Like a lot of people, I criticize myself when I don’t do things perfectly. When I don’t say things perfectly. When I feel that others think I’m not perfect or not worth their friendship. Most of all, I judge myself constantly on whether I am a good mom. I think the criticizing becomes worse as a young mother because you already have others judging you and watching your every move so it can make you doubt yourself and your abilities even more.
Back when my first son was two years old, I remember taking him to my best friend, Chicken’s (one of my weird nicknames for her which started out as Chick in high school but progressed to Chicken). She lived with her sister and her sister’s husband since their mother had passed away while we were in high school and they chose to stay together.
Like many of you know, I had my oldest in my senior year of high school so I didn’t speak to most of my friends anymore and my best friend didn’t have any children so she couldn’t quite understand what it took to actually have a baby and raise a child.
We had been at Chicken’s house for almost the whole day so we were waiting for my husband to come pick us up. Chicken’s niece’s toys were stacked in its toy bin in the living room. So being that Dukey was the only child there at first, he played with her toys most of the day but as soon as her niece came in and tried to play with the toys with him…war began.
He had one of his little temper tantrums right there on the floor, screaming, kicking, almost knocking their glass table over. I tried to calm him down and pick him up off the floor but he just kept going. Her sister just stared in amazement and shock. She seemed even a little angry that I had this crazy little tyrant acting a fool in her house. Then, my husband knocked on the door and when her sister opened it, Dukey instantly stopped his tantrum. Everybody laughed at how quickly he stopped once daddy came in.
However, deep down inside I couldn’t stop judging the fact that I panicked and couldn’t handle him. I started to think that maybe people were right about this whole parenting thing and the fact that I was too young.
Sometimes I still find myself going back to that day and wishing I had known what to do but the fact of the matter is kids don’t come with manuals and situations like that happen to everybody no matter what age their mom is. I know I came a long way from that and I know what to do when my children are about to have one of their moments as well as when they are in the middle of one. I try not to stress myself out when things go wrong because when I actually sit down and think about it, there’s a lot more things that I do right.
The fact that I am obsessed with not allowing my children to eat junk regularly (meaning less than once a month), my dedication to reading to them at least 3 times a week (and their love of books because of it), taking the time to watch videos and explain certain biblical values I want to instill in my oldest when he doesn’t understand. Those are some of the reasons that I know I am not such a bad parent, young or not. So when I focus on those things instead of the times that things are going bad, I’ll be that much better as a parent.