Now, you might be thinking, "How do I know if I have Bad Mom Syndrome?" Actually, the symptoms are very easy to recognize. Have you ever burst into tears when you realized you forgot little Timmy's show-and-tell item for kindergarten? Have you ever felt extreme guilt for allowing your child to eat Lucky Charms for dinner? Ever felt like every other mother in the world was glaring at, and judging, you for the epic tantrum your child just threw in the McDonald's playplace? Ever stayed up well past midnight to make a homemade (and amazingly creative) snack for little Jenny's first grade Halloween party? If you answered "yes" to any of these, you know exactly what Bad Mom Syndrome is.
Bad Mom Syndrome is this prevailing idea that mothers should be able to do everything and do it well. No, not just well, perfectly - perfectly so that every other mother in the world will be in awe of how put-together you are. People will be in utter shock at how you're able to pull everything off - the successful career, the spotless house, the homemade baked goods, the happy and well-adjusted children - and still look happy and rested.
In only three short years, I've been afflicted with Bad Mom Syndrome more times that I can count. I think it took me two years to forgive myself for forgetting to send valentines to Gavin's daycare . . . when he was 10 months old. Yes, I beat myself up quite a bit over this one. Never mind the fact that all of the kids were under the age of 1, had no idea what the hell was going on, nor would they every remember it. But, I sure cried for a good two hours over this one. I mean, how could I forget to send valentines??? So I was working three jobs; that's not an excuse.
Gavin's most recent birthday cake. It only took me two hours to frost it. Next year's cake will somehow have to top this one.
Even right now, I feel a little guilty for indulging in writing this. There's laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, I have papers to grade, and wouldn't Gavin like homemade toaster pastries when he wakes up tomorrow morning? Shouldn't I be getting all of my chores and tasks out of the way while he's sleeping (or at least I think he's sleeping) so that tomorrow I can spend every spare moment doing fun and educational things with him that will help him to feel loved and stimulate his curiosity at the same time? And then, after he goes to bed, I should probably start working on ideas as to how I can become an incredibly successful career woman. I won't even tell you about the first time I had to send a (gasp!) Lunchable in his lunchbox.
The reality is that there's not enough time in the day, nor should women be expected to do all of the things we ask ourselves to do. The reality is also that we put this pressure on ourselves (I'm totally fine with blaming society a little, too. And men. I'm all for blaming men.). So, here's to another day where the laundry isn't done (okay, so it's been in the washer for two days . . . I should probably do something about that), there are toys everywhere, I didn't read Gavin a bedtime story, and I let him watch t.v. for two hours. Days like this happen, and acceptance that we are only human is the best way to combat Bad Mom Syndrome. We're all in this together, and we're all (well, most of us - definitely not the lady at the doctor's office the other day) are doing the best we can. Some days, it's impossible to get everything done that we want and need to, but it's all about balance.
I wonder if I have time to bake cookies before I go to bed ?