A third of the time, I feel like I did a good job with the choices I made in a day mothering my children. A third of the time I feel like a crappy mother who made crappy choices regarding my children. And a third of the time, I have no time to consider the quality of work I’ve done as a mother because I’m too busy hustling to keep up with all the necessaries like feeding and bathing my children.
Last week I was a little hormonal and Fiona got a fever. There’s nothing to test you and your compassion and stamina like a baby with a fever. She had it for two days and still wasn’t right for another couple. Fall out includes not eating, excessive clinginess, and a general feeling like the boat is sinking and you have nothing to bail with but a smile and a prayer.
When they cry, we leap to our feet knowing that surely our failure to do so will cost us an unknown price in the future.
And then a week later, she’s a happy-go-lucky independent eating toddler. Last week bad mother feeling. This week, Great Mother.
At least I don’t feel bad all the time? I’m in Good Mother mode and especially proud of myself when I’ve identified a problem and created a plan for the solution. Standing up in the crib? I know what to do. Daycare clingy-ness? You may be part of the problem. And taking time to take care of my stuff allows me to feel so much happier and I can be present with both children. Because the big guy gets the shaft sometimes.
The last third is just survival mode. Where ideally I’ve anticipated all that needs to be done, packed and planned for it, and am in auto mode to get us where we need to be on time. But sometimes it’s just putting out fires and trying not to yell. Survival Mom mode. Everyone stays alive and deadlines are made and opportunities to eat (OTEs) are not forgotten.
But sometimes at night, when I get to unplug, I have the blissful moments where I forget I’m anybody but me. Not Good or bad Mom. Just Shalagh. Poking at pictures on Instagram, wishing I had time enough to read and really escape. There’s a fourth part and she’s the gal who I was before I was Mommy and the person who has become better because I became Mommy.
Soon enough, I’ll be happy being too busy just being me. This will eventually happen after my kids no longer need me. At least I’m hoping I’ll be ready for the business of being busy when they’re ready to be independent. And part of me will be the better Mother for letting them fly away to their new homes. I’ll be proud of my accomplishments, forgive myself my moments of Mommy humanity, and be glad I recognized their and my needs in the process.