What if I think I'm not a very good mom?


#1

What now?
Here’s the thing. I work three days a week. I went down from full time so that the kids could have me around more. It seemed like the rigth thing to do at the time (they were newborns. They’re 2 1/2 now.)
But, the truth is - I’m not good at being a mom. I’m really quite terrible at it. Over the last two years, this has become abundantly clear. I don’t think it makes one lick of difference to the girls if it’s me watching them or someone else either - they’re generally happy everywhere and with everyone. And, as it turns out, I don’t like staying home with my kids.
Here’s the thing, in my old life, my corporate life, this wasn’t my day. I looked nice in the morning when I left for work. I drank a hot cup of coffee. Sometimes, even fancy coffee. I worked. Pretty straightforward. Not ONCE did I accidentally get peed on. Not ONCE did I have to retrieve a PRETEND pet mouse from the garbage can. Not ONCE did i put anyone in time out. Not ONCE did anyone remove their diaper during nap time, and paint with their poop.
Not. Once.

And so now, I’ve got a very nice job offer, full-time, that just fell out of the sky onto me (2.5 times my current pay, good company and all that).

So, I’m thinking I should go back to work FT since this whole ‘mom’ thing is going so badly. Then again, part of me is sick with the idea of working full-time again. But, man, I’m SOOO not cut out for this gig.
What happened to God not calling the equipped, but equipping the called?
I’d really like some equipment here…and soon!
Any advice?


#2

HE *has* equipped the called. you're married? if so, then you are called to have children if possible. so... you have children. you've been called and you've been equipped.

that doesn't mean the toddler doesnt paint with poop. that doesnt mean they dont flush your cell phone. that doesnt mean you're thrilled, hygiened, coffeed and well-rested.

it means you have the graces to get through a SINGLE day of your vocation. (any one who thinks they have more than a single day of graces, needs to read the laws of mana: gather one day's worth only.)

now how does that manifest itself in a decision?

well, i think you answered it but you just don't love the answer. you're a disgruntled mommy. but you're "sick with the idea of working full-time again." to me that means that parenting is painffully tough and your day-to-day proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt, **but **you sense it is more right to be home most-time, and be away part-time, than to be away most time.

it's so absolutely natural to NOT LOVE that answer.

the catechism says 2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.

so far as i can attest, that growth in holiness has ALWAYS been painful-- especially when my children contribute it.


#3

[quote="monicatholic, post:2, topic:195705"]
HE *has* equipped the called. you're married? if so, then you are called to have children if possible. so... you have children. you've been called and you've been equipped.

that doesn't mean the toddler doesnt paint with poop. that doesnt mean they dont flush your cell phone. that doesnt mean you're thrilled, hygiened, coffeed and well-rested.

it means you have the graces to get through a SINGLE day of your vocation. (any one who thinks they have more than a single day of graces, needs to read the laws of mana: gather one day's worth only.)

now how does that manifest itself in a decision?

well, i think you answered it but you just don't love the answer. you're a disgruntled mommy. but you're "sick with the idea of working full-time again." to me that means that parenting is painffully tough and your day-to-day proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt, **but **you sense it is more right to be home most-time, and be away part-time, than to be away most time.

it's so absolutely natural to NOT LOVE that answer.

the catechism says 2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.

so far as i can attest, that growth in holiness has ALWAYS been painful-- especially when my children contribute it.

[/quote]

I think this is a very good answer.

And the OP has stumbled upon a truth that most parents eventually know: It's generally much harder to be a stay-at-home parent that it is to hold down a full-time-out-of-the-home job.

And I expect that the OP is wrong: First, she's not a bad mom. Second, it absolutely does make a difference that it's her (as opposed to a nanny or au pair) raising her children.

But the reality is that being a parent is too hard to do alone. You need God as a co-parent. If you really accept that your God-given vocation is to be a parent, and that your work in that regard is part of your worship, you'll be surprised how much patience, love, and skill you'll enjoy.

Pax,
OA


#4

Are you sure you may not just be hung up on being a mom in a certain way. There are a 1000 kinds of good moms and none of them go about it the same way. What is key is that you love your kids. You are there when they need you the most. YOu support and nurture them in your own way. Maybe you should take the full time job and hire yourself a little help.


