Dissecting the #Momfail Attitude

Words on Wednesday


How many times have you seen those hashtags used on social media this week? Today?

How many times have you used them?

A couple days ago my twelve year old daughter and I had a full on, screaming, door slamming, ugly cry-face fight that left me thinking in hashtags like these. It also left me quite shaken. So much so that it’s been impossible to think straight, make any headway on any creative tasks, and generally, left me feeling like a zombie. I’d love to be able to throw in some witty reference to The Walking Dead here but I don’t watch the show (because, ew!) so I’ll just say that caffeine is my best friend at the moment! And my iPhone calendar. Thank goodness somebody knows where I’m supposed to be at any given time!

The reasons behind the fight are unimportant (but for all you young people out there – coming to your parents at 11PM when they are just trying to catch up on a million hours of PVR’d shows they don’t have time to watch anymore because they’re always driving you and your sisters hither and yon, and you’re supposed to have gone to bed two hours before, to cry about how awful it is that there are so many stray cats and dogs in the world, is NOT A GOOD IDEA! ‘Nuff said!) but the aftermath will have repercussions for years. And hopefully not just for me!

Her comments of what a mean Mom I am don’t bug me. I am a mean Mom! Thank God! She’s the fantastic kid she is because I’m a mean Mom that believes in boundaries, early bedtimes and restrictions on the internet!I had the meanest Mum ever and she was THE BEST! Twenty-eight years ago today I lost her and my Dad. Talk about life changing events! I am the mean Mom today because I had a mean Mum who loved me fiercely, taught me right from wrong, allowed me to fail, helped me get back up, and let me know she believed in me no matter what.

I hope I am doing that for my girls. Every day the weight of what I have to teach them threatens to crush me. I guess that’s what broke me the other day more than any words she slung at me as she stormed upstairs. My job is SO important! Not the part where I cook healthy dinners or drive her and her friends to band and dance and soccer, but the part where I model what a strong, independent, God fearing, loving, wife, mother and woman looks like. That’s the part that I feel I am failing her on.

I went to university but failed out and left to travel and pursue a deeper knowledge of myself rather than microbiology. The fact that I was dealing with crushing grief that I’d ignored for five years is not important. All the world sees is that I do not have a degree. It’s right there in black and white on my resume. “Attended UBC, degree incomplete”. Instead I drifted from job to job until landing a fairly lucrative position through a friend. I didn’t really give much thought to “what I wanted to be when I grew up” because all I ever really knew I wanted was to be a Mom. When my husband came along it seemed like a good time to start that career. And we did. And I stayed home. I still had inheritance money that allowed that and we got help from his parents who also valued having a parent at home.

But that didn’t last. Eventually that money dried up and I went back to work. I got a part time job with evening and weekend hours that suited our schedules. I could still be the Mom during the day and then go out once my husband got home, and earn a bit of spending money. Pocket money if you will. Because in the area we live, one income is not enough to support a family of five! But pretty soon I realized that my family was living a life as a family while I was just drifting in and out of the frame on my days off. I could count on one hand how many family dinners we had in a month. I lost track of how many hikes, walks on the dyke, barbecues, family birthdays and other fun events I had to miss because I’d been scheduled to work that day. The meagre pay that was helping offset the exorbitant cost of living around here wasn’t worth the time apart any more!

So I quit.

It’s been almost a year and I still haven’t gone back to work.

I had every intention of finding something new, something closer to home, something where my evenings and most of my weekends could be spent with my family. But that seems impossible to find. As my kids get older, they get busier, and I get less and less able to handle it all. Quite honestly, I’d be very happy for them to simply go to school. Period. End of story!

But that’s a rant for another day!

Somehow my worth as a person seems to be tied to how much money I can add to the family bank account. My contributions to the family welfare bank are overlooked. My investments in our daughters future well being and ability to lead successful, fulfilling lives, are marginalized. My attempts to earn money doing what I know I can do (make cards and be creative) are scorned.

It’s enough to give a girl a complex! And I’d say I’ve got that covered and then some!!

During our make up session, my daughter told me how she really feels about me. She thinks I am the strongest person she knows. That I’m the best mom ever. She hopes to be just like me when she grows up.

Oh, honey, thank you! And, I hope you become so much more than me!

Despite the screaming, the sobbing in the shower, and the slamming of doors, I loved how close I felt to her after we calmed down. Sitting on the edge of her bed sharing my deepest failings and hearing her reassurances made me realize that I AM doing something right. I’m not a #momfailure! I’m a #momwinner!!

So here’s to all the other #momwinners out there! It is so true that the days are long but the years are short. Let’s all remember to lift each other up instead of judging and dividing. We are all doing the very best we can with what we have been given. Some days I do better than others. But I’ll continue to fight the good fight. My girls are worth every tear I shed and every “debate” I have with my husband over staying home vs taking some Joe Job just so our bank account can be in the black all the time!

Oh, and yes, I will find employment somewhere. As long as it allows me to put my primary job first. Because, I’m a MOM! That’s what defines my every action and the sooner the rest of the world comes to grips with that, the better.

Me too!

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