Allow me to introduce myself, I am The Best Mom In The World and I have something important to tell you; you are doing it wrong.
You are probably thinking “that is a pretty bold statement to make,” but from where I am sitting it’s past time for someone to set the record straight. I know it seems everywhere you turn you are hearing from moms that are “just okay” and “not the best” or even “hot mess failures” and it is past freakin time someone told you what GREAT parenting looks like.
On the week days everyone gets up later than they should. Not because I didn’t set the alarm for the correct time, but because I stayed up way too late loving my kid-free time. Usually I watch television, until I am almost falling asleep and thinking about how I’m too tired to get up and go to bed (I sit wasting at least fifteen minuets doing this) only to go up to bed, discover I’m not that tired anymore, scroll through social media on my phone for way too long, tell my husband that we “seriously need to start going to bed early” and finally lay in the dark overthinking about things. I wake up tired and spend valuable minuets laying in bed thinking about how tired I am. I wake up the kids with hurried kisses on foreheads and prompts to get up quickly because we are running late.
I get extremely annoyed when they then move with sloth speed even though I KNOW that is the only speed they are capable of moving on school mornings, or after they have been running around the house and I take them outside, or if we need to be anywhere quickly.
Dishes are often piled up in the kitchen sink from the night before (or maybe even from two nights before?), and there are probably not any clean spoons when anyone needs them for cereal. Also, If you want clean socks you are going to need to dig through the laundry pile that’s been sitting on the couch for a week or in the dryer where the clothes have been sitting for a couple of days.
I try and keep the house clean, but it gets messy faster than a fly lands on watermelon at a barbecue. Some days, I am on top of reminding the kids to pick up after themselves. Some days, I yell at them to pick up after themselves but I am just too tired or emotionally spent to follow through with making sure that they’ve done as I’ve asked of them.
I’m the mom that makes fresh baked cookies, healthy dinners, and makes sure the family eats together. I am also the mom that makes frozen nuggets or buys McDonalds which we eat in our minivan on our way to whatever destination we are going to be late in arriving at. The mini van that is clean only once a month and filled with two dozen half empty water bottles that all belong to “not mine” (although the kids will readily lay claim to anything else in the van, even a paperclip, when it doesn’t belong to them) and despite the fact that I am a recycler who actually does care about the environment.
Some days I read to my kids. Some days I don’t read to my kids. Everyday I try and teach them to be respectful and kind. I try and make them feel important, heard and safe.
Some days, I am patient, gentle, loving and encouraging. Some days I am a Disney villain poster mom. However, most days I am a combination of all those things.
Unless it’s past bedtime, in which case I am definitely go into full blown villain mode, screeching at my kids in an octave so shrill and high that I make Mariah Carey sound like an alto. Although it should be noted that they STILL get out of their beds multiple times so I must not be that scary. So yeah, I guess I don’t scare my kids properly (chill out, I’m just joking, I never try and scare my kids. Unless I have a vacuum hose in my hand, in which case, you just aren’t cleaning properly unless you’ve chased a kid across the room and tried to suck up their shirt or hair while they squeal and try to get away).
I’ve lied on the kid’s school reading logs. I've forgotten to sign field trip forms. I’ve hiden behind my kitchen island from my kids so I wont have to share my food with them, and I’ve “stayed up too late for the tooth fairy to visit our house without being seen.”
I’ve kissed, cuddled, and told my kids I love them more times than I can count. I’ve been patient, resilient, and supportive, even when they’ve said they don’t need me, when they’ve said they don’t love me, even when I’m scared.
This, ALL OF THIS, is what it looks like when you are the best mom (or dad, or guardian) in the whole world. It’s triumph and failure, frustration and joy, and learning, mishaps, and more love than you knew existed.
What so many of us are doing wrong, is acting like there is actually a checklist that needs to be ticked in order for us to be considered good parents. We are so easily convinced that we aren’t doing a great job at this parenting thing when, in reality, we are doing the best we can each and every day. It’s just that “our best” varies from day to day.
Guess what? THERE IS NO FIXED DEFINITION OF WHAT A GREAT PARENT MEANS.
Sure there are practices, habits, skills, traits even, that we attribute to good parenting. But every child is different. I can’t parent my child with autism the same way I parent my neurotypical child. I can’t parent my strong willed child the same way I parent my introverted child. Also, I am human too with my own strengths, weakness and needs and those can fluctuate daily too.
We need to stop selling ourselves short. Stop the comparisons. Stop letting the doubt, guilt, negative voices in our heads, and the judgments of people who don’t know our situations, define how we view ourselves as parents.
I was given a hand made card by my six year old today. It was a drawing of me and it was labeled “The Best Mom In The World”. I am great parent. I know you are too. We don’t need stick figure kindergarten drawings, door slamming teenagers, or imaginary checklists to rate us. We just need to have a little more faith in ourselves.
Sending lots of love to all the other Best Parents In The World out there,
-Katrina (Tree) Davis The Best Mom In The World