#5

What is key is that you love your kids. You are there when they need you the most. YOu support and nurture them in your own way. Maybe you should take the full time job and hire yourself a little help.

i charitably disagree. what is key is not just that i love my kids-- it's that i give of myself for the good of my kids.

i was home for 28 years. now, for the past year, because of increasingly unsafe job conditions, my husband came home full time and i work full time-- at my insistance.

i LOVE my job. but I would give anything to be home more.*** a lot more. *** my three year old and seven and nine year olds DO need me to nurture them in my own way--- that means I need to be with them to do it.

i can only be the type of mother i want to be, and i can only FAIL at being the type of mother i want to be, if i'm home.

being away so much, i'm absolutely NOT the type of mother i want to be. and if i am, who can tell? i'm hardly home enough to prove it or disprove it.

and yes, when i was home, i spent MANY days of 28 years disappointed in my performance. sometimes my disappointment was justified. sometimes it wasn't. figuring that out is part of the vocation.


#6

Rwillenborg, from what you’ve said it sounds like you either have twins or two under two and a half. Either way this is a tremendous amount of work. I have also struggled with internal (and external) standards that tell me I’m a “bad mom”. But then again I know plenty of great women who feel that way.

Despite this I have stayed home with my 3 kids (currently 9.5, 7 and almost 4). For me I just wanted to know that they had me there, in all my weakness. I just believe my presence is giving them a security that is hard to duplicate. I have to tell you that my nature is an extrovert and I would find it 100% easier to work FT them be home FT. Domestic chores and cooking are some of my weakest skillset! However, your children really do grow and change so fast. I can always have another shot at a career but I can only be there once while they are 3, 4, 5.

Unfortunately it’s extremely rare that you will ever get an acknowledgment from anyone of the personal sacrifices you are making and also how for the mothering career you got no training, no job reviews or promotions - just more diapers, tantrums and kisses.

Saying all that, I really do believe that for some women their mental health is radically compromised by being home. If you know in your heart you fall into this category do what you need to do to stay sane and be a loving mother. You do know that you will have two FT jobs if you decide to work outside the home FT right?! Don’t expect the workload to get any lighter but your children need you healthy and sane. I get the sense that you are frustrated and exasperated rather than at your wits end however. So it’s your call. You could use the extra money for more help while your children are young. Or maybe you just need to shake your life up and make other changes that don’t include taking the FT job. Two and a half is very young. Even just a year or two from now your children will be so much less totally dependant as they are now. (Is that a sentence?) I mean, you are in the mom trenches right now, the time when they need you almost 24/7 so it will gradually become less crazed, less like Alice in Wonderland.

Until you have another :smiley:


#7

I suspect that the reason they are happy everywhere and with everyone is that they feel very secure, having been with their mother most of their lives.
Being a mother is kind of a sloppy job, you’re never sure whether you’re succeeding or failing, until they grow up and become a bank robber or get a good job – and even then it’s not certain. I’ve always found that frustrating, so I would set a little goal for myself each day, to keep my sanity. For the kids, it was usually to read to them before bed. For myself, sometimes it was 15 to 30 minutes doing something creative (I finally got a whole book out of it)
Now my two youngest are 13 and 16 and I work full time, but I’m looking for another job that lets me be home evenings with them, because I feel sick to my stomach all the time when I’m working evenings. I love getting to spend time with them, but it’s very difficult.
I can really see a difference when I do succeed.
If finances permit, I would always vote for being there for children. It does make a difference for them.


#8

RIght now, it's hard to see this through the poop and the tantrums and the snacks and the silly little games and Naughty Nora and Corduroy the Bear and naptimes and Dumbo and all the rest of life with toddlers. Life just seems to plod along and never ever change.

But when your children are older, you will see more clearly. And here's what you will see--you will never, ever regret staying home with young children. But you WILL regret working full-time unnecessarily with small children.

I add the word "unnecessarily" because I realize that many moms and dads have to work outside of the home and leave their children in the care of someone else. That's the way life is for quite a few families.

