I’m A Bad Mother

This morning is Saturday so I didn’t see a need to wake up early and kept resetting the trusty snooze button. I have been fairly mentally ill this week, and took a bunch of GABA last night to wind down my nervous system, thus to me every extra nine minutes of snooze time was an investment in my mental health. The first activity was a basketball game at 11 a.m. and starting from 5 a.m. my younger Jock son was in my room in full uniform and shoes telling me to get up. At 5 a.m.

I guess he was going to learn all those colorful words eventually.

Then, starting at 7 a.m he kept coming into my room and saying “Get up. Bad mother. You’re a bad mother.”

As I opened one eye to peer out at the little fucker I saw that he was smiling as he said it. He was trying to motivate me to get up, and probably doesn’t really think I’m a bad mother.

Except I know I am.

I know this because last night I let them fall asleep watching a movie and went to sleep myself, until the you get one came down at the end of the movie and I put him in his bed. Never even checked in his brother who had fallen asleep in my ex’a bed.

Also, this week both kids had their school concerts and class parties and end of school blah blah and I did the bare minimum. I’ve been doing the bare minimum for weeks- skimming the school newsletters and relying on the kids to remind me when they have basketball practice and school events. I don’t volunteer and I don’t bring food. I wait until my car is a Hazmat zone before washing it. I vaguely know homework has been done and did drive all over creation looking for chocolate Chanukah gelt for the Jock’s book report on holiday traditions, but that’s about it.

You can bet I put more thought these last two weeks into when I was next getting laid.

My older son (the Artist) leaves the house today with mismatched socks, dirty fingernails and hair that would not look out of place on an old man sleeping on Skid Row. I can’t find the nail clippers and he threw a fit about brushing his hair and I just couldn’t be bothered fighting with him. I feel like when the other parents watch him play in his basketball game (which is at 1) they will be mentally condemning his mother. He looks homeless. But he’s creative, and a kid, and fuck it, this isn’t the Von Trapp family before Maria comes to stay.

(Also the fridge and cupboard are empty and breakfast was Starbucks.)

It is almost impossible to describe the joy one feels to watch your kids have fun performing, playing and/or singing music onstage without sounding corny. Same goes for sports. The pride you feel exceeds any you ever had for even your own greatest achievement. If I could ever be that proud of myself, I probably wouldn’t need to take medication.

As a mother I know when I am hitting it out of the park, and when I’m just phoning it in. As long as I am honest with myself, it’s probably not a bad thing. It’s not like I love them any less, it’s just that I only have as much energy to use as is available to me. I have a co-parent who picks up the slack, as I do for him when he gets busy. The trick is the self-forgiveness. On any given day it’s such a challenge to be who I’m supposed to be, when it’s hard enough just to be who I am.

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2 comments

  1. Is there such a thing as a good parent? Do I really know if I did well until my son is 30-something and hasn’t copy-catted the BTK guy yet? He’s a really good young man, albeit with his fault, but I find myself often contemplating my self-perceived failures in raising him simply because I struggle to find where I was exemplary in my efforts. Funny thing though; know matter what I am thinking about my son or parenting, it always leads me to a thought that makes me smile. I’m okay with that. Know hat I mean?
    I am going to share your URL on my FB page. Your writing is definitely worthy of spreading around.
    And congrats on your book, full-length feature beginning shooting, and all your other successes of late.

    ~Christopher
    .

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