Good Enough Mother

I adore my boys. You all know that. I love them to distraction and beyond. Nothing fills me with awe and joy than a hug or kiss or an “I love you” from my boybies. They just spent 8 days away from me, with their Dad. The KoD and I had a chance to actually have a meal or two together without having to remove sharp objects from one kid while reminding another to chew with his mouth closed and sit up straight, hold your fork like it’s a fork not a shovel….

Did I miss them? Sometimes. Especially when talking to them on the phone at night, and they were tired, and I just wanted to hold them tight and tuck them in. But I also relished the time I had to myself. As moms we want to be so perfect and there for the kids 24/7. Any failure that the kids have, we take upon ourselves. We are taught that the best moms are on call all the time, and never say no to their child.

It isn’t true. My kids know that I am not available to them at every second of the day. They understand that sometimes they have to wait to get my full attention. Sometimes, even though I love them to pieces, I absolutely abhor and detest their behaviour and am ashamed of them. (Conversely sometimes I am so darn proud of them I feel my heart will jump out of my chest). Does it make me love them any less? No. My boys know that I am human and imperfect and that I see the same in them.

I used to try so hard to be Mrs Perfect. I messed up. Often. It wasn’t hard when perfection was the only acceptable attainment. Once I let go of that I became a much better mother. When the kids are all grown and look back fondly (I hope) on their childhood, I want their focus to be on the happy times we had, not how perfectly I cut the crusts off their sandwiches (never did that), or how I built their volcano for them with my own two hands so they would get an A+ (I wouldn’t know where to start), nor how I had no life of my own because I was busy living theirs. I want them to remember that they were loved because of who they were.

When I jumped back into the dating world with both feet I faced a lot of criticism. The Perfect Mother camp was of the opinion that I should put my children’s needs first, and get them raised and married off before even considering my own needs for partnership and marriage. That going out occasionally on a date was selfish beyond belief.  (Anyways, the dating thing totally worked out – we won the KoD!! )

My kids understand the necessity of Ima having time to herself. They would never dream of banging on the bathroom door while I am having a long soak in the bubble bath. They know that for me to have time alone is what helps to make me a good-enough mother.

So did I pine for them for 8 days? Absolutely not! They were with their dad who loves them (almost) as much as I do, they were safe and cared for, and having fun. I was happy they were having a good time with him and I made the most of the time I had without them.

Am I a perfect mom? Heck no. Am I good enough? Well, I guess you should ask the kids, they’re the ones who can answer that one.

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  1. Judit says:

    That is such a wonderful description of what it means to be a mom. I respect you highly for the way you are raising your sons. I think it is a frequent mistake mothers tend to make that they submit their lives to their children and once the kids grow up these moms would feel resentment. They have given the children all their lives and those monsters never call.
    However, I think your way is not a bit easier than the other way, in fact it is a lot more difficult. But a lot more rewarding, too. For everyone involved. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. batya from NJ says:

    Personally I don’t believe that anyone out there is the perfect mom, dad, child, friend, or anything. Part & parcel of being human is being imperfect & as we long as we try our best to improve, that is what matters…

  3. MJ says:

    Sadly I see not infrequently that the women who became shmattas to meet the needs of their husbands and kids first and foremost raised sons who expect their wives to be their full time caretakers. Being a ‘perfect’ mother often has those rather imperfect outcomes.

  4. Z! says:

    I love that one of the first words your boys ever learned was ‘hypocrite’!

    It was so cute to listen to them try to pronounce it.

  5. i love this post for what it is: honest and reflective.

    there is no. such. thing. as. perfect.

    there’s just not. and you know what? we’re setting up our kids to fall, and fall hard, if they think that they’re the only ones making mistakes. what a gift to be mistake-ful together!

    i love how you’ve found balance. it’s a must-have, for everyone.

  6. Chaviva says:

    My experience over one Shabbat with you is that you are THE ULTIMATE Imma. I marvel at your awesome mom skills … and seriously, when I have kids someday … I want to be as good with and to my kids as you.

  7. Beautifully written. I find it curious – the belief that children should always be first, that the needs, desires and hopes of the mother second. By not taking care of ourselves, we cannot be the mothers we are meant to be. When I forget to take time for myself, I become less of a mother. I am over-tired or cranky. I forget to take joy in the little things the little guy does.

    I don’t feel bad that iin a month, my mom and dad will come here, to their second home. My 2 year old will begin spending the weekends with them. He needs it and, more selfishly, so does his father and I.

    You sound like you understand that by sometimes putting yourself first, you are always able to take care of your boys.

    Hugs!

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