Are You a Bad Mommy?
by V.V. Denman | @vvdenman
“I’m sorry, but I’ve just gotta vent!”
When I see this online declaration, it’s usually followed by a description of a bad mommy sighting.
You know the mommies I’m talking about. They swarm Walmart, buying candy in response to a tantrum, spanking a tired toddler, ignoring a screaming preschooler.
These reports cause me to cringe because I understand the far-reaching damage, and a teensy part of me says, “I would never do that,” and I feel better about my own parenting skills.
Now the truth comes out.
Recently, a bad mommy sighting hit a little too close to home, and my pride rose like a dragon. I had done this particular crime. But not only had I done it, I didn’t necessarily regret it. Even though I don’t expect my friends to agree with every one of my parenting decisions, I was befuddled about how to handle the post.Should I comment and start an online debate? Ick. Should I send a private message? Ouch. Should I simply ignore it?
I chose the last option, of course.
Little did I know my brain would keep churning, and I would experience not only dragon pride, but also doubt in my parenting. According to the online discussion (and if it’s on fb, it must be fact), good Christian mothers would never ever do something like that because it would warp their children indefinitely.
I recalled other bad mommy venting sessions I, myself, had participated in. The same type of affirming comments had made me feel good about myself, my children, my parenting. It had never occurred to me that any of my 958 facebook friends might feel otherwise. (I know. Duh.)
Then, in a flash I remembered:
I bought the candy. I spanked the toddler. I let the little dribblers scream. (It was them or me.)
No, I did not commit these crimes every time I left the house. In fact, almost never. But once is enough to haunt this insecure mother with regret, shame, and angst.
Now that I’ve come clean and admitted I’ve walked in the bad mommy shoes, I have to wonder how many young mothers I’ve discouraged by participating in online venting sessions. How much insecurity have I thrown their way? I wish I could go back and re-comment.
If I could, I’d type this:
It’s the big picture that counts. Eighteen years of sacrifice make the difference, not a micro-event that a stranger might witness as a mother drags her urchins through the superstore in exhaustion.
But I can’t.
Greeeaaattt . . . now I have more guilt with which to torture myself.
Call it a New Year’s Resolution, but it’s time I change my tune. And my facebook habits. Instead of criticizing bad mommies (no matter how horrible they appear to be), I’ll do my best to encourage the mothers who stumble upon my posts.
After all, we’re all bad mommies sometimes.
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. Matthew 7:1, The Message
Photo Credits: FreeDigitalPhotos.net – David Castillo Dominici