Tuesday March 26, 2019
There’s a great moment at the end of the Mila Kunis comedy Bad Moms when she’s speaking before the PTA and acknowledges the fact that she is a “bad mom.” The reality, she says, is that being a mom is a next-to-impossible job. As parents, we all make mistakes and do things that make us feel like failures. But instead of letting that guilt eat at us, we need to move past it.
This is easier said than done.
We are constantly bombarded with media images of the “perfect mom” who can cook the kids a nutritious breakfast, get them off to school with gourmet boxed lunches, and work a nine-to-five job. This perfect mother still has time to make dinner, get the kids to soccer practice, and help them with their homework before reading them a bedtime story at night.
What we must realize is that this is a fairy tale of what life as a mom is like. Some mornings, we are barely able to get everyone out the door with a frozen waffle and a PB&J sandwich for lunch. Instead of feeling guilty, we need to embrace that this is the reality, not just for us, but for thousands of moms. And this doesn’t make them “bad.”
Social media is another culprit that helps us to feel guilty about how we handle things. Most moms only post the positive things and leave off the negativity—focusing on their successes and not their failures.
Keep this in mind when you’re trying to live up to these “examples” shown on social media. It’s better to focus on what you’re doing well and not let the moments when you mess up to bury you in guilt. Instead, take any “failed” experience as a learning one and try to figure out how to change your own reactions to events.
If your child has a meltdown in the store and your response is to scream at her, acknowledge that it happened, but think about how you will learn from this and handle it differently next time.
Self-compassion is a trait that many women need to work on more often. We have to realize that we should forgive ourselves for our failures and not worry about living up to some artificial standard designed by the media. Making a mistake doesn’t make you a “bad mom” worthy of guilt. It makes you a real mom who just needs to gently learn from her mistakes.