Okay, so I don't really think I'm a bad mom. Overall, I think I am a pretty great mom when it comes to some things and a mediocre mom at best with others. What got me thinking about this was the start of school and how moms are pretty much divided into two groups, the ones who are sad to see the kids go and the ones who can't wait for the kids to get the f**k out of the house. I am fully committed to the second group. Does this mean I don't love my kids or enjoy their company? Not at all, but our time together needs to be taken in small doses. And honestly, this is as much for their sake as it is for mine.
Growing up as a girl of the 80s, I never even considered I might be a stay at home mom. The message back then was that we could absolutely have it all. We were pretty and smart and we would have glorious careers AND be mothers. In high school, I was voted most likely to lead a feminist movement (but in a 'like to wear makeup and be girlie' way) and most likely to become a Supreme Court Judge. Needless to say, I was quite outspoken about how great girls were and how we could do anything we wanted to do. Even when I had my first son, I never gave much thought to staying at home.
As I got older and the reality of motherhood and life set it, I must admit I was a bit jealous when I would go out at lunch and see moms with their kids at the store. I would feel a yearning for not having a boss, having the freedom to come and go as I pleased as well as spend unlimited amounts of time with my kids. (Okay, I know that freedom is a bit of a misleading word when you are talking about toting little ones around all day, but I was all about the grass is greener back then) And then I was laid off for eight months when my second son was two and I started to recognize all the things I was not good at.
For starters, I was not good at being a stay at home mom. I just wasn't. I tried, I really did. For a while, I did the library trips and the nature walks and even attempted some arts and crafts. But as my time at home with my toddler increased, it became very clear that I was not cut out for this. The longer he was with me and not at daycare, I started to worry that I was hindering his growth. They were such great teachers and had taught him so much, like the alphabet song and how to count. I had no time for these indulgences as I felt like my days were pretty much spend chasing after him, cleaning up the chaos that he left in his wake. Clearly school was a much better place for him. I had no idea how they did, but it was obvious to me that they did it better than I ever could. And honestly, I was okay with that. I am back at work now and everyone is much happier (and much smarter).
I am also terrible at playing. I have all boys and I must admit that I never understood the lure of matchbox cars, ninjas and sword fighting. I try hard to fake it, but I am not much good at that either. When my son wants to play a game of one on one, I cringe before I finally say yes. And I think the last time I tried to pitch to him it came right back at me and hurt like hell. I am a girl, not doubt about it, which makes it a challenge when you have only sons. Ballerinas and tea parties are more my speed. I am really a good fan however, and love cheering them on with all the sports they play. I am also really great at making sure they are outfitted with everything they need every season. So there's something.
I love my boys more than anything and would do anything for them. But I can honestly say that I am not really that sad to see them head off to school. I think we all have lives to lead outside of our family and we are all better people because of it. I love our dinners, bedtimes (mostly), and weekends spent together. But I also love the quiet just around 8:30 in the morning when my house is still and empty and the only one home is me.