The words were so sweet and so well meaning, “I really admire you. Seriously, I really admire you as a mom and am amazed by what you do.” Those words. If only she knew. If only she knew about the times when I am screaming at my kids because I have already asked them twenty times to pick their shoes up out of the living room floor and they still haven’t done it. If only she knew how I stayed up late at night worrying that I wasn’t good enough. If only she could see me as I was losing it while shopping for Easter dresses with my kids and my daughter was having an epic meltdown. If only she could hear my nagging. If only she knew how hard I struggled to be a good mom. I bet if she had a glimpse into those scenarios she would think I was the worst mother in the world.
Sometimes being a mom is hard. Let’s be honest, everything about being a mom is hard. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom. Everything about being a mom is hard. You have to make decisions about their education, whether or not to vaccinate them, should you let them join social media sites, can they go to a sleepover, the list of decisions goes on and on. Even when you are 99.9% sure (because you are never 100% sure) you are making the right decision you still agonize over it, what if it is the wrong decision, what if the worst happens.
Then there is the judging. If you are strict on your kids you are overprotective, if you are lenient with your kids you are a bad mom. You have to send the perfect healthy lunch to school because if your child has even one item that could be deemed as unhealthy you will be judged as an unfit mom. And you wouldn’t dare let anyone know you feed your child McDonalds from time to time because that is just the worst thing ever.
And then there is the sacrifice. The sacrifices your kids aren’t even aware you make. You give them that last piece of cake when honestly you had been daydreaming about eating it all afternoon. You wear clothes that are from two seasons ago just so that you can buy them new clothes. You scrimp and save just so that you can give them that vacation they are dreaming of. Then you get upset with them when what you give them isn’t enough. They want more. They always want more.
The thing is being a mom is also wonderful. It is the most rewarding job in the whole world. You get rewarded with sweet baby giggles when they are young, messy toddler hugs when they are young, and every now and then you get the slightest hint of a smile from your teenager. You get to be their hero, their best friend, and their confidante. And that makes every moment of being a mother worth it.
And sometimes you get notes like this.
And while I know I am not the best mother in the world, I also know that I am not the worst mother in the world. Although my kids have told me quite often I am the meanest mother in the world. The important thing is I am their mother, and I am the only one they have. That makes me the perfect mother for them. Every moment of heartbreak, sacrifice, and grief is worth it to get to be their mom.
So if you are the mom who sometimes loses it, who feels as if they are never good enough, or are secretly longing for bedtime so that you can finally have some quiet, know that you are not alone. We are all there with you in the trenches of motherhood, and having those moments of our own. That perfect mom you think you might know isn’t so perfect. She is just like you and me.