Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Momisms: On Feeling Insufficient


I doubt myself a lot when it comes to my kids. 
Am I doing the right things? Am I spending enough time with them? Holding them enough, kissing them enough, reading to them enough, loving and affirming them enough?
The answer is always no.
Their short childhoods are passing by so damn fast, and I feel like every day goes faster than the last until I am in a perpetual fast forward like the movie Click, which made me cry.
I question myself, second guess myself, doubt myself, and generally beat myself up over little, stupid and probably insignificant Mom things.
"Maybe I should have made sure Lainie's socks matched before I sent her off to school instead of letting her wear mismatched ones... Maybe I should have let Jackson play in the tub five minutes longer... Maybe I should've re-read that story for the 10th time... Maybe I should've left them to be raised by gorillas in the jungle, wearing loin cloths and swinging from friggin trees.... I have no idea what I'm doing."
It's endless.
I think self doubt in general is just standard for moms, because we are charged with ensuring that the lives, the future, the mental and emotional stability of other human beings, turns out right.
That's pretty huge.
I really can't think of being asked to do anything huger.
And to think I complain about having to do my boss' job at work all the time. Shit, at least if he turns out to be a stripper or a serial killer in 20 years, no one will blame that on me.
I also think that the environment in which we become moms can make us more or less prone to self doubt. To the negative talk. 
I remember when Jackson was just a wee babe and we were staying with my older sister after I'd split up with Jack's dad, and she seemed to have a problem with the way I did everything with the kids. Jack wasn't on a proper schedule, Lainie shouldn't be required to take naps anymore, Jackson was drinking too many bottles during the day, his eczema was the result of improper care, I shouldn't be bathing the children together, blah blah blah. I remember feeling like I absolutely never did anything right.
At one point I lost it, and said "You know you're not fucking perfect!" to which she replied, in 100% seriousness "No, but I'm pretty damn close."
I cried every single day.
There are times when I do something in a way I wouldn't normally do it, because I feel my sister's judgment and criticism. Her scrutiny. I remember that failure.

My son's aunt recently had a baby, and I had breakfast with them at iHop one Sunday morning when he was only two weeks old. I sat there holding him and feeling like a very in love aunt {even though he isn't technically my nephew}. I looked up at his mom and said "There's nothing you could ever call and confess to me about being a mom to which I will say 'No I can't relate to that at all' or consider you a terrible mother for." 
Obviously I didn't mean she was encouraged to give her baby crack or leave him on a bus with a homeless guy, but I meant those words. 
Moms need love, support, understanding, and to have someone they can call on the bad days and be like
 "Dude, my kids won't stop fighting, my oldest just asked me about the day she was born and I said I stole her from some lady in Target and now she won't stop crying, I set the stove on fire twice and I have no idea where my pants are. I'm pretty sure me and Britney Spears would have a lot in common right now."
We shouldn't feel afraid of judgment and ridicule or someone else's falls sense of superiority just because we're human and we make mistakes.
Being a mother doesn't make you infallible. It makes you fat, tired and slightly more psychotic.
And if anything, it makes you a hell of a lot more human than you were before you took this job. I mean, if it was meant to make you perfect then I doubt it would start out with drooling, vomiting and the acquisition of hemorrhoids.

If there is one thing I can tell you honestly about being a mom, it's that you're going to fuck up. You're going to make huge mistakes, even if you don't think so now, you will find out at some point in your child's life that you in fact didn't know everything. You will have days, weeks or months where you feel like you are the most unqualified person for this job in the whole history of ever, and you can't believe anyone left you in charge of little kids.
But you will soldier on.
You will hike up the yoga pants you've been wearing for 3 days and roll up the sleeves on the boob-stainy sweater you got at Ross 10 + years ago, and you'll do the work. You won't give up, you will get through it, and even on your darkest mommy-ing days, your kids could switch gears at any moment and melt your heart like they know they can.

And as long as you don't go careening through the neighborhood in your minivan on a field trip to the park afterwards, no one said you can't have a little hard liquor at snack time.

Just kidding.

Sort of. 

Would it be fair to say that as a parent, you’ve felt confused from time to time, possibly overwhelmed on occasion, even though you’re a wonderful mother? I know there have been many moments as a parent where I’ve felt I’ve made huge mistakes - mistakes that are huge. And I’ve had to admit them to myself. My husband. Those moments that every parent I’ve ever spoken to has - moments when you’ve felt the task is so unbelievably challenging that you feel retarded, disabled in some way. Moments when you feel everyone has the key but you.” -I Am Sam

1 comment:

  1. TOTALLY feel you on this!!! xInfinity! Hence my new years resolution lol