Every night before I go to bed, I follow the same, almost involuntary routine: I replay the day in my head, and focus in on the moments I consider to be my “bad mom” moments.
Moments where I was short with my kids, moments where I lost my patience, moments where I didn’t play with them when they asked because I was trying to finish the dishes or dinner.
I replay them over and over, letting the guilt settle deep into my heart as if the resulting pain I feel serves as a punishment for the fact that I could have done better. I fall asleep every night telling myself to use that pain as motivation to be a better mom the next day, but it always leaves me feeling defeated and disappointed in myself.
Yesterday, not only did I finally recognize this routine, but I realized just how unhealthy it was. So, last night, I decided to do something different. When I replayed the day in my head, instead of zeroing in on my “bad mom” moments, I decided to focus on my good ones. Ones where I empathized with my 2 year old who was having a rough moment, ones where I apologized to them for being short with them, ones where I read the same book 10 times with the same gusto as the first time I read it because they wanted to read it “again, mama!”
Do you know what happened? I fell asleep with a smile, and this morning when I woke up, I had an extra bounce of happiness in my step (which is saying something, because without fail, my babies like to start the day at 6am sharp). I was a better mom today. When I faced a tough moment with my kids, it was much easier to react positively because I remembered that I was able to do it the day before.
The lesson? Let’s stop beating ourselves up, mamas. As much as we want to, we cannot and will never be the perfect parent. We are going to have cringe-worthy moments with our kids. We’re going to mess up. Instead of focusing on that, let’s remember the moments after: where we own our mistakes with our kids, where we have fun, positive connections with them, where they give you a look that melts your heart and makes everything worth it.
Our time with our children is SO short. I know when I look back, I want to remember all the positive moments. Don’t you?