A defining Bad Mom Moment came when my kids and I were playing a game where they had to pretend to be different things. “Be a lion!” “Be a cloud!” “Be a flower!” “Be a spoon!” (that one was hard, and hilarious) I quickly ran out of ideas of things they could pretend to be so I started having them be people they knew. “Be Nathaniel!” “Be Serena!” It had to be my turn soon, we had already run through everyone they knew. What would they do? “Be Mama!”
They both stopped, stock still. Hmm. How to Be Mama?
Finally, Nathaniel smiled. He had it! He sat down, and started to Pretend Type on an imaginary laptop. After a couple of seconds he looked up, glared at everyone in the room, and said, “Shh! Go away! I’m writing!”
It didn’t dawn on me until much later, but working from home made me a bad mom. Or, rather, I didn’t know how to be the mom I wanted to be. June Cleaver vacuuming in heels and pearls? Hardly. More like bribing my kids with extra episodes of Curious George if only I could have 15 more minutes to hammer out a blog post. Or cajoling (read: guilting) my older son into playing with his little brother for ten-minutes-that-turned-into-an-hour so I could edit my piece in peace.
I thought by embracing what I loved and spending time doing it, I was being a bad mom.
I know there are tons of moms out there that make working from home — while the kids are home, too — perfect. I was not one of them. I still don’t understand how it can be done without bribery, extortion, earplugs, or a full-time nanny.
And I believe that’s okay.
I was all prepped just now to offer a retrospective of ideas, a sheer cornucopia of concepts on how to make work and life really balance when the office is in your livingroom, but it dawned on me that I am totally barking up the wrong tree.
Nobody has to be June Cleaver. Nobody has to be Supermom. We can just be Bad Moms.
The kids will be fine however you play it. You will be fine. Just make a choice. You will make mistakes. No one is going to be scarred for life (except maybe the nanny). Being a Bad Mom means really owning your parenting choices, living outside the box if necessary, and doing what you need to do to make your life work for you. And if it doesn’t work, start making different choices.
It’s time we started being easier on ourselves. Stopped needing families — especially our own — to look a certain way. Started really living our lives instead of our lives living us.
I embrace the Bad Mom concept. Being a Bad Mom means doing the best you can and letting that be enough. Being a Bad Mom means stepping outside the box. Being a Bad Mom means being yourself. The kids will be fine. Thrive, even. And I believe we will all be better off.