Are you a bad mom?
I've got an answer for you: No.
Let's just get that over with. How do I know? You're reading this, asking the question. If you were a bad mom, you wouldn't care.
Here's how to tell if you're a good mom (parent):
1. You are constantly evaluating your performance, never quite sure if you're doing enough to keep your kids out of therapy.
2. You provide your children with basic needs, boundaries and love.
3. You are not passed out on hard drugs with mafia ties.
What is good enough?
I guess it's using what you've got, to do what you can. The good news is there is no right or wrong way to parent. Kids are one science experiment after the next of trial and error, and we are all just hypothesizing the fastest ways to get them to go to bed.
We are trying and when I say "trying," I mean any percentage of effort. This parenting gig is a marathon and you don't want to get burnt out so you can't give 100 percent all the time. Don't feel bad. It's both physically and mentally impossible. So if you are trying, then that is enough. If you love your kids and are constantly reflecting on situations you could have handled better, you deserve a medal.
Kids need a roof over their heads, food to eat and someone to love them.
They don't need: more iPad time, a sleepover, an egg white omelet, candy for breakfast, cashews to feed the squirrels, a NEW hover board, the sweatshirt you're wearing or shoes that are "squishy" - I bet kids in third world countries don't have tactile issues.
I'm just personally reflecting over my last 24 hours.
Kids will manipulate you and situations any way they can to get what they want, so if your kids have guilt-ed you over any of these sorts of issues, be strong as you walk away rolling your eyes, knowing you're a good mom even though they are screaming at the top of their lungs that you're the worst.
What they need is for you to be confident in yourself and the job you've been called to do. They need to hear "no," and the more they get it now, the easier the "no" will be to accept when they are older.
Good parents provide the basic needs, the love and the "no."
Society likes to dictate extracurricular activities are imperative in order to produce well-rounded individuals and parents are expected to fall in line. You know what's imperative? My sanity!
If that's what you are into, then cool, but don't feel like you need to buy into that. If you are a good parent, and we've discussed what that means, then that is enough. No amount of music lessons, sports you're enrolled in or camps you've signed up for improve your status quo. Not everyone wants to do PTA, be on a fundraising committee or bring a dessert to, well, anything.
We can't all be Martha Stewart.
You are enough.
If those things give you joy, then by all means do your thing.
I like naps and I'm good enough.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.