Momfession #36: Bad mommy

bad momI was talking to a fellow mommy the other day and she momfessed that she had been less-than-perfect when it came to her kids’ preventative dental care, and apart from feeling guilty, she was also feeling embarrassed about being a “bad” mommy. It got me thinking about all of the things that I haven’t done, or have done particularly poorly, that I am embarrassed to admit to other parents. So, in the Momfessional spirit and to salute all of the imperfect mom’s out there, I thought I’d let you in on a few…

Teeth cleaning. My seven-year-old only brushes his teeth once a day (at night). While I know full well that he should be brushing in the mornings too, I just can’t get myself organized enough at 7am to monitor his dental care. And to be honest, I try to make the start of the day as non-confrontational as possible, so fighting about tooth-brushing is pretty low on my morning wish list. As for my toddler, I sporadically brush her teeth at night, but I know I don’t do a great job (especially since while I am doing it she is screaming at the top of her lungs and most times I have to pin her down to do it). However, I tell my dentist we are model tooth-brushers and flossers, because really, who wants to be lectured about something you already know you’re doing poorly?

Potty training. My toddler is not even close to being potty trained, and I couldn’t care less. In fact, I prefer her wearing diapers to having to worry every time we go out that she is going to have an accident. We have decided to put her into preschool this September and I am fully expecting them to take the reins on the potty training. I mean, that’s what I pay them for, right? Let her pee on their floors.

Ice skating. My son is seven-years-old and he can’t ice skate. We have taken him a total of three times which lasted all of 10 minutes each before he just decided to sit in a snow bank and eat snow. By the time I was seven, I had been ice skating for more than half of my life. And I had an ice rink in my backyard. We are terrible, terrible Canadian parents (although the no-backyard-ice-rink thing I am blaming entirely on global warming).

Shoelaces. It might be a good thing that my son doesn’t ice skate because he also cannot tie his shoes. I am not going to take all of the blame on this one, though. Every September, I get the note from school that requires me to send indoor shoes with no laces. When is my kid going to learn how to tie his shoes if he is always wearing Velcro? Yes, I am fully aware that I could teach him on my own, and I have attempted it a few times, but the whining and fit-throwing got the best of me. They make Velcro shoes for grown-ups though, right?

Believe me, there are many, many more. But I want to hear from you. What are some parenting tasks that you don’t do (even though you’re “supposed” to)? Don’t feel guilty or embarrassed any longer…we all have these little secrets! Let it out!

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Momfession #35: Appreciation

I try not to be a judge-y parent, I really do. That’s why I write this blog, after all: to remind other parents that it is OK to not be perfect, and that we are all really just doing the best that we can. But the other day, I just couldn’t help myself.

A few days ago my husband and I attended a parenting workshop called “Managing Challenging Behaviours”. It was the only one available out of a handful of workshops that I really wanted to attend, including, “The Explosive Child”, “Taming Tempers”, and “Managing Conflict” (unfortunately, the “How a Glass a Day of Wine Will Make You a Better Mom” class was full…but I am taking it as a distance ed course as we speak). We definitely deal with some challenging behaviours at home, and I hoped that we could not only learn some strategies, but commiserate with fellow weary, helpless parents at the same time.

And, for the most part, it was a decent experience. There were a lot of parents in there who needed help just like us, and we got some useful information. But, in a room full of parents who were going through divorces, struggling to parent children with eating disorders, and singlehandedly parenting several young children alone, the couple sitting next to us stood out. While Mike and I talked about the challenges of parenting a child who is explosive and violent at times, they interjected that they had a hard time because their child complained while practicing piano for a full hour a day. While the man behind us talked about not having a relationship with his depressed teenage son, they brought up an incident where their son wanted more Pokémon cards even though they just bought him some. And after a single father of two small kids talked about his struggles with discipline, the wife said the following: I know…I mean, sometimes it just seems like my son doesn’t appreciate what I do for him.

That statement made my blood boil. Here we were, really struggling with how to deal with some significant behaviour issues and this couple was upset because their eight-year-old doesn’t APPRECIATE them?! Are you kidding me?

No kid appreciates their parents. And if you’re doing this parenting thing for appreciation, you’re in the wrong business. It is by far the most difficult, stressful, frustrating, and unappreciated job on this planet. I have no interest in being appreciated by my kids. In fact, it isn’t their job to appreciate me. Their job is to be kids…to play, and learn, and love, and make mistakes. And to know that my husband and I will always be there to catch them when they fall, hug them when they are sad, and support them every step of the way. Period.

We may not be the perfect parents. Actually, I am certain we aren’t. But I know that we are doing the best that we can. Our kids might not notice right now, or even when they grow up (I am convinced that all kids end up on a psychologist’s couch blaming their parents for some wrongdoing eventually), but I honestly don’t care. I get so much joy out of watching them grow into these interesting, loving, wonderful beings that any amount of appreciation from them is meaningless. In fact, their mere existence is really all the “atta girl” that I need.