I’m good enough, I’m smart enough

Do you ever have those days (weeks, months, whatever) when you just feel like whatever you’ve got going on just isn’t enough? That maybe you’re just not trying hard enough to do whatever it is you should be doing? That this is wrong, and that is wrong, and everything is just wrongwrongwrong?

It might be the PMS speaking here, but today I had a really bad day. In fact, it was just a totally miserable day from start till, well, right now (which is close to day’s end, I can only hope). My kids woke up fighting, the whining continued all the way to school drop-off along with my yelling and threatening to homeschool my daughter (oh my god, what was I even thinking?) and her crying and the preschooler yelling and it just felt like it never relented.

I try hard to make our mornings smooth and happy. How was I to know that today oatmeal sucks? Why did they both wake up so grumpy? Exactly how was I supposed to know (or do anything about) the fact that there’s cheese smooshed into the bottom of her backpack? Why is it always a fight when I tell him that no, he cannot have treats in the morning? Why can’t I even grab a shower before we head out?

I dropped Story off with tears running down her cheeks, and Mason sobbing in the car. I got home and he threw tantrums and toys, and I yelled and cried, too. I had work to do and he was miserable. By the time we picked Story up from school again, I thought things would be better, but by then Mason was overtired, Story was grumpier and when they came home I yelled again for some privacy while I worked. They broke my special measuring tape, they left clothes from one end of the house to the other. They forgot to feed their guinea pigs, they destroyed my piles of laundry. They had bums that needed wiping and snacks that needed preparing and and and. . .

I hated myself for my failures today. I hated that when I was stressed, I ate that birthday cake in the fridge. I hate that I yelled. I called myself a terrible mom, convinced myself I’m not worthy. I berated myself. Will they only remember the days when I lost it? Am I ruining them? I feel terrible. I’ve failed.

But, dammit. I’m a good mom. This was a bad day, but I’m a good mom. Talking to myself this way isn’t going to make tomorrow any better. Is this how I’d want my daughter or son to feel? Is one absolutely shitty day the definition of who we are? I hope not. Our days are usually so happy, so full of fun and laughter and all that good stuff. Not this.

I recently made the decision to stop hating on myself. To stop feeling like the shape of my body defines me, to stop comparing myself to others, to embrace myself wholly. I decided to focus on what I can do right, and how to always improve, and how to reflect to my kids the kind of person I’m proud to be. To forgive myself the mistakes I make when I truly do try my best. This smack-talk has to stop.

So right now I’m gonna pick my ego up off the floor, dust it off and go snuggle my kids as they sleep, and watch a movie. Tomorrow will be a better day because I’m a great person who is going to make it a better day. I will apologize and we will move on. If I was my best friend, I’d expect this much of myself, and I’d tell me so. If my daughter had this kind of day, I’d pick her up and tell her tomorrow will be better. If my Mom knew about my day, she’d tell me I’m a good mom who had a bad day.

Tonight I’m going to treat myself as well as I treat those I love and cut myself some slack.

talktoyourselfSweet dreams. xo

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18 thoughts on “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough

  1. Alex, I love this post, thanks for sharing. I think any mom can relate. We need to remind ourselves that everyonce in awhile sh*t happens and it’s normal. Here’s to a brighter tomorrow 🙂 Cheers!

  2. I need to tell myself this more often! Thanks for posting this I needed it. I just went back to work and I know I have called myself a bad mom for it a few times in the last couple of days!

  3. Alex, we chatted already on Twitter about this, but oh boy, can I ever relate. My daughter stomped off our front porch today and as I said “Have a good day”, she turned and glared at me and said “I’ll TRY, MOM.” As if I had already ruined her day completely because we ran out of ziploc bags and I didn’t have the bread she likes for her lunch and I gave her trouble for taking 5 mins to painstakingly distribute the sugar on her oatmeal when she was already running behind. Kids are tough, man. And we, as parents, bring our own baggage to the table, too. It’s not possible to always be the “fun Mom” who has creative problem solving skills and can intercept any problem before it blows up. Sometimes your kid just has to suck it up and get on the bus without her precious bag of Cheerios because if she doesn’t she’s not going to make it to school at all.

