Self Deprecation is For Mothers.
Every time I word vomit a post that goes viral overnight, I over analyze it. WHY did this go viral? Why did it connect to so many people? Why are so many moms writing me saying, "It's like you read my mind!" or "I'm balling my eyes out right now!" When I wrote "Did I Love You Enough Today?", I had literally just thought the words when I started typing. I posted this photo on instagram, but couldn't fit all I wanted to say in a little instagram caption so I poured the words over a blog post and hit publish before 30 minutes had passed. By midnight (about three hours after posting) it had 10,000 views. I was like, "Zach! I'm not the only one that questions myself at the end of the day! We all do it!" But why? Why are we so hard on ourselves, mamas??
Over the weekend, Anna was in the ER. Nothing serious, but we don't have a pediatrician yet and our insurance hadn't gone through yet so finding a doctor to see us was almost impossible. But baby girl couldn't breathe through her nose and when babies can't breathe through their nose, they can't eat and when babies can't eat ALL HELL IS IN THE HOUSE. On Friday night, I did not sleep. She literally screamed all night long. When the sun came up on Saturday and she was still screaming, we decided that an ER visit was in her best interest. (Not our bank account's interest, that's for dang sure.) So I spent the morning in the hospital with her getting her nose suctioned and her chest checked out. When I got home, I crashed hard on the bed and Anna and I slept the day away. The boys woke us up a few times and I snapped at Zach so hard and so often that he decided to take the boys to his mom's house so I could get some rest. When he came in the room to tell me he was leaving, my first thought was, "You're a terrible mom." And then the thoughts of how awful I am just kept coming until I cried myself back to sleep.
When I woke up a few hours later and remembered that little self deprecating sob fest I got angry. SCREW THAT. I'm an awesome mom. I stayed up all night bouncing and nursing and comforting a screaming child. I drove her to the hospital at the crack of dawn knowing that her condition wasn't that serious and that the hospital visit would cost us several hundred dollars just to walk in the door, but I did it anyway because I was at the end of my rope and felt so awful for her. I may not get things right 100% of the time every day, but I'm a good mom. My kids are loved and they know it.
But that's not enough for us, is it, moms? It's not enough to know that our kids know they are loved. It's not enough that they're well fed, well dressed, clean, and content. We want to be better and do better. That's not a bad thing. What's bad is that in order to be better and do better we tear ourselves down. It's so unnecessary. Our parents didn't do that. My mom tells me that she never felt the pressure to get down on the floor and play with us the way Zach and I play with the kids. She did get down on the floor occasionally, but when she didn't, there was no terrible mom mantra going off in her head.
I have a lot of thoughts on why we are the way we are as millennial parents, but I won't get into that in this post. But ladies, we have to STOP. We can't go through our entire motherhood berating ourselves about it. Do the best you can and when you fail, shake it off and try again the next day. Stop comparing your motherhood to someone else's. Stop letting inspiring blog posts about the beauty of motherhood make you feel like a jerk for not enjoying it.
When I start hearing the "You're a terrible mom" voices, I'm trying to make it a habit to stop what I'm doing and say, "That's a lie." Something about calling it what it is makes it hurt less. I've also been a lot more open with Zach about what I need from him to help me get through the day without feeling like a total failure. I told him I needed more encouragement. I know that sounds super needy and whiny and I've honestly never been that person that's like, "Tell me I'm doing a good job!!" I've always been super independent and self sufficient and one of those "I don't need no man!" types. But I'm not anymore and that's ok. I need someone who sees me at my worst and sees me at my best and can still say with confidence that I'm doing a good job. I need him to confirm what I know deep down but am too scared to admit. That I'm awesome. That I'm a good mom. That I was made to do this. That no one can raise these babies better than I can. It's easy for me to say that now, but when I have one of those days where I'm crying in the broom closet, I need someone to remind me.
So let's start changing things, eh? Call out the lies for what they are and shake off the self deprecation. You're a good mom! Don't believe anything less.