But if you don't have to work outside the home and earn a second income, stay home until your children are in school. Right now, it doesn't seem to make sense to you and you feel rather superfluous. But it will make sense in the future when you and your children are older.

There is a great deal of value in just being together. You don't have to be doing something or saying something or even hugging each other. Just being there, in the room or outside in a lawn chair, or in the same house within yelling distance is so good for children. They learn what God is like from this parental presence---He gives us free will to do as we please within His boundaries, and He is always on call for us. They gain such a sense of value and worth from having their mother (or father) with them.

And I agree with others who are saying that you ARE a good mom. I personally ignored my children often while they were toddlers--deliberately ignored them so that they would learn to amuse themselves and keep themselves busy. I didn't feel obligated to be down on the floor playing with them or talking with them every minute of the day.

Don't get me wrong--we did a lot of things together. We were always at "Story Hour" at the library, and we always brought a giant stack of books home to read together. We did "field trips" all over Raleigh (North Carolina)--the kids loved these trips. We took long walks, and went to the playground at our church, and did "yard work" and played games and went to "Toddler Time Movies" at the local theater--we did lots.

What I'm saying is that you shouldn't compare yourself to that Mom in your church who makes all her children's meals out of home-grown veges from her own garden and molds all their food into smiley faces, and who sews matching outfits for her and her daughters, and who works out at Gymboree along with her children (all wearing matching exercise apparel, of course), and who scrapbooks every moment of their little lives into charming books, etc. and who does all this while breast-feeding ecologically and somehow has managed to keep her perfect girlish figure and have a handsome husband, too.


#9

I have no problem with the answers above but I do not think you need to be stay home mom. You put your kids in time out may be you need one too, a part time job (since you don’t want to work full-time) could be your time out.

Staying home full time and hating it is not good for your kids. Later on you may not regret staying home with your kids but they may because they will pick up on what you are feeling.

You can be there for your kids in quite a number of ways besides physical. When you are emotionally centred is just as good if not better. You have to do what’s best for everyone just not your kid’s because if you do not do what is best for you is will not be good for your kids.

Talk about it with your husband, pray about it. The answer is not what everyone else think is right, it is what is right for you and your family.


#10

Being a parent means giving up your own time, needs and even desires at times. It’s not easy and is generally without gratitude by anyone - certainly not the children. It’s exhausting and it can feel like it will never end. When one is a parent, one is required to put self aside for long periods of time and devote one’s self to the needs and even whims of another person.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but your complaint does not make me feel you are a bad mother, just that you resent the demands that the life-style puts on you. We know it’s tough - most of us have been in the same boat.

You’re in the season of life when your own needs may go unmet and you may be too exhausted to do anything but get through another day. That’s what comes of being a parent. If you’re tempted to escape these damands to return to something that feels easier, I urge you to reconsider and to re-commit yourself to the need to die to self for the sake of others.

If the financial gains are necessary, however, that’s a different story. If you must take a job to feed your children and give them a roof over their heads, that is also a form of serventhood. When a job becomes a means of escaping from the demands of parenthood - for either the father or the mother - then the job is simply an idol that is being worshipped.


#11

[quote="ChosenAndCalled, post:10, topic:195705"]
Being a parent means giving up your own time, needs and even desires at times. It's not easy and is generally without gratitude by anyone - certainly not the children. It's exhausting and it can feel like it will never end. When one is a parent, one is required to put self aside for long periods of time and devote one's self to the needs and even whims of another person.

I don't mean to sound harsh, but your complaint does not make me feel you are a bad mother, just that you resent the demands that the life-style puts on you. We know it's tough - most of us have been in the same boat.

You're in the season of life when your own needs may go unmet and you may be too exhausted to do anything but get through another day. That's what comes of being a parent. If you're tempted to escape these damands to return to something that feels easier, I urge you to reconsider and to re-commit yourself to the need to die to self for the sake of others.

If the financial gains are necessary, however, that's a different story. If you must take a job to feed your children and give them a roof over their heads, that is also a form of serventhood. When a job becomes a means of escaping from the demands of parenthood - for either the father or the mother - then the job is simply an idol that is being worshipped.

