“Bad” Mom? Sure, I’ll Take It.

I haven’t always been a bad mom.

There was a time when my toddler’s perpetual lack of pants and propensity to carry the plunger all around the house to “mack stuff” with would have bothered me.

A lot.

Parenting perfection was a struggle. There was no time to be lazy.

When my first son was a baby, I made my own organic baby food. I used cloth diapers. I meticulously created those monthly photo shoots so that I would never have to look back and wonder exactly how my baby compared in size each month to a vintage chalk board and stuffed bunny. I drove across the city so that the Santa in my son’s Christmas picture was the most realistic; no shoddy mall Santa for my angel!

I actually created a cleaning “star” chart for myself.

If I completed three cleaning tasks per night after bedtime, I could keep the house looking charming(ish) all the time. I treated all screen time with disdain, and I looked AMAZING on Facebook.

That all changed when I got pregnant with my second. I was suddenly sick, fat, and tired. I simply physically couldn’t do what I had done before.  My husband was shockingly not receptive to my directives regarding parenting perfection. So, we bought Pampers. I downloaded Despicable Me.  My son ate a french fry and didn’t die. The house continued to provide warmth and shelter despite a disgraceful lack of vacuuming.

And we were happier!

I was actually able to spend my free time playing with my son instead of pureeing organic squashes or searching for a pumpkin I could cram him inside for pictures.  I realized that there is no such thing as perfect parents, and that Pinterest is a liar. If even experts can’t agree on how I should parent, (do and don’t purée food for babies, always and never co-sleep, cry it out is awesome and terribly harmful, pacifiers make great soothers and also ruin children’s lives forever) why was I so obsessed with doing things exactly “right?” I stopped caring about being perfect, and focused instead on just being present.

After my second son was born, I felt good again, but I didn’t revert back to my perfect parenting days. He wears Pampers at least half the time, and this year’s Christmas picture features a local Santa with his beard falling off. I’ll probably never be a “good” mom again, and it’s highly unlikely that any elf will ever grace my dusty shelves.

But when my 3 year-old eats marshmallows with his eggs for breakfast, he’ll eat them sitting right next to me.

Sarah Partney
 

Sarah Partney is an attorney and mom of two. She lives with her husband, kids, and two pups in St. Louis, MO.

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