If you’ll please excuse me, I feel a soapbox moment coming on:
In response to this post, my sister-in-law wrote,
Bad mommy moments would be putting your 10 month old in his crib when he is really cranky, even though it’s not naptime, under the assumption that if he’s going to be miserable anyway, he may as well be miserable alone and not spoil your day. Actually, I don’t even think that’s a bad mommy moment–that’s just good sense.
Exactly! This really struck me because I was thinking about Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman (review here). She writes about an American mother who repeatedly says, “I’m a bad mother,” like a “verbal tic.” Haven’t we all said the same thing? Or heard a mother we know say the same thing? It’s usually meant sarcastically or as hyperbole, but sheesh, what a downer!
Putting your 10 month old in a crib while he fusses–his nice, safe, soft, warm crib? That is not a “bad mother” moment. Putting your baby out in the cold, leaving him alone in the house, shaking him violently, doing other terrible things that some parents actually do that I won’t name here but that you can read about in the newspaper almost every day? That would be a bad mother moment.
I attended a day-long seminar to be certified as a Guardian Ad Litem for children, and it included an hour-long presentation on child abuse, complete with a sickening slideshow displaying horrific injuries inflicted by parents on their children. I didn’t practice as a Guardian Ad Litem/family lawyer for long, but in the short time I did I came across quite a few actual bad mothers. Possibly these mothers were so sick in the head that they weren’t really responsible for what they did, but that’s another matter. Objectively, they were bad at mothering.
So yes, there are bad mothers.
And there is one–only one!–perfect mother.
The rest of us are somewhere in between, doing the best we can, and that sometimes include sticking our kid in a crib for a while to give ourselves a sanity break.
So please, repeat after me:
“I am a good mother. I am a good mother. I am a good mother.”
I’ll get off my soapbox now.