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What kind of mother am I? I spent some time pondering this today. While folding 256 loads of laundry this afternoon I happened to be watching Anderson Live, which featured moms who claim that taking anxiety medications make them better mothers. And, like any good talk show, Anderson included both sides of the conversation. Translation: Moms who are RIGHT and Moms who are WRONG.

Have you ever noticed that in general, moms (because we are women and it seems to come naturally) tend to judge each other? Sometimes its passive aggressive, vague and sneaky judgement, like, “She is definitely a more “Laid Back” mom…(using those annoying finger quotes and raised eyebrows). Substituting euphemisms like “Laid Back” and “Relaxed Parenting Style” for words they really mean such as “Lazy” and “Neglectful”. And then sometimes it is just blatantly mean, like “She lets her brats do whatever they want, whenever they want, and they have no respect for anybody!”. Well hello, Judgey McJudgerton, please tell me where I can sign up for your clinic on Perfect Parenting 101. Now I don’t want to sound bitter, but this is usually the mom whose Facebook statuses paint a rosy picture of after school baking sessions with the kids and Pinterest boards full of wonderful kids craft ideas, but who hisses “Get your Ass in the Car, you Little Shits!!!” at her misbehaving kids when she thinks nobody is listening. And don’t even get me started on women who criticize other mothers, and they don’t even have any kids yet! Get real! You have no effin idea, lady!!! Keep it to yourself. Better yet, write down all your judgemental and condescending thoughts, and then once you have kids, bring that list out and marvel at what an idiot you were back before you had a clue. MMMKAY???? I have hollered at my kids! Lots! Because sometimes, getting down to eye level with a 5 year old and trying to calmly explain why their behavior is upsetting you is just plain ineffective. And for the record, so is hollering, most of the time, but I do it anyway, because it feels good. And sometimes, it makes them fear me. If I’m lucky.
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So anyway, back to Anderson. There was a mom on the panel who says that she has dealt with anxiety/depression disorders on and off for many years, and since she has had children, she finds that being on a steady prescription of anti-anxiety medication definitely helps her to be a better mother. She says that she does not abuse them, and they don’t make her “high”, they just help her to feel normal and to cope with the many demands that parenting and providing for a family presents in this day and age. She is open, and honest, and articulate. On the other side of the fence is a woman who “strongly disagrees” with this philosophy. When asked on what grounds she opposes mothers taking anti-anxiety meds, she only presents “What If” scenarios. “What if your kids are having a bad day, and based on your example, they think that the answer is just to pop a pill to make everything better? What if you get addicted to them? What if you take too many and you can’t drive your kids to school?” For the record, this looks like a very unhappy woman, but in the interest of not being judgemental I will assume she was just nervous. She did use the word “I” a lot. Long story short, what she was there to say, was “I don’t need meds to be a good mom.”

Well this may or may not be a shocker to some of you who know me, but I DO need meds to be a good mom! I also have struggled with anxiety and depression, and let me tell you, adding 3 kids to the mix who are 90% of the time on my watch and under my care, doesn’t exactly leave a lot of time to mentally decompress, de-stress, and relax.

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I love my kids!!! So much, I decided to stop the insane rollercoaster cycle of being on meds, and then trying to wean off, and then having to go back on them, over and over and over again. For someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, a normal day is never a normal day. Sunshine made me crabby. My kid spilling his milk would make ME cry. Most of the time, I wished I could just lay in bed and sometimes, hoped I would not wake up for a long, long time. This was not my kids’ fault, this was not my fault. This is a LEGITIMATE illness, people! And if I was not on medication, everyone around me was suffering, including my kids. I may not be a better mother than you are, but I am not a worse mom because I take a little medication. I am just a mom, and I suspect that I am just one of many with the same fears, troubles and insecurities about how I may be failing my children. Now all that being said, I did a little self discovery about what kind of mom I actually am. I know that I am on the “Laid Back” end of things, and I like it that way.But what does that mean? Here are some examples.

