Being a mom is a lonely calling, especially if you’re the main caregiver for your kids. When you spend most of your time with people who are less than five feet tall and have minimal conversation skills, it’s easy to second-guess yourself. Most of the time you’re parenting, you have no one to compare thoughts with, no one to help you brainstorm, no one to tell you that what you’re feeling and doing is totally normal.
So let me tell you right now: what you’re feeling and doing is totally normal.
Don’t believe me? Think you’re the first one to try desperate measures to get your kids to bed or calm yourself during a tantrum? Think again. You’re not alone. Here are just a few of the things that every mom has tried at some point. If you haven’t tried these yet, don’t worry — you will.
1. Offered candy bribes before breakfast.
I try to hold off on feeding my kids sugar till at least 10 am. But potty training can throw a damper on your best-laid plans. I don’t even use bribes for potty training, but after the fifth morning of cleaning pee off the Thomas train tracks, I gave my toddler a piece of chocolate to persuade him to sit on the potty. I’m not ashamed. It worked.
2. Tucked your screaming, kicking kid under your arm and carried them out of a store like a football.
One minute, your grocery trip is going fine. The next minute, your toddler’s throwing a fit over the sugar cereal you refuse to buy. And twenty minutes later, you’re dragging your kid out while everyone in the store gives you dirty looks. Believe me when I say your child’s public tantrum is no reflection on your parenting. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t have kids yet. And if you see some other hapless parent doing this, please don’t give them a dirty look. Give them an encouraging smile and thank your lucky stars that today it’s their turn today instead of yours.
3. Told private stories about your kids to strangers.
You don’t have to be a mom blogger to do this — although we bloggers are known for it. I’ve posted stories about my kids that will probably embarrass them when they’re older (and no, I’m not going to link). There are things out there on the internet that I might regret writing someday. It’s not the end of the world. And if you find yourself talking the ear off a stranger at the playground about how your baby wouldn’t sleep last night, well, you’re not the first one to overshare when you finally get a minute of adult conversation.
4. Felt bored of your kids.
You know how they say the days are long but the years are short? That’s true, and every mom knows it, but the part about the days being long is more true. Especially when your kids are little. Especially when it’s 11 am and you’ve been up since 6 but you haven’t peed yet or made coffee but everyone else has peed on every conceivable surface in the house. Those days are very long. And they are both unbearably busy and unbelievably boring at the exact same time. That’s the gig. We all feel this way.
And there is nothing exciting about watching your toddler move a train back and forth across the exact same section of track very slowly. There just isn’t.
5. Judged other parents.
Before I had kids, I honestly believed I could learn a great deal about the character of a parent by observing their children. Then I had a baby, and I honestly believed that everyone who didn’t make the same parenting choices I did was not as good a parent as I was. Then she became a toddler, and I realized that I had a lot less influence over her behavior than I thought. Then I had a second baby, and I realized I used to be an idiot.
It’s okay if you feel a little judgy sometimes. But karma will get you for that. Always.
6. Wished you could go back to before you had kids.
Look, it doesn’t mean you wish you didn’t have your kids. It’s just that sometimes, you wish you could sleep in past 7 on a Saturday morning. Or at the very least, you wish you could go back in time to when you used to stay in bed till noon every Saturday and pee all by yourself, just so you can appreciate the luxury of your life then. You want to go tap your twentysomething self on the shoulder and tell her how good she has it. And also to quit worrying about her weight because her stomach will never look that good again.
7. Hid in the closet with wine.
If you’ve never locked yourself in the closet with a bottle of wine to shut out the sound of screaming, all I can say is you must not have a three year old yet.
Feeling alone as a mom? Worry that you’re doing everything wrong? Join the Supermom community so you can read about how much worse a parent I am than you are.