Last week was one of those weeks. The types of weeks in which you feel overwhelmed which leads you to drop many of the balls moms juggle. Like most moms, I still needed to accomplish most of the things on my list. It may have been the perfect Indian summer type weather we were having or just needing to escape the house, but I found myself taking my 2 yr old to the park each day and that’s when it happened. I never thought it would happen. It may have been my upbringing or my Tri-State “no nonsense” attitude but I’ve always thought, “Screw everyone. I’m going to parent the way I want and not compare. What’s important is that my kids will be good people.”
Well.. then I met HER.
She may or may not have been blonde with blue eyes, six feet tall and wore a fairy princess dress and had a magic wand. She probably wasn’t any of those things but that’s how I saw her. From the minute my little one and I got to the park, she greeted us and told her daughter to go greet my daughter and play with her. Wait, What? People do that?! I’m usually chasing my explorer around the park. And so the feelings of self-doubt began. Was I supposed to be doing that all along. Have I not encouraged my 2 yr old enough to be friendly? Ugh! Fail on my part. I tried to shake it off. Then, the fairy princess mom instructed her daughter to share her tricycle with my daughter and she did! Since my daughter was having one of those days she decided she owned the tricycle and so began the tantrum. “Earth open up and swallow me whole!” I said in my head as I felt overwhelmed by the behavior I witnessed from my daughter.
Did I mention that fairy princess mom was also holding her son who was under one? “Ugh, I have trouble juggling coffee and a toddler, how does she do it?! Why is she so nice?! She even looks like she brushed her hair.. It’s messy curly bun again for me… Why can’t I do all those things,” were all my thoughts of inadequacy.
As if I wasn’t in full, “I suck mode,” She picked up 2 sticks and began playing pretend with her daughter. They pretended to turn acorns into soup! Meanwhile on my end of the playground, my toddler was going into full meltdown mode. I decided I wasn’t good enough and chocked back the tears and anxiety. I proceeded to grab my kid and strap her into her stroller so we could head home. At that moment, fairy junior ran towards us and said bye. Why did she have to be so perfect?!
Later, in the day I retold my husband of my fairy princess encounter and he laughed. As I gave him the “I need you to explain why this is funny” look he told me that I needed to realize that having a day in which your kid is perfectly well behaved is like a rainbow. They’re pretty but you don’t see them often. That mom was having a rainbow fairy princess type of day, that’s all.
Then it hit me, I had mom shamed myself! Fairy princess mom had been perfectly nice. She never did or said anything to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. The evil witch was me. I had made myself so upset I wanted to cry. I doubted how good of a mom I am. I did it to myself because of the perfect mom myth.
While I can’t promise I won’t do it again, I will strive to be nice to myself. I will try to see myself with grace and give myself a little bit of credit. After all, I’m just being the best version of myself for my kids.