I love it when my kids want to try new foods, but this does not happen very often, and I am not the mom who is going to force my kid to eat something that makes him gag. Have you ever tried to force down food you hate? It sucks. Kids are people too. Pick your battles.
I love to bake with my kids, but I also really like it when they get bored after 10 minutes and let me do the rest in peace and quiet.
I can’t wait until bedtime each night, when I get to tuck the kids in and kiss their tiny little faces, and see them sleeping like little angels…..and then I get to park my ass on the couch and watch my shows…in peace and quiet.
I make my kids beds for them most of the time, because quite frankly, I think it looks nicer and bugs me when I walk by their room and their blankets are on crooked.
I pin a lot of cool kids activities on Pinterest, knowing full well that I will never get around to doing them with my kids but I still hold out hope that one day I will have time to be “That Mom.”
When I make homemade playdough for the kids, usually once a year, I feel like I should get a mother of the year award. Then I swear under my breath every day for the next 3 weeks every time I have to sweep up massive amounts of dried playdough crumbs off the floor.
Sometimes when my kids are whining and crying about something ridiculous and I am so frustrated I could scream, I just whine and cry right back at them until they look at me like I’m crazy and eventually stop and leave the room.
I take advantage of the fact that my kids aren’t old enough to read a clock yet and I lie to them about what time it is so they will go to bed early. This is very easy in the winter time, and I love it! I feel like an evil genius.
I occasionally let my kids eat cereal for supper. And by occasionally, I mean at least twice a week.
I think farts and butts and poop is just as funny as my 5 year old son thinks it is.
I have daily dance parties with the kids, and I like to turn the music up really loud and pretend I can’t hear them when they repeat, “Mommy Look at Me!!!!” 500 times.
I encourage my kids to dress themselves, and wear whatever they feel like wearing, as long as it is weather appropriate. My kids may not always match but they are definitely creative and proud of their self-image.
Sometimes I just really want to strangle my kids. I love them, and I would never actually do it, but when one of my kids is bawling at a ridiculous octave in my face, and I have 101 other things I need to be doing, I sometimes tune out the sound and daydream about wrapping my hands around them and squeezing really really hard. I totally understand how Shaken Baby Syndrome happens. Being a parent takes Restraint!!!
When it’s 4 a.m. and my baby is crying for the 8th time that night, and I am totally exhausted, sometimes I lay in bed with my pillow over my head thinking “Shut up, Shut up, pleaaase just shut up and go back to sleep”, hoping that when I remove the pillow, there will be silence.
I am a stay at home mom and my world, for the most part, pretty much revolves around caring for my kids and their environment. I love being able to do this, and I know that for myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also need to get out of the cage every once in a while too. I take short vacations, and love girl time and date nights and in general just time away from the kids. And I do miss them, but I don’t miss them every single second that I am gone. I was an individual before I had kids, and I still am, sometimes.

What does this all mean? I don’t know. I think it means I’m a normal mom. I’m not perfect. I make lots of mistakes. If there is a parenting manual on how to DO IT RIGHT out there somewhere, please send it my way. But for now, I’m just like you. I’m just guessing. Moms, like kids, are all so different. That’s the great part about raising kids to be individuals…we don’t all have to be the same. The world would be a pretty boring place. What works for you and yours may not work for me and mine but who cares?! Do your thing. As long as your kids are still alive and happy, you are passing the parenting test with flying colors. Moms, please stop judging each other. Be supportive, and practice acceptance! Mothers need encouragement, even the ones who seem the most confident. If you have a natural childbirth or a C-Section, if you breastfeed or bottle feed, if you choose to stay at home or go to work, just do your own thing! Who cares if your best friend feeds her baby nothing but organic fruit and you have been feeding yours Kraft Dinner? Does your baby smile at you when you pick her up? You’re doing your job. And if you feel like it’s time to up the dosage, by all means, bring on the happy! Because we all know, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. AMEN!

I may be a mediocre mom, but my kids seem to like me. And that’s Good enough, I guess.

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Comments
  1. Hilda says:

    Applause

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