One evening a few months ago, my 10-year-old came running into the house crying that his little brother broke his thumb. Assuming he was being overly dramatic—as he so often does when it comes to injuries inflicted by his brother—I briefly examined him, wrapped his hand in ice and told him to go get ready for bed. A few minutes later, I gave him some Motrin, kissed his booboo and tucked him into bed. Yeah it was a little swollen, but all they were doing was shooting a few hoops in the driveway. How much damage could have been done? He’s fine, I thought.
I thought wrong.
It seems that while I was resting comfortably in my own bed, he was in so much pain that he slept with his hand under a pile of stuffed animals so that they could “keep it protected.”
The next morning, he woke me up bright and early to ask if his hand was supposed to be “puffy and purple.”
Um… definitely not!
One doctor visit and an X-Ray later, it was confirmed that my boy had, in fact, broken his thumb. And I, his obviously irresponsible mother, had brushed off his injury as though it was nothing.
How could I have overlooked something so big? How could I not have known the extent to which he was suffering? How could I have neglected to notice the severity of his injury?
Before I had kids, I would look at other moms in judgment. I had a set idea in my head of what constituted a good mom—and much of what I’d observed was not it. Oh yeah I judged them—and with good right: they were doing it wrong. I knew that when I became a mom, I would not be like them. I would not be that mom.
Then I became a mom. I became that mom.
I became that mom who’s imperfect in so many ways she’s lost count. I became that mom who, despite her best efforts, continues to make mistakes in the raising of her children. I became that mom who so desperately wants to do right by her kids, but finds herself so often lost and confused as to what to do next.
I became that mom who is flawed.
But that’s okay, because I also became that mom who would move heaven and earth to protect her children. I became that mom who makes it her life’s mission to teach her kids right from wrong. I became that mom who floods her babies with affection and love.
I became that mom who loves her children with every fiber of her being.
Aren’t we all that mom? Don’t we all try our hardest to do right by our kids? And in doing so, don’t we all have our share of successes and failures? Don’t we all experience a mixed bag of feelings in our role as mother?
Don’t we all love our children so much it almost hurts?
Over the past ten years, I have constantly questioned my parenting skills. Some days I think, Yeah, I’ve got this parenting gig down. Other days I think, What makes me think I’m qualified to care for these children? I mean, geeze, I let a 10-year-old boy suffer in his bed with a broken thumb. What kind of mom does that?
A mom who tries her hardest, but sometimes fails.
There is no education that prepares you for the role of mom. Motherhood comes with an massive learning curve—a funky misshaped learning curve with a myriad of unexpected of twists, turns and loop de loops. It is far from an exact science. In the absence of a prescription or formula to guide our efforts, we have no choice but to trust our own internal guidance system in how we raise our children—and accept the mistakes we make along the way.
What kind of mom am I? I am a good mom. I am a flawed mom. I am a mom.