I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen this quote, or variations of it, come across my newsfeed on Facebook or on Pinterest. The first time I saw this quote, I thought it was sweet and cute. After all, what’s not to love about a nice, reassuring quote for mother’s who are prone to worry?
The more I saw this quote, the more concerned I became. While I understand the intent of the quote, I disagree with it. Do you know how many abusive or negligent mothers worry about their children? Maybe not all, but at least some of them. Their worry about their children doesn’t keep them from abusing and neglecting them. Would we consider them “good mothers”?
While worry isn’t the sign of a bad parent, it isn’t a trait to be desired. If you are constantly worrying about being a “good mother”, you are letting fear steal mental energy from you – energy that you could be expending on your baby. Worrying, in and of itself, does not indicate whether or not someone is a good parent.
For example, take Bubba and I. I worry about Bubba a lot. I worry about his health, his emotional and physical development, and a number of other things.
Do you know what else I do?
Lose my temper. Not physically, but verbally. I’m a yeller.
I am undoubtedly a bad mother when I lose my temper and yell. No matter what Bubba has done to provoke such a response (he is fast and efficient at getting into trouble), it is never appropriate. Losing my temper is detrimental to our relationship and no amount of worrying will change that.
What will change that is me exercising self-control and staying calm after Bubba has pushed every last button I have. Or, if I have already yelled, apologizing, even if he doesn’t understand it yet.
I understand that this quote is supposed to be a kind way to reassure mothers that they are doing a good job, but it is a broad overgeneralization. I don’t want to be coddled, I want to be supported in building a better relationship with my son, even if that means being called out on the things I am doing wrong as a mother.
I don’t want to feel better, I want to do better.
New Crunchy Mom