Perfectly Imperfect, Team Happy Mamas

Monday morning I dressed James in shorts for school. We had Listen to Your Mother auditions the previous weekend, and I had zero time to do the laundry or anything else. When I pulled out the drawer that is normally filled with pants, there was only one pair of shorts.

“It’s not that big of a deal.” I told myself. “We’ve had a long run of warm days. It’ll be fine.”

I dropped the clothes in David’s lap. James still asks for help dressing in the mornings even though he doesn’t need it. I walked into the kitchen and started prepping lunches, his and mine. He doesn’t like the school’s cheese pizza, which was on the menu for the day, but Cady does so I knew she would want to buy her lunch at school. I passed through the laundry room and noticed a full load of clean clothes in the dryer. Pants!

“James do you want to wear pants today or are shorts okay?”

“I’ll wear shorts!” He yelled from the living room where his focus was intent on Sponge Bob being stung by a massive jelly fish.

We bustled around for the next fifteen or so minutes, looking for shoes and locating backpacks that were discarded in haste on Friday afternoon. Ready for the day, I scooted the kids out the door to wait for the bus while I finished a few more things before leaving for work.

It wasn’t long before the back door cracked open. “Mom, can I have a jacket? It’s kinda cold. Can I wear pants tomorrow?” I stepped outside with the requested jacket and snacks I had forgot to provide. He was right. It was chilly.

I should have searched harder for those pants. I should not have let him choose to wear the shorts. I should have made him change. What kind of mother am I? Who sends her kid to school wearing shorts in February (never mind that the high was in the 70s the day before)? These thoughts circled the rest of the morning and were shouting when I stepped out of my office building to find that it was still chilly outside at noon.

I am the worst mother in the world!

How often do we yell these thoughts at ourselves? How often do we whisper them out loud? In front of our kids? Who think we are amazing. How often do we undervalue ourselves as mothers, wives, employees, daughters, sisters, friends…

I immediately stopped myself. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa sister. You need to stop that right now. And as my therapist has taught me, I addressed that mean voice inside my head. What’s really going on here? You KNOW that we are not the WORST mother in the world.

Well… you let our son go to school in shorts when it is FREEZING outside. That’s pretty horrible. (My inner voice likes hyperbole.)

It isn’t HORRIBLE. He’ll be fine, a little chilly, but fine. What’s really going on here?

… He’ll be cold… And I’m worried about him.

And we’ve reached the truth.

Worrying about our children or the job we are doing as parents does not make us bad mothers. This is what makes us great mothers. We all make mistakes and screw up every once in awhile a couple of times a day, but we live through it and so do our kids. Being a happy mama is not about perfection.

It is not about Pinterest worthy lunches, days filled with enrichment activities, or game nights with themed snacks (unless that’s your thing). Being a happy mama is about doing the best you can and forgiving yourself when you fail. Because, honey, we all fail sometimes.

The next time that nasty voice starts telling you that you are a “bad” mother I challenge you to talk to it. Find out what’s really going on. I will promise you that 100% of the time it has nothing to do with you being “bad” and everything to do with you loving your kids to distraction.

Perfectly Imperfect, Team Happy Mamas

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  1. says

    Awesome post. So much truth. I’d like to add finding the strength to admit when you’re wrong and apologizing about it too. So many times I’ve thought I need to tell him I’m sorry and then didn’t because I got busy, or the long day washed the morning away. For me maybe, but it doesn’t always disappear for them. And when I do remember to do it, I can see how much it means to them. To hear those words from my mouth.
    Dude Mom recently posted…If You’re a Happy Mama & You Know It.My Profile

  2. says

    Wow. This is a great way to think!

    I am ALWAYS saying “I’m the worst.” or “That’s the worst.” or “You’re the worst.” (that one usually goes to Dan). It is always a joke. I say it in a way that is obviously hyperbole. But my kids hear it. And I don’t think they quite understand hyperbole yet. I’m going to try to watch my tongue about what is and isn’t “the worst”. Including myself.
    Laura recently posted…Book Review: The Fault in Our StarsMy Profile

  3. says

    My inner voice is such a bitch. Her name is Shirley. And she lies. She tells me things I know aren’t true but she is so convincing, so sure, so determined. As parents, this is so much more difficult to combat than when it’s just us. Because now we have these people for whom we are responsible (they are actual people! That we’re in charge of!) and it’s easier to kick ourselves for the things we perceive as the worst. I love that you realized the “real” thing behind your inner critic lambasting you. I don’t feel like checking to make sure that’s the word I want to use. Worry. Worry is worse than Shirley. And that’s saying something.
    Arnebya recently posted…TryingMy Profile

  4. says

    I have that voice too.
    I love what you said about it stemming from worry. I think that has a lot to do with it for me, too. I was always a bit of a worrier, but since I became a mom, I worry so much more. I don’t know why, since like you said, everything will likely be OK.
    This really made me think – and I am going to shut that girl in my head down the net time she starts with me.
    Kim recently posted…The Blanket BoxMy Profile

  5. says

    “Loving your kids to distraction” – I love that. It’s so comforting to know that we all have those voices that tell us mean and nasty things, AND that we have the power to shut them up.
    Andrea recently posted…At A LossMy Profile

  6. says

    I have only recently starting doing this – taking those thoughts captive. And, although I didn’t do it intentionally I use the same thought process that you do to get out of my slump.

    And for the record, you are an adorably awesome cool wise mama and friend.