[/quote]

You don't sound harsh at all. :)
I don't know that I could explain all the myriad ways in which my parenting skills are simply not where they should be. they are not improving with time.
If I felt that my presence with them was indeed the best for them, this would be a non-issue. I would keep the part-time position for as long as was feasible.
But I don't feel that my presence with them is in fact what's best for them. Not even close. I think they do much better with other people. So, if I'm not serving my own needs, or my children's needs, or my husband's needs (he would rather I return to work FT. He doesn't earn much, so my return to a FT salary would certainly take alot of stress off of him. Actually, he would prefer that I stay home full time with the kids AND get paid 80K a year, but I'm like 'uh, okay, that's not actually an option that's on the table, so...')

Does that make more sense? If someone else were doing the bulk of the childcare, I really think the kids thrive more in that environment than with me.

Does that make sense?

There are some other factors, too.
We NEED my part-time salary. My PT salary is more than my husband's FT salary (he's a graduate student). We don't NEED my full-time salary. That being said, I don't know how long this part-time position will still be around, and so jumping ship to a FT position might be what I would have to do regardless. I would rather leave for a position that I CHOSE, rather than one I was stuck with because I didn't see the writing on the wall.

The other factor is, we would really like some more money. We don't live in what would be considered a 'nice' neighborhood. Is it unsafe? Uh, it's Detroit. And not the nice parts where the City Council people live. My return to FT work would get us OUT of the city and I can tell you right now my chldren will NEVER EVER EVER go to Detroit Public Schools so we definitley need to move before school starts, but that's not for another four years, really. But then again, I don't feel that our particular neighborhood is that unsafe. We've lived there since 2001. I like the neighbors. But it's like we live in this little coccoon in the middle of armageddon and I fear that one day someone will be like 'hey, we haven't robbed THAT street yet!' and then it's game over for us in the D. But, again, I just don't know.

And on top of that, our cars both have 150K of miles on them. i dont' know how much longer they will last, and having some funds available for newer ones would be nice.


#12

[quote="monicatholic, post:2, topic:195705"]
HE *has* equipped the called. you're married? if so, then you are called to have children if possible. so... you have children. you've been called and you've been equipped.

that doesn't mean the toddler doesnt paint with poop. that doesnt mean they dont flush your cell phone. that doesnt mean you're thrilled, hygiened, coffeed and well-rested.

it means you have the graces to get through a SINGLE day of your vocation. (any one who thinks they have more than a single day of graces, needs to read the laws of mana: gather one day's worth only.)

now how does that manifest itself in a decision?

well, i think you answered it but you just don't love the answer. you're a disgruntled mommy. but you're "sick with the idea of working full-time again." to me that means that parenting is painffully tough and your day-to-day proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt, **but **you sense it is more right to be home most-time, and be away part-time, than to be away most time.

it's so absolutely natural to NOT LOVE that answer.

the catechism says 2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.

so far as i can attest, that growth in holiness has ALWAYS been painful-- especially when my children contribute it.

[/quote]

Thank you. I try to remember 'Give us this day our DAILY BREAD'. I recite that over and over in my mind. Daily bread. You are not promised tomorrow. You are only promised RIGHT NOW (though I forgot about the manna - good point).
I joke to myself that the reason God gave me children is because he REALLY doesn't want me to have to spend time in purgatory. He's making sure I pay my dues here. :)


#13

So true that God is a co-parent. I know, too, that the Catholic Church, or at least Caatholics themselves teach this - when someone is married and says ‘Uh, I’m not sure if that’s my calling’ Catholics say 'Well, you ARE married, so, yeah, it’s your calling’
So, to some extent I guess that being a mother was part of my calling, seeing as how that’s what I am. But, again, this mother thing doesn’t seem to be going well. I don’t think I’m very good at this job, and unfortunately, it will be the kids who get screwed over in the end. THATS what worries me.


#14

What makes you feel like your children ‘do better’ with other people?


