These days there are so many posts, articles, shows, etc that express all the guilt that mothers (and fathers) feel about their poor parenting (real or imagined). And though I am no stranger to that guilt, I also realize that I do some things right. There are three specific areas/stories that I try to keep in mind when I am having those “Bad Mom Days”
1) When my son was about 7 years old, we were driving home from school and he piped up from the back seat “Mommy, name your top 11 Heavy Metal bands”. It is important to note that he had recently started playing “Guitar Hero” as well as guitar lessons. Now even in my “younger” years, I was never a heavy metal fan (though The Clash is still one of my favorites) so I was hard pressed to come up with any favorites. But here’s the thing, I made sure that the next time he asked me that I could give him at least 7. Now, many years later, I have actually gained an appreciation for all kinds of metal (heavy, death, thrash).
2) Around the same time, he was also obsessed with Pokemon. I remember once when I was having an in depth conversation with him about the merits of certain Pokemon somewhere in public (probably Starbucks) and a woman commented to me “Wow, you know a lot about Pokemon!” to which I replied “If I didn’t, I would never have anything to talk to my kid about!” Because that is what he was into with at the time and if I wanted to have conversations with him, that was going to be it.
3) My son is now into a game called “Overwatch” which is a MMO by Blizzard that came out earlier this year. There are various “heroes” to choose to play as and they all have stats that you can view (there is more to it than that but this is the quick version). Often, when he is playing he calls me over to look at his stats. Now, I am a bit of a gamer mom (I do play World of Warcraft, occasionally, after all) but this game has no interest to me. However, again, he is excited about his stats and so I look at them, I discuss them, I praise them and then I go back to watching Real Housewives or doing laundry or whatever.
So what’s my point? My point is that this is the way he wants to interact with me and so I will do what I can to continue the conversation. I am not good at not getting mad when he doesn’t clean up his dishes or not getting frustrated when he doesn’t do his 20 minutes of reading a day (I mean it’s only 20 minutes!) or making sure his gym clothes are clean on Tuesdays and Fridays. I let him watch too much TV and he probably has too much sugar and we order pizza way too much. But I can talk to him about what’s important to him right now and that is Thrash Metal and Pokemon Go and Bastian’s stats and the merits of the Patriots third string rookie QB. And that makes me a good mom.