There’s No Mom of the Year Here

I posted yesterday about Summertime Depression.  I didn’t particularly want to post it, but I feel like as a mom (or dad) these days we are always supposed to be “on.”

We are supposed to enroll our children in activities and then make sure we get them there.  We are supposed to make them study and play sports and play an instrument.  They should know which fork to use and how to give a speech or at least do a backflip.

Frankly, I’m pretty impressed with myself when my kids have clean clothes and I remember that they need haircuts.

Does that mean I’m a bad mom?  I don’t think so, but I’m no expert.  Right now I’m in a fog of depression and I can’t decide if my cat is really this big of an asshole or, if I was in better spirits would I not mind that my back is clawed up the way it hasn’t been since that one ever.

I think that my kids know that I love them, even on my worst days.  I know my kids have food to eat and clothes to wear and more gadgets and gizmos than I have myself.

Do we go to “activities” four times a week?  No.  Do I feel guilty about that?  Sometimes.  Sometimes I just think they have extra time to be kids.

I can’t, mentally or physically, be the PTA Super Mom.  I don’t like to play with Legos or Barbies.  I’m a terrible cook. (Also, I suck at juicing.)  But I will bake a cake on my kid’s birthday, and if I don’t have decorations I can make them, and if someone is sick or sad then I can stay up cleaning puke and rubbing backs for days.

I don’t know if I’m trying to justify my lackadaisical parenting to myself or to you or if I’m really trying to justify it at all.

I think I’m trying to explain that I posted my Mommy Depression post yesterday because I am SURE, positively, absolutely sure that there are other moms out there who feel the same way.  And I don’t know why it is so frowned upon to admit it.

Today I am not the best mom I can be.  I am better than I was yesterday.  Tomorrow I hope to be better than I am today.  But I’m not ashamed of the fact that I’m not “on” every minute of every day.  Being a mom (or dad) doesn’t magically imbue you with super powers.  I don’t have endless patience and sometimes I’m cranky.

Being a mom doesn’t take away the problems, mental or physical, that you had before, and sometimes it even awakens ones you didn’t know you had.

I think being a good mom (or dad) means just trying, every day.  Trying to love yourself and make sure your kids know that you love them.  I know that my kids know that they are my world, even on days when I’m sick or sad.  I know that my kids know that I will be there for them no matter what and they can talk to me.

I hope that I’m showing them by example how to be a decent person, even if I do struggle with depression and physical limitations.  I hope that I am showing them how to laugh and enjoy life, whether it is through or around the pain.

I’m trying.  Every day.

About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

47 responses to “There’s No Mom of the Year Here

  • REDdog

    I hear you Steph. I feel like that as a Dad, too. Not all the time, but sometimes…especially when the Black Dog is sniffing around and I feel so distant and removed from them. Whenever I hear someone ask themselves these questions evaluating their parenting and that, I ask myself whether or not I’d like to be one of their kids, based on whatever little information I’ve got. If I do that right now, having just read your post, I’d have to say my answer would be a resounding “Yep-a-roonie!”…bet your kids would say that too. Have an awesome day. Respect REDdog


  • Kevil

    I feel the same way all the time! I feel like I wasted all my cool mom points on my kids when they were little (except they don’t remember any of it). Now I’m just crabby and tired.


  • qwertygirl

    Your best is the best you can do. That’s what I tell my kids, and that’s what I believe. Some days your best is better than others, but that’s just life.


  • Melissa

    Thank you for posting this! You’re honesty is so refreshing from all of the other “blah blah perfect mom, perfect kids, perfect life” bs. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the dark days of life. Hang in there and one day, maybe, we won’t doubt ourselves so damn much 🙂


  • kittery

    As far as trying goes…if you want the best for them, feed them, clothe them, *love* them…that’s fine. If you laugh *with* them, *listen* to them, are a safe place for them emotionally…that’s even better. If you don’t use them as stress relief by hitting them, yelling at them, denigrating them, or dismissing their emotional needs…I think you’re doing GREAT.

