Bad Mom

Today I feel like a bad mom. In fact, I have felt like a bad mom for a while now.

To be totally transparent, I try to keep it pretty positive around here. Life as a mom and military spouse is challenging enough. If you are here to read about those things, you don’t need more doom and gloom clouds. But at the same time I never want to make things look too good to be true. Because there are so many struggles behind the scenes. And only sharing the good isn’t fair to anyone. So this is the raw, real deal. If you only want sunshine and rainbows, feel free to skip reading this post. If you want a dose of reality that you can probably relate to, this is for you.

Today I feel like a bad mom because I am out of patience. I am running dangerously low on compassion. And I am just plain tired.

Today I snapped at my son more than I am proud of.

As a mom, I feel like I always belong to someone else. This is especially true now that I am pregnant. My needs come second, or third, or somewhere down the list. There is always a nose to wipe and a diaper to change. There is always a little person yelling that they are hungry or thirsty. When I am “mom” I lose myself as a person. My value is measured in relation to how well I can take care of my child. It doesn’t matter what my favorite color or song is. My makeup and hair are not important. I am only as good as the things I can do for my child. I’m not Jessica. I am “mom” and that supersedes everything.

And let me just tell you that that is a dangerous slope. Do you ever get on a roll only to come up for metaphorical air a day or a week or a year later to realize you don’t even know who you are anymore? Because I have. I get so caught up in being mom, because it can feel like the only thing that matters, that I forget I am a person too.

Since moving to Washington, Oliver has been the worst possible sleeper. he has never slept well anywhere except his crib, and all the changes in his life certainly don’t help. He misses his dad. His routine is completely thrown off. In general I flipped his whole world upside down by moving. Oh and he is growing. And I try to remember this. I try to remind myself that he is going through a lot.

But him not sleeping means me not sleeping. And it means me not getting time to just be me and not “mom.” The longer I go without it, the more I realize just how much I need that time.

At home, I could put Oliver in his crib after lunch, he would talk for a minute then be out for a two hour (or more) nap. At bedtime, we would lay him down in his crib and he would talk for a few minutes then be out like a light for twelve or so hours.

Here he can get out of the pack’n’play so there is no laying him down and walking away. Here I have to rock and bribe and beg and coerce him to sleep. It is a multi-hour process twice a day. More often than not it also involves him screaming at me, hitting, and attempting to pull out handfuls of my hair. It is physically and mentally exhausting.

Maybe it makes me selfish, but I rely on the “me-time” I get when Oliver is asleep. Without it I apparently become someone I am not entirely proud of.

So today I felt like a bad mom. Tomorrow will hopefully be better…or maybe tomorrow I will feel like a bad mom again. As long as I do my best I think that keeps me from actually being a bad mom. Right?

There is no moral or lesson from this. Just a story from someone who wants to tell the whole truth. This is the other half of the story behind the pretty pictures and the “how-to” posts. Because I feel like we all need a reminder that the not so pretty stuff is ok too.

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