Am I a bad Mom? It's the question that I awoke with on my lips this morning. Still wiping the sleep out of my eyes while our daughter began to babble on the monitor I asked it to myself again, "Am I a bad Mom?" I know a lot of Mom's who ask this question a lot lately. The Mom's I know are always striving to be better, to do more for their kids, and push themselves to the limit.
I asked myself this question before, late at night when I held our daughter in my arms on the chilly coast of California. We had just left the soaking dampness of the Pacific Northwest and were seeing our first rays of sun on this beautiful beachside campsite. But at night, as she had for months, our daughter would wake up time after time. As I would comfort her and then try to put her back into her sleeping tent she would lash out, starfish style and refuse to go back in. I would repeat this dance. Over. And Over. And Over. I was beyond done. I was haggard. In those moments I believed I was a bad Mom.
A bad Mom because I just couldn't take it. I wanted out in those moments. I wanted to be as far away and as unattached as possible. Fatigue and Exhaustion are powerful liars. They whisper that you're not enough. That you can't do this anymore. That you need to choose the easy route.
And maybe that's where this question comes to me in the root of it all. I don't like taking the easy route. I want our daughter to know that I lived. That WE lived. That we didn't settle for easy answers and easy paths. That we strove always to be better. That we had dreams and goals and fought damn hard for them. That we changed but didn't lose our definition.
This morning I got up. Wiped the tears out of my eyes. Wiped the self doubt and self loathing out of them too. I looked at myself naked in the mirror and said, "You are a good Mom. You are a great Mom. You are an amazing Mom." I started the coffee. Let our cats out of the mudroom to go roam the wilds. Started some grits going because it's The South ya'll. Climbed the stairs and opened our daughters bedroom door. Before I could even say anything she's grinning and yelling, "Mama!" I get her into my arms. Smell the scent of her. And she gives me a kiss and says, "I YOU!"
"I love you too baby."