From time to time we all feel like crappy Moms. We let our Littles have too much sugar, stay up too late, have too much screen-time. But what really is a crappy Mom? Is it less about what you do and don’t do and more about how much you care? Is it about how you prioritize your child’s needs vs your own? Is it individual acts that make someone a crap Mom, or a whole child rearing philosophy, or lack thereof?
I have no freaking clue! I’m learning as I go much like the rest of you. Do I love my kid? Yes. Do I sometimes want to scream and tell him to shut the hell up? Also yes.
But here’s my take. If you think you’re a crappy Mom, if you even consider what kind of Mom you are, you probably aren’t a crap Mom. True crap Moms could not give two hot poops about the kind of parent they are. They’re too busy taking selfies in the club while their kid is in the car asleep.
But, because as women we’re always questioning our adequacy, just as the world has trained us to, we stress and torture ourselves over small acts that will have zero long term impact on our kids. With that in mind, I offer you my unfiltered experiences as a signpost to let you know you’re not alone, and you’re not a crappy Mom. Welcome to Crappy Mom Confessions.
This will be an ongoing series of posts dedicated to Momming and surviving.
The Cookie Thief
I was lying in bed, but not quite asleep. A sound woke me just in time for my eyes to open and see the flash of a scurrying child dart across my living room. A few seconds later he darted back, then I heard his footsteps as he went back upstairs.
I looked at the clock. 2:45am. If I fell asleep right then, I’d get a solid 5 hours of sleep before I had to be up. I had a decision to make.
-Go upstairs, tell my 7 year old to give back the Kids Fire Tablet that I was all but certain he had grabbed from downstairs during his midnight mission. I’d end up sitting with him until he fell asleep, probably hours, and I’d maybe get 3 hours of sleep before my alarm went off.
-Go upstairs, take the Kids Fire Tablet, tell him to go to bed. Go back to my own bed, knowing full well he was already up and reading comic books or playing with toys.
-Wake my husband up. He also needed to be up early, and would have the exact same results as me.
-Roll over and go to sleep. Ignore the crushing guilt, and accept that he’s old enough not to get hurt upstairs by sticking a coat hanger in a light socket or doing shots of Draino. Sure, he’d be an overtired nightmare the next day, but he didn’t have school so he wasn’t going to compromise any learning.
I chose to go to sleep. The next day, I found out he had actually run downstairs to grab some of Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies that she’d dropped off earlier in the day. Fortunately, my husband had placed them out of reach so our kid wouldn’t eat 50 cookies for breakfast before we woke up. My son also told me – get this – that he was actually tired so he just went up and went back to sleep! He woke up rested and in a delightful mood! I mean, we did get a lecture about hiding the cookies from him. He was not pleased about that, but he wasn’t overtired at all.
Had I gone up there, he would have thought it was party time and probably stayed up for hours. This one time, as I was silently berating my craptastic parenting, he was actually going back to sleep!
So, sometimes you need to make decisions that might not be ideal, but allow you some leeway. You need sleep too! My kid was fine, he didn’t have the SATs the next day, and he survived. Also, my husband and I actually got an acceptable-ish amount of sleep and were better parents for it the next day.
Give yourself a break. If your child is safe, well, fed, and loved, sometimes they can stay up playing with toys or watching their tablet. They’ll survive and so will you.