There are days when I don’t want to get dressed in the morning.
When I can’t face a healthy breakfast and instead eat too much toast with too much jam knowing I’m setting a bad example to my daughter.
There are times when the battle to brush her little teeth is just too much and I give up and leave her to wipe her tear and toothpaste smeared little red face on her own.
After all, I’m not perfect. And while the women I see on the school run in their shiny 4x4s seem to be, I’ve realized over the last few months that they too probably have moments where they feel like failures too.
And that’s OK. They’re still good moms, just like me.
It’s something American mom Karen Johnson touched on in a post on her Facebook page ‘The 21st Century SAHM’ (Stay At Home Mom).
The mother-of-three spoke out about what it takes to be a good mom. And it turns out, spending too much time in your pyjamas and consuming too many bready-based calories while leaving your child to scream about their toothy-trauma still doesn’t make me a bad mom.
Explaining how her house is never clean yet her friends’ houses are spotless and that she sometimes gives her children popsicles for breakfast rather than organic cereals but this doesn’t make her a bad mother, Karen said the aim of her post was to encourage moms to stop bringing each other down.
Karen told the UK’s Metro newspaper that she was inspired to write the post after becoming tired of hearing other mothers judging her parenting – and seeing her friends being judged just because they might do something differently to another parent.
She said: “There is no manual or rule book or right way of doing things when raising kids. We all do what we think is best and deserve a “good job!” rather than “you’re doing it wrong” or “you’re not a good mom because you’re doing it that way.”
“Motherhood is the most gut-wrenchingly hard job in the world and also a beautiful blessing. It challenges me in ways I never anticipated, yet I’m so grateful for my three kids. They are each so unique and they are growing into amazing people.”
New Zealand based mom of three Rosa Meekums says the judgement and criticism moms give themselves is enough without feeling derided by others.
As a mom to one-year-old twins and a three year old, Rosa says it took her a long time to give herself a break and realize she was a good mom. But after her older son was diagnosed with a heart defect and her twins were born premature, she realized what she had on her hands was a challenge and she knew she’d been through enough to rise to challenges.
She says “When my twins came along, I didn't go through any guilt or self-doubt at all. I knew straightway I was made of strong stuff and that the daunting challenge of premature twins alongside an under three with an ongoing health condition was just that, a challenge and challenges don't equal defeat. They just mean you're going to be tired and mentally and physically drained but that above all, you will survive. And your kids will flourish and thrive because you're doing your absolute best. There are days my kids still have crusted snot on their noses, are wearing odd socks, I look like a tramp and they are making an almighty chorus of screams, whinges and shouting and I feel like I am going to collapse on the floor in a heap of baby vomit while they trample on my corpse to get to the living room to watch Paw Patrol but I still pat myself and my partner on the back - when they're all in bed - and I congratulate us as a team that we not only survived another day but our kids are happy, smiling, well fed and cared for.
“I definitely don't care who else parents in what way now. I had to get past the idea of there being a right way to parent and to trust my own instincts and capability as a parent. The transition into an unknown job description without any training or policies and procedures was the biggest transition of my life. I thought I was confident before I became a mom but it floored me because I had to find my way and nothing was black and white and a lot of it didn't make sense. I had to go from being someone who had to understand how everything worked and being extremely analytical to someone who could wing it. And wing it I do, every single day!”
Allowing herself a guilt-free break was tough for mom—of-two Jessica Howard but she says she enjoys them now knowing that she’s still a good mom.
She says: “Sleep when the baby sleeps they say. Unless you have a toddler to constantly wake you up. And in that case you just give him a lukewarm cup of tea, the TV remote and a pack of biscuits. And that’s OK!”
At the end of the day, if you’re doing your best and your children are happy, you should realize you’re a good mom.
Aneesha Patel says: “Before having children I would look at moms whose children were dirty and wonder why they allowed them to walk around like that. But now I have them I realize it’s impossible to keep kids clean and if they’re covered in muck or have dirty hands it’s probably because they’ve been allowed to explore something and have probably had a fun time, and that’s one of the best things you can do for your kids. Moms really are too quick to bring each other down but we all have our battles and most of us are doing the best we can.”