I sat with them at school later in the day. I'd brought them more lunch, feeling a bit like a morning glory at noon, withered and shriveled up on itself. I sat there with my amazing child and felt like an epic failure. It struck me that these beautiful miracles have been stuck with me, this second rate parent who can't even teach her kids to keep their room clean, or pack a decent lunch. I have to face this fear on practically a day to day basis. But it's just a feeling, not reality. And I have learned that it is a terrible place to live from.
When I believe I am a terrible parent, or, and this might be even worse because it sneaks up on me, when I question if I am a good enough parent, this is the place where my Momzilla comes out with a vengeance. I don't know if I'm a good mom - so I make mountains out of molehills. I choose random stuff as my hill to die on and stand and fight my child to the death just to prove (to myself?) that I am a good parent.
I don't know if I'm doing this right and I explode over things that, at the end of the day, don't even matter to me and shouldn't be that big of a deal.
At the heart of the Momzilla is fear. One of my fears is a fear of failure. I'm afraid that I'm not doing a good enough job as a parent. That my kids will enter their adult lives handicapped by my inadequate parenting.
And this is my cycle of fear. I wonder if I am doing enough, I fear that I am inadequate, I explode at my kids over something small and this seems to prove my inadequacy. I languish in guilt, eaten alive and from this place of guilt am even more likely to explode, perpetuating the the lie that I am a terrible mom.
Breaking this cycle of guilt and fear was one of the best things I ever did as a mom. When I finally realized that all of these feelings of guilt were actually making me more stressed out and even more likely to lash out in anger I was able to drop the guilt like a hot potato.
I thought this mom-guilt-thing was just part of the whole mom-gig. I felt that it was my duty to bear it, that if I wasn't sufficiently worried about my parenting then I must be a lousy mom. I discovered the opposite is true. That twinge of guilt should lead me to apologize, put down the phone, turn off the TV, give extra hugs and look into the eyes of my children more but it should never be something I'm hanging onto, certainly not something I carry around with me.
When I can see my kids as the great kids that they are, (instead of as sources of perpetual interruption and frustration!) when I look at myself and see the time when I spoke gently instead of yelling, that laughter, the hug, the listening, the PB&J made for the millionth time, and see that I'm doing, more or less, a pretty good job, I am free to do an even better job. All of this worry about "am I good enough?" is actually holding me back from being the best mom I can be.
Tonight after dinner I kicked the ball around with the kids. I laughed with them, cheered and clapped for them. It was an awesome moment. It was a moment I needed and a reminder that I don't have to be a Momzilla, at least not all the time.