    So many parents have health issues. This is a health issue. One you shouldn’t punish yourself for. Play dates so don’t matter. Crafts and activities and Pinterest-worthy events don’t either. The other stuff does.

    Hopefully this doesn’t come off as a bitchy lecture on parenting, or like I’m trying to blow smoke up your arse. It’s not supposed to be either…just reassurance? encouragement? rather personal support from a virtual stranger? I dunno. But I hope it helps a little.

    Also, I’ve thought about you a lot today, and every time, it’s accompanied by Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness. Seriously, you have a soundtrack now. 😉


  • Liz

    Can I say, I think you’re doing fine, w/o sounding condescending? Hopefully I just did. Wish I had words of wisdom but I just have sympathy and platitudes. Hang in there.


  • Jess Lewis of mass destruction

    I think your kids sound like accomplished, clever, and amusing little creatures, and you made those. I think even the parents that take their kids somewhere everyday of the week are insecure that they are “doing it wrong”. If your kids are fed, clothed, interacted with and loved despite all you feel is wrong, then i think you are roses, kid.


    • Steph

      They certainly are amusing and clever little creatures! Lol. I need to be taking more credit for that shit! Thanks Jess. Hope things are better your way.


  • Belladonna Took

    When did moms buy into the idea that they have some holy obligation to provide 24/7 entertainment, for crying out loud? MY mom sure didn’t – and my siblings and I did just fine with our books (paper ones), games (this was back before electronics were invented; we had to make do with sad stuff like Monopoly and Risk and – yikes – our imaginations!) Some of the best memories I have are of hours and hours and HOURS spent with my kid brother, in a heap of mud in the backyard, with a bazillion tiny plastic animals and his cars, building “farms” and “game reserves” out of random junk.

    Seriously, I think your kids are beyond blessed not to be organized to death, and to have to develop their own inner resources.


    • Steph

      Oh, I remember those days! Exploring in the woods from dawn til dusk, digging holes, reading books…my childhood was the best. I think nowadays we (I know I’m guilty) don’t let our kids do some of those things, so they are “bored.” Thanks for your support!


      • Belladonna Took

        I can understand not letting kids roam around free any more. There are creeps out there … I wouldn’t let my daughter own a bicycle because I couldn’t have her riding around in a perfectly nice suburban neighborhood, due to a very real risk that someone might pull her off it. (And I wasn’t worried about them stealing the bike, either.)

        But honestly, I think the real tragedy is that parents have been suckered by claims that electronic toys are “educational”. Who doesn’t want their kids to be educated, right? And you have to be some kind of wild-haired extremist to complain that all these things educate kids to do is to push buttons – like rats in a maze. Push the button, get the affirmation.

        And our kids are hardwired to want to be like their peers anyway, and that hardwiring is reinforced by very strong, very persuasive, very directed advertising. What parent wants their kid to be the only one in their group without the latest essential accessory? Not cool. Also not cool to play in mud with your kid brother (assuming you can separate him from his X-box).

        Ugh, stop me … I shouldn’t be ranting here – I should save this for my own blog post! Anyway, just hang in there. Kids are smart, and resilient. Your kids know you aren’t perfect, but it’s okay.


  • cuteypie5

    I’m not a parent. All I know is this. When your kids are older and they don’t understand why you felt this/that way, your post will explain it all. By you admitting your “imperfection”, for lack of a better word, you allow them more space to grow. You have a solid validation that imperfection makes a perfect parent. No child wants to grow up thinking life is ran on a treadmill of rules that say we are to be this/that way. You constantly say your kids are your world and how much you love them. When they read/hear this, they will be at ease. Love came first and sanity rang up dead last. Good for you.


