If you're new here, you may be wondering why I choose to call myself a Bad Mommy - and brag about it. Here's the story.
When Miles was 4 months old, a work associate I call "Gertrude" became the first person to call me a Bad Mommy. And she wasn't joking. You can read the entire story here, but suffice it to say that she deemed me a bad mother over my child's lack of socks - when we were indoors, and he was plenty warm.
At first, her comments angered me, more than I could ever explain. After awhile, though, I realized that many mothers probably feel exactly the same way. When our parenting is challenged, even when it's not as directly as Gertrude's comments, we become Momma Bear, fighting to protect our young, and ourselves. Every Mommy I know has a story like mine. And every one of them responded the same way - with anger.
Because every good mother feels like a Bad Mommy from time to time. When you let Junior watch TV for five minutes so you can snarf down your first meal of the day at 5:00 pm, a little voice in the back of your head calls out, "Bad Mommy!" When your little darling is screaming for the eighth hour in a row, even though you've tried everything to comfort her, every new scream seems to reverberate with, "Bad Mommy!" When you lose your temper with the children who have literally destroyed your freshly cleaned house (five minutes before your mother-in-law arrives), a piece of you hears, "Bad Mommy!" even through your deep breaths and counting to ten. Motherhood is so daunting, so all-consuming, so inherently overwhelming for even the best mothers, that all of us have heard that voice whispering (or shouting) that we are "Bad Mommies". We push ourselves so hard to be the Best Mommy that anything less is unacceptable, and grounds for guilt and anger.
So, rather than fight it, I have chosen to accept this moniker. I accept that I am a Bad Mommy from time to time. That sometimes, I have to allow my son to watch TV so that I can eat, and take better care of him. I accept that others are going to judge me, and call me a bad mother. But I choose to take that term, and turn it into a joke, something to say facetiously when I know that my choice may not have been ideal, but was the only choice left to me. Because if I can turn that judgement and guilt into a joke, maybe - just maybe - I can come to terms with the fact that I am imperfect, and am not the Best Mommy Ever. Because I don't need to be. I just need to be the mother who does her best. And sometimes, that means being a Bad Mommy in the eyes of others.
And maybe that's okay.