I love my daughter: but sometimes, the experience of being a Mom can be overwhelming. Does that make me a Bad Mom?
Delilah is my 7 years old; she is the purest little beam of light and purity. Her innocence and her empathy give me so much hope for her future. When the World shows it’s ugly, as it so often does, (2020: throw the whole year away) her presence proves to me that good still exists. Sometimes she says things that moves me to tears (like her recent declaration to go to school and be a writer just like her mommy ::ugly cries::) She leads with love, always keeping in mind how other beings feel. This includes, but is not limited to: adults, kids, animals, insects and plants. She’s creative, quick witted and expressive. I love Delilah. I would do anything for her.
I wanna fight her.
Yea, so what she’s 7. She has one more time to do that thing with her eyes while I’m talking to her…Whoops! Did my true feelings show? That’s right, I’m a Mom. We don’t experience negative feelings, apparently.
Moms are portrayed as these larger than life figures whom are even tempered, mild toned, and patient. They’re affectionate and adoring and hard as a rock: unshaken and unbroken. In my upbringing, being a Mom was this symbol of strength. Mom’s didn’t cry. Complain. They took things on and they pushed through. No matter the circumstances, they “did what they had to do”. I had this in mind going into motherhood. When my daughter was a baby, I started off calm, cool and collected. By age 2, those adjectives morphed to overwhelmed, impatient and frustrated. I found it difficult living up to this interpretation of Motherhood.
Whenever my friends would share their unconditional adoration of their children, I would walk away feeling like I was in an island all by myself. Was I the only Mom who experienced these emotions? I kept these feelings to myself out of fear or being judged or ridiculed. Why?
Because if you’re not a perfect Mom then you’re a Bad Mom.
Mom’s are always being ridiculed and challenged about their personas. God forbid as a Mom you’re anxious or over whelmed. You’re told that its just apart of the experience. Push through. Don’t cry, be a symbol of strength. As if the idea of showing emotion is somehow weakness. You’re not giving yourself the space to feel, which is a human right!
When we do this, think about the picture we’re painting for our children: The idea that we should uphold our resolve no matter how tough life gets. Masking emotion is not a sign of strength: it’s denial.
I started to feel guilty about reacting. Could you imagine? Having a human reaction towards my kid would send my thoughts spiraling: was I too mean? brash? did I hurt her feelings? I shouldn’t feel this way. My child shouldn’t annoy me. I should apologize.
Turns out: kids can be annoying. Go figure.
Why is that so hard to stomach?
Why are we encouraged to keep our feelings to ourselves? Why is it considered taboo to let our feelings show?
Why is it that we are not met with sympathy or support but instead disbelief and disingenuous advice like: “you’ll be ok”; No advice is more apathetic.
I think back on my upbringing and have a whole new sense of clarity. Memories that used to trigger feelings of anger and animosity are replaced with empathy and understanding. I know that raising a child is difficult and in moments where my Mom lashed out in anger and frustration she must’ve had a lot of regret and anguish. I want her, and all Mother’s to know, that it’s ok not to be ok.
You are allowed to feel.
Having negative feelings doesn’t make you “bad”: it makes you human.