  • merbear74

    I was sitting here crying last night, and my daughter came over and gave me a hug. She does love me, even though I have never been a perfect mom. I know your kids must love you, too. We are doing our best, just can’t be super mom. I hate flying, anyways. (hugs)


    • Steph

      Of course she does! And mine love me. They might wish sometimes that I could play catch 24/7, but they still love me knowing that I can’t. I hate flying too, lol! (hugs) Hang in there, Merry! And I will too!


  • J Rose

    I had a super PTA mom (she was the president of PTA, in fact) and I hated every minute of it. I would have happily accepted someone who cleaned up my puke and rubbed my back instead of only being on for other people.


  • Jana

    First of all, you don’t owe anyone an explanation or apology. Second, you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what you can do and not being able to do what you can’t. Third, from the posts I’ve read and what I know about you, your children are happy, healthy, and loved. When I grew up, my parents didn’t take me to all sorts of activities or spend every minute with me. All of us kids would leave the house and play outside, making our own fun by ourselves and with each other. While some of my issues are based on my relationship with my parents — it certainly isn’t from making my own entertainment from time to time.

    I’m sure this example has been used to death, but you know how on an airplane you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others? Don’t beat yourself up for taking care of yourself sometimes so that you can be there for them in the future.


  • gluestickmum

    Do you know, I can’t be doing with perfect parenting. Good enough is good enough for me. There’s definitely competitive parenting going on out there – that’s their choice, but my God, it seems so intensive and exhausting. It doesn’t mean they’re not one day going to scream ‘I hate you!’ or make dodgy choices.
    Love your kids, respect them, teach them right from wrong, get them to develop a sense of humour and furnish them with basic skills. Accept that they’re their own people. Beyond that it’s all just a matter of taste.
    Hiding from them occasionally won’t destroy their egos. Cutting yourself some slack is no bad thing.
    But I reckon you know all this already cos your kids sound amazing – clever and funny and loving. I’d say you’re doing it all right from where I’m standing. Cx


  • heylookawriterfellow

    This “I must sign my kids up for a bajillion things and perform each awful task with a smile and a can-do attitude” is a fairly recent phenomenon — and unrealistic one, at that. My parents didn’t do such things. They weren’t “on” all the time. They got mad and fed up and exhausted like all parents did (and do). But I thought (and still think) they were great parents.

    In short, don’t beat yourself up.


  • Mental Mama

    I opted not to have kids for some of the reasons you list. Some days I have more than enough on my plate wiping my own ass, let alone someone else’s. So no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with parents who admit that they’re not perfect, because there is no such thing. You do the best you can, pray that no one loses an eye, and try again tomorrow.


  • Michelle

    Pretty sure even those moms of the year aren’t always moms of the year.

    You rock. You do. We don’t have to be perfect…and kids don’t’ need activities planned every damn day.


    • Steph

      You’re right; I’m sure every mom has those days. My kids are currently sleeping at 3 in the afternoon after staying up all night. I’m pretty sure that as long as I don’t wake them up, they will still love me.


  • AmberLynn Pappas

    Remember the days when the whole point of having kids was so that they could help you maintain your living on a farm or in your store or whatever the family business was? Now it is a full time job to raise the kids and make sure they turn out well rounded….forget what happens to you and your life. It used to be that if they all reached age five without dieing and didn’t lose any limbs in a horrific coal mining, blacksmith, farming, etc accident then you were parent of the year.

    Take the time to take care of yourself….your kids will still be there when you’re ready to turn them into super-geniuses and well rounded socialites.


    • Steph

      Oh, I hadn’t even thought about that! I should put these hooligans to work growing us some food or something, then they’ll be too busy to worry about Family Game Night eight times a week.


  • Me

    I totally hear you on this and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to read that someone else feels like this. While my baby is now 22yo, I went through the exact same things that you are going through and felt very similar.
    Us less than super Moms need to stick together – go you!!!!
    Have the best day !
    Me xox


  • maurnas

    I can already tell that you are a better parent than my parents. And I turned out pretty okay and functional.


  • sage



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