth every therapy in our home. I didn’t know everything I needed to do when I needed to do it.
Of all the things I keep track of and consider in every move I make, I feel like I just didn’t keep track enough or consider enough for him. I’ve gotten tired from the fight (not to be confused with not fighting for him because I do, every day, every second of every day) because the fight seems to have been long and sometimes, fruitless. Most times fruitless.
But I’ve been fighting for so long like this that I’m just tired. Add more kids, more responsibilities; add more “Mommy Brain” to my list of weaknesses in my parenting. More chances for me to critique myself and demand that I acknowledge what a bad mother I am.
After visiting several new friend’s homes to see the sterile cleanliness, order and seemingly effortless manner in which they ran their homes, the buck from my horse of discovery was solidified when I recently ran into a mother of three kids who were very polite, well behaved, contently awaiting their mother’s next move in a public place.
She was giving me some helpful tools for Alex, some task cards (similar to a picture schedule) to help him get through his day of self-care, eating, transitions. She handmade them for me. They’re great! Better than anything I could have ever expected (or done myself) and she did these all for me, for him, because I asked in a forum (Moms Like Me ~ Denver. Thank you, Miss Dana).
I’m not sure where she found the time. I was spinning from the thought of having to figure it all out. Then there she was, with her polite, well-behaved, 3 children, 5 and under seeming to have it all under control. My little not quite 2-year old was standing on the furniture with the wild look that only a nap-missing, sleep-deprived child of her age can gain.
She was climbing behind an unsure boy to go and physically “pet” her daughter. Not listening. Not sitting obediently awaiting her mother’s end to her adult talk. My 10-month-old son was sitting on my lap, quietly chewing on my lead-laden keys.
In reality, not that bad. Not that great, but not that bad. But put this one instance into a laundry pile of examples of how I’m losing the Motherhood Battle, and I’m back to questioning how I will ever ‘properly’ raise my kids without too much damage. I want to get back on that horse and know that I’m not a bad mother.