The Bad Mother? Having empathy for other mothers

We’ve all done it before.

Maybe we shook our finger silently while watching a mom with her children.

We’d never do what she did.

Maybe it was something we overheard. Something we saw.

Sometimes indeed, a mother just truly blows chunks and should have her license revoked—like the one mom I saw smoking and drinking at the park…blowing her cancer-causing agents near my toddler and living it up with her solo cup. But for the most part, as much as I think a lot of people are plain stupid, I feel women do try hard to be good mothers.

There was this one mother who attended a class that I went to with my daughter. She always complained about her kids–she has 4. She would say how annoying they were.

She really grated on my nerves, especially when she discouraged another mom from taking her daughter somewhere because it would be “too much work” essentially.

It didn’t help matters that I had a rough pregnancy and could only wish to survive having 3 additional kids, (truthfully I am not mentally cut out for 4 anyway, but it still made me mad) and that her husband refused to sing songs or do anything that wasn’t “macho” with his 2 year-old because apparently, he was too good to do that and gasp–maybe his son would end up gay from singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Dipshit!

But as I have ventured into the world as a full-time worker, in addition to freelance work, my book, and comedy, I have found myself more empathetic for other moms.

Maybe that woman was just plain old tired. Maybe her husband never helped her.

Maybe her kids were really that annoying.

Maybe she just didn’t have anywhere to vent.

Today, I took my daughter to the park. She didn’t sleep much the night before, and she was tantruming all morning long. She was just so tired, but she refused to sleep. With me back in work, she’s gone from having one steady caregiver, to pulling 6am-7pm days between her house, school, and her grandparents’ homes. Her schedule has pulled a doozy on her, and it has affected her sleep at times. After trying to get her to sleep unsuccessfully, I brought her to the park.

As she drew with chalk, a little girl about a year younger than her approached her. I offered her some chalk, which simply allowed my daughter to unleash the Satan festering inside of her.

I think I saw Dante’s Inferno today.

She was defiant. Didn’t want to share. Almost hit the kid.

Simply put, she was a brat.

My kid is a great kid. I don’t just say that because she is my progeny, but because she is. She’s an angel at school, and has learned as an only child, how to share recently, thanks to school.

I apologized profusely to the mom. My daughter even hugged her and apologized, but I couldn’t help but feel like shit.

I couldn’t help but feel like a bad mom because Napoleon was throwing a shit-fit over having to share a piece of chalk. Why couldn’t I get my kid together? I knew she was tired, and I knew she had a reason to be upset at times with this child–she tried to draw on my kid’s drawing, and my daughter is very into art and her work already. Still though, I felt bad like here I was with my bratty kid…not being great representatives of our family.

I could almost feel the mom thinking, “Oh sure your kid is tired today. Oh sure, she’s great at school. Yup. I’m sure she’s nice…yeah right lady. I’m sure your work schedule really affects  her. Sure.”

You never know what kind of day a child has had. A mom.

You don’t know if she’s stressed. Alone. Ill-supported. Broke. Hungry. Tired.

Facing a divorce. Facing a job-loss.

Loss of a parent.

Health issue.

Foreclosure of her home.

You don’t really know what someone else’s life is like, until you are living it. And while some moms truly suck and should revoke their ovaries, many moms are doing their best.

For some moms, just getting the kids fed and clean is their best.

For others, a five-course meal is their best.

Try to approach another mom with the same-set of empathetic eyes you would like others to have when your kids are melting down, acting like terrors, or simply having a bad day.

Women really like to pick each other apart, simply because we are insecure people fighting for a smaller piece of the pie than men. We earn less, and often mean less, and therefore, we tend to scrutinize and fight for what we feel is ours.

It doesn’t help that we have created motherhood as some iconic status in which we are supposed to be the pinnacle of domesticity, femininity, as well as earn a solid paycheck. We ask ourselves to be everything, and therefore as we fight for this impossible status, we tear down others in the process.

Simply put, we need to be kinder to each other. It’s a lesson we try to teach our kids, and it’s one we need to go back to as adults.

Be kind to another mom today, and save your eye rolls for someone else.

You Can’t Have it All: Why Women Feel Like They’re Failing

Image

When I was growing up, I heard that women could have it all.

We could have careers, raise children, and make a good living, maybe even better than the men in our lives.

Damn, it sounded peachy. It sounded easy.

I always imagined myself working and as a success.

I never pictured myself as a timid wallflower, and so far that has been more than true, but for the first time in my life I am realizing that the old 70’s-80’s feminism lied to me.

I can’t have it all.

And while many of you probably feel like you’re a success and probably are, I happen to think that a bunch of you probably feel like you are failing to some degree or another, in managing that career and kids our generation said we’d have no problem managing.

I commute a long distance from my job. I’m working on changing that, but I end up clocking in a 64 hour work week.

I love my job, but I never see my kid.

I don’t mean that my time with her is cut down. I mean I don’t know what she will be eating for lunch most of the time.

I mean I am gone so much that I never eat a single meal with her all week, until Saturday.

I mean, I don’t drop her off at her grandparents or school. Or pick her up.

I mean, I get to put her to bed 3 weeknights a week, sometimes 4.

I make use of the time I have with her on the weekend, and the few nights a week I get to bathe her and put her to bed, but do I have it all?

Hell no.

This is not the image of a balanced life I was sold as a kid.

I feel like I am not a mother, but merely a walk-on who gets to play mother on the weekends.

And of course, when I have to leave early because my kid is sick or I take off to attend a school function, I shove in my work within a short time frame, and leave early, watching others working hard, feeling guilty that I am not clocking in the exact same hours that they are.

Do I have it all?

No.

I can’t have it all. I can’t always be at the office, and I can’t always be home.

I work hard and parent well, but inside I am feeling like a failure.

When I get to work, I am in the zone, enjoying what I do, but when I got a call the other day that my kid was sick and I couldn’t get her until hours later because I live far from my job, the bus schedules blow, and traffic was terrible, I got home feeling like crap.

I couldn’t stay the full day at work. I couldn’t be there for my kid.

How am I doing a good job at all, as a parent, I wonder?

Even if you’re just dropping off and picking up your kid, you’re clocking in parenting time. You’re part of the daily routine.

I went from being in charge of my kid’s day and mostly at home, to becoming a mom-spector. Do I exist? Do I matter anymore?

You’ll tell me I do, but I don’t believe I do.

Am I saying you shouldn’t have a career? Absolutely not.

Go out and get one. Do it! I love what I do…

But find a life balance.

Make sure you’re with someone who sees things as you do, and then both of your prepare a plan for when you have kids how duties will be shared, especially finances. If you can, save ahead of time so you can go down to part-time work, or telecommute if you are able. If you want to work full-time, that’s great, but be sure that your situation will enable you to stay in the picture. Trust me.

My kid is 2.5. Her moments mean more than a paycheck.

We can’t have it all. We cannot be perfect. We will have to leave early. We will have to miss out on moments with our kids that will hurt. We will feel hopeless at times, and even feel as if we are doing nothing right.

But most importantly, at least we know the truth: we cannot have it all, but we can have what we need, and that’s what matters. Figuring out what you need will make you a happy working mom.