    I like your commitment to stop the hate self-talk and remembering to be kind and gentle with yourself. The fact that you felt badly about today and are already thinking of ways to do better tomorrow means that you are an awesome Mom. Your kids will remember the good days, I promise!

  4. We had similar days. I feel like my “bad day” has been a month long. Patience is minimal and tonight I even said “I am out of coping mechanisms.” I feel mean, and naggy and even though the snuggles and praise outnumber the tears and the yelling, I get the guilt.

    For what it’s worth, you are a great mom – but you already know that.

    1. I know that I try, at least. Thanks, S. I’m glad I’ve got a friend like you. We can feel like mean nags together.

  5. We had a really bad day here too and I totally felt like an awful mother by the time they were in bed. All I can do is hope that tomorrow is better. I hope tomorrow is better for you too.

  6. thanks for writing this. we all have them, bad days happen, right? and we learn from them. hope today is a much much better day!

  7. Okay, been there, done that. First of all, standing there smiling or acting like nothing is wrong while your kids yell at you or scream and throw things teaches them they can treat you like crap and generally behave like brats without consequence. Kids need to learn sometime that their attitudes and behaviour affect the people around them.

    Now, you’re kids are so young that they were just acting normally for their ages. Still, this is a learning opportunity for them! Good news…you can cuddle up with them and say, “Hey, I yelled at you because I was tired and frustrated because I didn’t get to do the things I wanted to do (they’ll understand THAT!) But that’s not a good reason to yell at the people we love. I’m sorry. I promise to try very hard not to do that.”

    You are a NORMAL mom. Mom’s yell. It’s one of the ways kids learn boundaries and how to gauge when their behaviour is unacceptable. Simple words just don’t cut it all the time as the “new parenting gurus” would like to have us believe. That’s not how humans develop.

    You’re doing fine.

    1. Means a lot to me to hear that, thanks Stephanie. I’ve really honed my apologizing skills since having kids, that’s for sure.

  8. Yesterday was not a great day here either. I will blame PMS. It is a factor for me. My hormones are getting more annoying as time goes on. They hardly bothered me as a teen. Really!

    I will also fault the very difficult task of being consistent in behaviour, my own & the expectations I have of the boys’ behaviour. It is so easy to let little things slide… then KABOOM.

    I’m also trying to have them negotiate their own spats, but I can only handle the shrieking for so long & then I turn to being yelly-mom. *sigh*

    I also told M specifically & both in general “I still love you even when I am angry with your behaviour.” I hope that helps avoid therapy in the future. 🙂

  9. Oh man, this is becoming a regular occurrence at my place, and what’s worse is that now that Gwen Jr. is seventeen, our bad days and blowups have become rather explosive.Our situation is somewhat worse than simple bad days and general misbehaviour – I’m seriously concerned about her, and suspect that she may be suffering from anxiety and/or depression. I’ve set up doctor’s and specialist appointments for next week, and counseling through my work’s EAP, and in the meantime, we’re subsisting. But I berate myself CONSTANTLY, and am practically convinced that I screwed her up somehow – by being too lenient? By my unconventional approaches to parenting? By being LESS lenient about some things than I should have been? By not having enough money to provide for her what the other kids have? By providing a broken home instead of a solid Mom-Dad parenting model? By choosing the path of least resistance when I should have stood my ground? Are these the reasons she struggles?

    Silly, of course – we can beat ourselves up until the cows come home, and it won’t do any good. Logically, I know I am doing the best I can (we all are), but emotionally, it’s always shoulda coulda woulda.

    I’ll find a way to sort us out – in the meantime, I’m signing myself up for counseling too, and a parenting support group.

    It also helps that the sun comes out every day, and that my daughter hugs me more often than she doesn’t. We’ll be okay. You will too. Shit’s hard, yo.

    1. Jennie, I have a friend whose teenage daughter went through some really scary stuff last year, and she has a ton of helpful connections. If you want me to connect you two, let me know. Man, this parenting gig is so hard. I should be thankful this is easy now compared to the worries of later years. I hope things smooth out around your place. I know firsthand that you’re a good mom.

  10. Oh, I have days like this all the time. But, I rarely remember to cut myself some slack. I’m glad the end of your day brought you to this realization and thank you for reminding me the same thing.

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