I wonder, what would be the definition of a "Great Mother"? How about a woman who has patience, is kind, and fun. Loving, easy-going, and gentle. There is laughter in her home, she sets boundaries, is fair, and uses kind words. She creates teaching moments, lives in the present, is calm and at peace. She makes her children feel special, encourages their talents, treats her spouse with love, and is a good example. She has a home that is kid-friendly, yet clean and organized, ensures that her children do well in school and other activities by being involved but not overbearing. She allows her children to serve others, allows them to make mistakes and learn from them. Does not gossip about others, and is kind to herself to show her children that they have great worth, etc etc... And so if THAT is a 100 on the scale of "Great Mothering", what would make a "zero"?? How about a mother who killed her child? A mother who abused her child daily? Yes, that sounds like a zero to me.
So, where do I fall? Is there is a scale of goodness when it comes to motherhood?...or anything else for that matter? Or is it that you have good days, and bad days?
If I were someone who smoked, but not every hour, would I be a "smoker"? What about if I just had one a day? What about one a month? When am I a person "who has smoked" verses "someone who occasionally smokes" verses "a smoker" verses "an addict"?? How often do you have to do something, to become it? For it to become a part of who you are?...a part of your identity? How often do I have to act crappy as a mom, in order to "be a crappy mom"? ... When am I just "having a crappy day" verses "acting crappy all the time"?
There is this notion that "If I do my best, that is good enough." But is it? What if abusing my kids was really the best I felt I could do? Is that "good enough"? Of course not.
So, Dalton left for school today with one glove. Who cares? Well, his other hand will be cold. Is that the end of the Earth? No. But did I make it seem like it was? Oh yeah. "If you do not find your other glove in the Lost and Found today at school, you will not go to Jack's birthday party today." What does he think, those things grow on trees? They are expensive. Those are his ski gloves, and I do not want to go to REI AGAIN and get him new ones. So, I better hit it home, how important that glove is! And then the sinking feeling, as he is walking out the door to school, that I really screwed up. I broke his spirit. I know that it is bad because Shelby says softly, after he's walked out the door, "Mom, can't he just find it tomorrow, please?" He is already running late, and the baby is sick. So I can't call him back in and apologize and drive him to school. So I let him go. Pretty sure that that was the worst walk to school ever. He is probably agonizing over that damned glove. Hoping, praying to God that it is in the Lost and Found, so that he isn't the ONLY boy that doesn't get to go to the party. So, I call the school. They patch me through to his class (the perk of being a regular volunteer there) and I tell him on the phone, "Dalton, it's mom." "Huhi." (he's thinking, "Why in the world is my mean mom calling me and EMBARRASSING me in front of my whole class?)"Dalton, I want you to know that I love you. I want you to know that I should not have made such a big deal about your gloves. It's OK if you don't find it. You can go to the party no matter what.""OK." "You are special. Now have a great day at school. Bye." (I don't want to drag it out, as I know that everyone's eyes are on him, in his class, and there is NOTHING he hates more.)"Bye." And then, when I should have felt a little better, I didn't. Even though that was my best for the morning...it wasn't good enough. Yeah, I had excuses. The baby was up all night with Shelby's cold, my home made wheat bread didn't turn out well, that I spent a lot of time on last night. The produce share that I picked up last night contained 2 kiwi and FIVE BAGS of carrots so now I have to figure out how I can use them all before they go bad. My house is a mess. Gavin had to go to San Fransisco this morning. I haven't showered for three..four (I've lost count) days. I've broken out, Shelby is out of school for the winter break and is watching more TV than she has watched in the past year. My Christmas cards are not done, or started....ya da ya da ya da. But none of this is an excuse. And then I wonder how many crappy mornings does it take, how many loose-my-cool-moments does it take before I officially AM a crappy mom? I wonder this, because I am feeling like a first-class crappy mom. Am I the guy who smokes a couple times a day, yet doesn't identify as a "smoker" even though everyone else identifies him as such? I want to be a good mom. I want to be a Great Mom. My kids deserve that. So, I need to practice being kind, more patient, fun-loving, happy. I need for that to be my knee-jerk reaction when life is a pain in the butt. So, instead of "lighting up" the next time life happens, I can chew a piece of Nicorette and just take a walk...knowing that it's baby steps...Baby steps to greatness.