I have never wanted kids. I’m not a fan of kids. I wasn’t even a fan of kids when I was a kid. Kids make me anxious. They are honest, blunt, judgemental, and emotional. (And like…do they have to point out the giant zit on my nose to everyone? Do they think I’m a loser? OMG do they think I’m cool? Am I not cool??)
I never played Mom With Kids, as a child. I played many other games – Doctor’s Office Receptionist, Grocery Store Cashier, Librarian. Those were the games I played. I had lofty goals. (I didn’t know back then that to be a Librarian you had to go to school for a billionty years. No thank you.) Occasionally I played School. There I was the teacher to my seated stuffed toys, but really all I wanted to do was write on the chalkboard. Chalkboards are fun and I loved getting to use one. I never really asked my stuffed toy students to participate. I just wrote things on my makeshift board.
But others do want children. And they have them. Or they struggle to. And so many people have children who probably shouldn’t have had them. You read the news, you know what I am talking about.
But this post. This post is for the friends I have, whom I love and adore and admire, this is for them. And to each one of them I say:
You’re a good mom.
You are. Truly.
My mom friends have children of all ages. Some friends I met before they had children, some I befriended who had young children, or older ones. I myself have a mother. I watched her raise me and my sister. I have watched these women with their own children and at some point I have heard the phrase “I’m not a good mother” uttered from every one.
But it’s a lie. Don’t believe it. Ever.
I have watched you comfort your children when sad, hurt, or scared.
I have watched you discipline your children when they do something wrong, dangerous, or mean.
I have watched you encourage your children to always be themselves, teach them to be polite, and to be kind to others.
I have watched you cry, pace, rage for your children as they face challenges like exams, oral presentations, scary medical stuff, bullies, or even because they wanted to dress themselves that day and you were worried about them being picked on.
I have seen, firsthand, the love you have for your children. You want to protect them from all harm, and monsters under the bed. And you do everything you can to keep them in this bubble of safety.
And sometimes things go awry. Sometimes they fall and bones are broken. Sometimes they don’t listen and harm might befall them. Sometimes the world is just a terrifying place and there are so many things you cannot control. And I have seen you doubt your ability to be a good parent because you can’t protect your offspring from the world.
It will never be perfect. Nothing is. You have given your children a solid base for them to grow from. Eventually they make their own decisions because they are tiny humans who have suddenly become bigger humans. And those values, and lessons, and all the love you’ve poured into them for their entire lives… All of that will influence those decisions. You will always be a part of them. After all, you were also once the child of a mother. You had parents who raised you and you turned out okay enough to have your own children.
I have watched your children grow up. Some I have seen grow in person, and some only through photos and your own words to me about your child. And I don’t really care about children. I don’t like them much, so if I happen to be all mushy gushy over your child? That’s a legit reaction and interest. I won’t fake interest in children just to be polite. I just won’t talk about them. But I’ve met, and know, so many amazing kids – of all ages – whom I am so proud of. And I genuinely want to know how they are doing and what they are doing.
And I know you’re a good mom because otherwise I’d probably stop caring about your kids because they annoy me. Heh. But seriously, I know you’re a good mom because I have seen these tiny humans, that you insanely let grow INSIDE YOU LIKE AN ALIEN (gah!), turn into bigger humans who are full of love, and intelligence, and ideas, and dreams and imagination. And I kinda sort of love them.
You’re a good mom because you love your children and you want what’s best for them, and to keep them safe, and loved.
There will always be downs that go with the ups. You will always probably feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. But you love. And care. And protect. And every human has their own energy in the world and that’s important. You’re doing your best, and that doesn’t mean you’re doing everything perfectly. Because perfect is a myth.
I’m no expert on raising a child. I can hardly take care of myself most days. I can’t keep a plant alive in the house at all. I do pretty well with raising my dogs. But that’s nothing compared to a young human. Young humans are tough. (Seriously, do they think I’m cool? What if they don’t think I’m cool?! Am I a loser?? GAH!)
Siblings will fight. (Expert on that one.) Children will scream to high hell at their parents. They will eventually utter the words “I HATE YOU AND WISH I WAS NEVER BORN!” That’s all smoke. We did it, too. I think it’s like a rite of passage.
I have a mother. She has also wondered if she could have been a better mom. (SPOILER ALERT: the answer is no. She is a wonderful Mummy.) And I know mothers. That’s the extent of my knowledge on the motherhood front. But I don’t think you have to BE a mom. to know when you SEE a good mom. There is always doubt in everything you do. I think that’s part of human nature. But to you, my friends, I have watched you. I have heard you. I have known you for all different lengths of time, but I see you.
And you, my friend, are a good mom.
You are. I’m extremely proud to know you. And I probably don’t totally dislike your kids.