Tell me I’m not the only out there who sometimes feels like a bad mom. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, and I make decisions based on what needs to be done in-the-moment. Sure, maybe that’s not the best thing long term, but often I just need to get some food into my kids, or get away from everyone before I have a total meltdown.
Over the years I have learned that the term “bad mom” really just means “mom who takes time for herself” or “making parenting decisions in the moment.” And honestly I see nothing wrong with that. In fact sometimes those bad mom decisions can have fabulous long term benefits!
Check out these ways being a Bad Mom makes me a good parent:
Some nights no one cooks and we order in, other nights we have quick and easy foods (sandwiches, popcorn, crackers and cheese) and once a week my husband will cook for the girls and I’ll eat when I get home. I think this is a perfectly fine way to run a household. It shows the girls how to be flexible, that cooking isn’t just a woman’s job, and that sometimes they have to make their own dinner – and peanut butter sandwiches are acceptable! I also hope they take away the idea that people won’t make them dinner (ie look after them) for their entire lives – there will come a time when they are responsible for feeding and looking after themselves.
I swear around my children.
Sorry, not sorry about this. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes I don’t think before I speak. But really, the girls are going to hear it on tv, at school, and everywhere else. I rarely swear at them (it’s happened) and I don’t swear a lot, but we’re human. It’s a teachable moment: “You know I used a bad word there – I was feeling frustrated and sometimes those words come out before we think about what we’re saying. It’s not a good word to use and I’m sorry I said it.” (or similar apology/statement to the kids.) They’re not scarred for life – if anything maybe they’ll understand why people swear, and how to react when they do.
I think it also takes the shock factor away when they hear people swearing. Perhaps it won’t seem like such a “bad” thing to do, and so they won’t become total potty mouths as teenagers or young adults. Hey, a mom can dream, can’t she?
I want my kids to spend time unsupervised.
My girls have been crossing the road and going to the park – without a parent – since they were about 3 and 5. Emma would look out for Rose (or so I imagined) and there were often other neighbours around who knew who our kids were. Sure I had moments of “I can’t quite see them from the house,” but now they go out further afield and find other kids and sometimes stay out for an hour or more. This is how I want them to spend their childhood – making friends, exploring the neighbourhood, catching bugs, and being responsible for themselves and each other.
I take time for myself.
My kids are catered to, for sure. But now that they can entertain themselves, spend time reading quietly, or go outside unsupervised, I make more time for myself. I take a weekly dance class, I make more time for blogging, and I just go sit outside and read a book (sometimes with wine.) Being able to disconnect from the family for an hour here and there is a total lifesaver for me.
The takeaway for my kids here is that it’s important to take time for yourself. Yes, I’m Mom, but I’m also Jessica, and I don’t want them to learn that being a mom means losing what makes you You. I like to go to rock concerts, spend quiet time, and get active on my own. I love my kids to death, but I can’t spend every minute doing just want they want to do. And they need to learn that they are not the center of anyone’s universe but their own.
I ship my kids off for a week (or two) every summer.
Yes, this is because it’s easier than dealing with them every minute of every day, ad nauseum. But it’s also great for them. They visit my parents for a week each summer. This saves us money (not paying for yet another camp week) and it also gives my girls a more relaxing week. At home we’re get-up-and-out-the-door every morning. When they’re away they get sleep ins and lazy days. They visit museums and other family we don’t see as often. And they get quality time with their grandparents.
Do you identify with the bad mom culture? Do you think looking after yourself, and sometimes putting your own priorities first, makes you a Bad Mom? I see it from both sides, but in my mind a “bad mom” is just a mom who’s trying to survive the chaos of parenting. She’s looking after her kids to the best of her ability, while not losing sight of herself, and her own needs. I think being a bad mom really can make you a good parent.
Bianca from WellWorthLiving has a great post on mom-shaming. It basically says parenting is as individual as the parents (and kids) are. Be sure to take a look: How to Deal with Mom Shaming
I also think there is a lot kids can take away from parents who operate from the bad mom style of parenting. Kids are not the center of those parents universe, and I think that’s great. I want my kids to know I have my own identity, and my husband has his. We’re not there just to cater to the kids and what they want at all times. We need our couple time, and our alone time. And my kids know that.
Do you agree that being a bad mom makes me a good parent? Let me know your views in the comments. (I love enlightened discussions – don’t be afraid to share an opposite opinion to my own!)
PS – I realized afterward that I didn’t mention screens anywhere in here. My kids watch tv, use phones and tablets, and sometimes get a bit too much screen time in. Isn’t that the norm these days? But what they don’t have is their own phones. We have one family tablet, my husband has one for work, and he and I both have laptops. There is a family computer in the basement but no one uses that unless we need something scanned.
The girls have to ask to use a computer, tablet or phone. The phones never live in their rooms, and we have cut back on tv time too. So I guess I can’t really mention “too much screen time” in my bad mom post. We do it sometimes, and we probably did it more when they were smaller and whinier. But right now screen time is somewhat under control. My own screen time could be cut back, and I don’t always lead by example in that regard, but I’m a work-in-progress too!