#15

Cat - I see you know the same moms I do!!! :stuck_out_tongue:
No really lutheranteach and cat, you’re both very right that I compare myself to other moms and what they are doing with their children, and these are GOOD moms - these are moms who LOVE being moms - and what I do isn’t even CLOSE to what these moms are doing. I don’t want you to think I sit in a basement with the brooding all day, or anything like that, but it is painfully obvious to me that other kids have moms who are simply and plainly better. So, it gets me to thinking that their time would be better spent with them.
My children are much better behaved around others than they are around me.
They eat better with others than me. They play better with eachother. I mean, everything they do is pretty much done better with someone else at their side rather than me. :shrug:
So, what’s a mom to do?


#16

I just posted some in the post below, but, to give examples…
Their temper tantrums don’t flare as much with others. With me, it’s flailing and wailing and crocodile tears and ‘Sissy touched me!!! ACCKK!’ and with others they just brush it off.
With others they just fall in line, no argument. I remember asking the ladies at the daycare how on earth they changed SO many kids diapers all day! I mean, with my kids the process varies, but it always involves me slinging my leg over a toddler to hold her steady and changing the diaper on a screaming wailing, not to mention quite strong, 2 1/2 year old. And they said ‘Oh, the girls don’t do that here. They just lie on the changing table and have their diaper changed. they never put up a fuss.’ :eek:

And when my mom comes over to watch them…when it’s naptime, THEY TELL HER THEY ARE SLEEPY!!! :eek: I’m like 'Are you flipping kidding me?!? Those girls just SEE me get their blankets out and they are GONE. I mean, they’re hiding under soft cushions, crying screaming, everything.

And of course they eat more nutritious food with others. :shrug: I’ve tried making them healthy food and they reject it every time, so eventually I realized all I was doing was making really great food to throw in the garbage, so I gave up on that. :shrug: But, for example, for my mom they SUCK down her soup faster than you can blink! I serve them THE EXACT SAME SOUP at home, and they don’t touch it. :shrug:


#17

Rwillenborg, here is a post that might make you feel better "Worst mom ever who is not a felon"

Please holy Catholic moms who are easily offended please do not open this link, it is an attempt at humor and some people will not appreciate it. I on the other hand, because of my low standards am relieved to read the confessions of the less than perfect.

rantsfrommommyland.com/2010/04/worst-mom-ever-who-is-not-felon.html


#18

See, now, this is what I worry about. When I’ve been away from my kids for a bit, I come back and I actually pick them up and hold them! (I usually adhere to a strict rule of not picking up my children. They’re 34 pounds each and whatever one wants, the other does, too, and mama can’t lift 68 pounds, just not gonna happen, so NO ONE gets carried around by me) but after being away for a few hours, I have some strength again, so carrying them around for a bit doesn’t hurt so bad.
I play more games with them.
I read to them more.
:shrug:
I’m just that much more engaged.
When I’m home with them all day, I see the house needs to get picked up, and food needs to get made, and the general business of running a household still need to happen. Now, if I were at work, there would be no one home to make a mess, the daycare provides the food, and so there you have it!
And you’re rigth about needing a time-out. Sometimes when the cat decides to be a little too playful I put him in the basement for ‘time-out’ and all I can think is ‘Lucky cat!’ Ha!


#19

[quote="Kindness, post:17, topic:195705"]
Rwillenborg, here is a post that might make you feel better "Worst mom ever who is not a felon"

Please holy Catholic moms who are easily offended please do not open this link, it is an attempt at humor and some people will not appreciate it. I on the other hand, because of my low standards am relieved to read the confessions of the less than perfect.

rantsfrommommyland.com/2010/04/worst-mom-ever-who-is-not-felon.html

[/quote]

it does, in fact, make me feel better. :)
Thanks! :D
Although...she and I could definitely have a worst-mom off...she'd take home a silver, Im afraid! I'm not sure if that's good or not...sucking at being a sucky mom??? Hmmm...


#20

[quote="Kindness, post:6, topic:195705"]
Rwillenborg, from what you've said it sounds like you either have twins or two under two and a half. Either way this is a tremendous amount of work. I have also struggled with internal (and external) standards that tell me I'm a "bad mom". But then again I know plenty of great women who feel that way.

Until you have another :D

[/quote]

Kindness,
yes, they are twins.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.