There’s a Reason This Mom’s Brain is a Hot Mess

There’s no doubt I love my children.

But at times, when I’m completely honest with myself, I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I decided to become a mom.

It’s not because I regret having children. Not for a minute.

And it’s not because I think my life would be more interesting or exciting if motherhood didn’t require I put their needs above mine.  Being a parent puts a whole new spin on interesting or exciting.

And it’s certainly not out of guilt that as a girl, teenager and even as a young woman, being a mom wasn’t on my list of life goals. Having children helped me recognize what’s really important in life.

It’s because there are times when I think my kids could have done better with another mother – a  mom who isn’t as emotional or head strong  or outspoken as the one they got. A mom who never  purposefully ignores parenting magazines, workshops or other sources of standard parenting advice. A mom who always enjoys her children’s activities instead of attending out of a sense of obligation.

And just when I’ve convinced myself that my kids would be better off  with any mom but me,  I come face to face with parents who don’t understand what an  incredible gift – and responsibility –being a parent is. I witness moms behaving as though they are still adolescents with all the same drama and self-absorption. I have to listen to parents who always blame someone else when their child behaves poorly, gets a bad grade or is fighting with other children.  Worst of all, I  know of parents who put their children’s welfare and safety in jeopardy.

I may be imperfect, but those situations make me feel better about my own parenting skills. At least for a little while… until my kids do or say something embarrassing or completely inappropriate. Then I’m back to thinking that if they had a different mother, their behavior would be stellar.

Such thoughts bounce around in my brain on a daily basis… sometimes at such incredible speed that I fear an impending brain explosion.

The requirements of my profession haven’t helped.

Because I have a social work license, I’m required to take continuing education. Usually, I seek work-related education. Because I recently changed jobs, I’ve been seeking education that is more closely aligned with parenting issues, which I usually avoid.

I’m not sure the plan has worked for me.

In a workshop on bullying, the presenter disparaged parents who tell their daughters that, when a boy teases her, he actually likes her.  According to the presenter, that’s putting her on the path to domestic violence. Having said those exact words to my daughter,  I was convinced that, at worst, I was creating a victim.  At a minimum, I was teaching her that abusive behavior is a sign of affection.

I was back to being a horrible mom.

But then, a couple of weeks later I attended a workshop on child abuse. The workshop emphasized the need for children to feel comfortable questioning and saying no to adults. Now that is something my children have NO problem doing. Could it actually be good that my children are following in their mother’s footsteps by requiring more than just a command as a reason to follow orders?

My internal confusion isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does highlight the reason I’ve avoided reading all those articles about parenting. Once  my children started developing their unique personalities, I had to treat them uniquely. And no expert could tell me how to do that.

So while no parenting magazine will ever put me on its cover, that’s not important to me.

What is important is that someday in the distance future, when I’m not the complete embarrassment or the clueless person that my children currently think I am, I will be featured in their life scrapbook .

I don’t even expect to make the cover, but I do want to be featured.

I’m pretty sure I can fill that role quite well… a long as my brain doesn’t explode in the meantime.

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About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a daughter in high school, a son starting his latest adventures at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on May 22, 2012, in Family, My life, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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