Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are you a good mom?

Hi, my name is Lolly Weed and it has recently come to my attention that I am a good mom.

I want to tell you why. And I want to help you determine if you are one too.

Sometimes I feel like crap. Sometimes I look at all of the adorable things my friends make and pin and post and I wonder why I can't do those things. Why can't I make a brown paper bag look like a turkey complete with caramel popcorn stuffing and a beak that moves? Why don't I have the ingenuity necessary to create a life-size castle playhouse made entirely out of felt and love? I can't. I just can't. I don't sew. I don't paint. I don't decorate. I simply... can't.

I'm just not that kind of person. I've never been that kind of person. In high school my room was about as clean as a landfill, and I was totally cool with that. I just.... don't really care as much about visual presentation as I do about other things. I enjoy it when other people do really cute fun things. But it's just not me, and I'm tired of feeling bad about it.

I'm sick of Mother Shame. Mother Shame is having an image of the perfect mom in your head, and never being able to live up to it while all the other moms around you seem to have it down to an art. That feeling you get when you aren't the idealized version of motherhood you have created in your own mind, and you feel like every other mom around you is? That's Mother Shame.

I think it's time to annihilate Mother Shame.

And it's more than just crafts. It's everything else, too. It's me feeling guilty when my three-year-old doesn't know the alphabet by sight or the sounds of each letter because I feel like most one-year-olds we know have been reading for six months. It's when I'm in church and Tessa is climbing over the pews pretending that she's Sophia the First, and I feel like the only mom that doesn't have control over her kids. It's when I'm at the grocery store, an old lady whispers "Ma'am, you're child shouldn't be standing up. She might get hurt," and suddenly I want to punch a grandma in the face. Because clearly she has never had children. Or perhaps they didn't have shopping carts back when she was a mom.

All of these things are Mother Shame. And they all have to go.

The thing that I have recently realized is that I am just fine exactly the way I am.

It's time to shed light on what my life actually looks like, and simply celebrate who I actually am.

If I were to document the reality of one of my days on Pinterest, it would look something like this:


I started out the day by organizing my closet.

P.S. this is the "after" photo

I first picked up some hangers that were on the floor and hung them up! I'm really super excited to see where the rest of this organizational project takes me. I think it's really starting to come along well.

Next, I went downstairs to make my girls this super adorable hand-picked lunch.

All natural!

I handpicked most of these amazing finds at Costco! That's a really amazing feat because there is a lot of stuff at Costco and I managed to find all of these wonderful kid-friendly treasures. (Never mind that those are Halloween goldfish and it's almost Thanksgiving.)

I'm feeling really good about myself--about how healthy it is--because at first I was going to send them with this:

Don't worry. There's a fruit snack at the bottom. 

So, yes, another victory for me as a mom!! Go me!

After I sent my older girls off on the bus (wearing my workout clothes because I was contemplating working out that day even though I never did and just didn't bother to change or even shower all day) I began the day with my preschooler. We decided to do a little decorating project together.

"I drew a pretty picture, Mommy!"

Now, I don't want to take all the credit for this creative piece on our wall. I did walk in on her after she had hung up her "artwork" and taken marker to the wall, so I didn't actually contribute all that much. But, there is now an amazing work of beauty hanging up on my wall and so I've got to pin that, right?

A few hours later, I walked in on this:


A successful poop in the potty!! And when she had wiped her own tush by herself and had gotten residual poo in places it shouldn't be and then remarked "My poo is just like paint!" I was so proud that my daughter has a refined ability to notice different textures and ways of expressing herself in this world.

This is my life. This is what being a mom is for me. This is what it actually looks like.

And do you know what's really sad? I find myself saying the phrase "I'm such a bad mom!" several times a day, as if my worth as a mother can ping pong back and forth on an hourly basis based on the things I do and don't do.

At 6:30 a.m. I woke up and was a "good" mom because I woke up at 6:30 a.m. before my kids were awake and had the intention of getting something done.

At 6:45 a.m. I was a "bad" mom because I turned on the TV and let my kids have "screen time" before school.

At 7:15 a.m. I was a "good" mom because I contemplated making my kids a hot breakfast.

At 7:16 a.m. I was a "mediocre" mom because I gave them Cheerios instead. I wasn't a "bad" mom though because it was Cheerios instead of Reese's Puffs (like they ate yesterday, back when I was a "bad" mom).

At 8:00 a.m. I was a "good" mom because I reminded Josh to practice the violin with Anna.

At 8:45 a.m. I was a "bad" mom because I yelled at my kids to put their dang shoes on for the 11th time that morning because we were going to miss the bus!

Does my worth as a mom fluctuate based on the little things I do and don't do? The answer is no. Human worth is unchanging. We can't base it on comparison, and that's what this "good/bad mom" paradigm is: comparison. Comparison robs us of our unique worth. It lies to us. It tells us we are not good enough when we actually are.

We are all different and we all have equal worth.

As I stop and think of all of the wonderful mothers that I know--they are all so diverse. I can't even think of two moms that are exactly the same. Suffer with me through this cheesy analogy, and please don't gag as I say this, but mothers are like flowers. We come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. What a shame for a daisy to waste her days feeling depressed and guilty that she is not a rose! That is what I have been doing. I've been feeling sorry for myself and my children because I am not a rose. The truth is that my girls don't want a rose, they want me. There is only one Lolly--and I'm not even a flower, I'm a Weed. (Do you see what I did there? ) I have interests, talents, aptitudes, and passions that make me unique--and that make me a special mom.

Do you think my girls care that my house is dirty at this moment?

So, this Thanksgiving my girls will not wake up to hand sewn pilgrims lying next to them on their pillows, nor will there be a handcrafted cornucopia stuffed with fresh fruit at our breakfast table. (Other kids in the world have moms for whom that kind of thing is a strength, and that is totally wonderful. But that's not me, and that is wonderful too.) Instead, my girls will get a chocolate See's turkey alongside their bowl of Reese's Puffs. And, yes, I will let them eat it after breakfast even though it's candy because it's a holiday.

Perhaps the government committee that put together the food chart would frown down upon this choice, but guess what? I'm still a good mom making one decision on one day based on a certain set of circumstances in my life. And it's my life. And no one can accurately assess it but me. So, I just need to let what others think of me go. I need to let it all go and not worry about what the imaginary group of fictitious moms who live inside my head and criticize me daily say. Because those ladies are a bunch of judgmental Barbie Dolls who aren't even real. Most real moms out there would not judge me at all. And any who would judge my mommy skills are not the kind of people who would be my BFFs anyway.

Here's the truth that I have been realizing lately. It sounds so simple that it's easy to brush off and sometimes I forget it, but it's made a huge difference in how I've been thinking.

I'm a mom. I'm a good person. Therefore I'm a good mom.

The same goes for you. Are you generally a good person who tries your best every single day? And are you a mom?

Then you are a good mom. Period.

This formula always works. For example, let's say you see that your friend has put vegetables cut into the shape of hearts into their child's lunchbox. You instantly think "I'm such a bad mom! I never do anything cute like that for my kids' lunch. Wait--I never even put vegetables in my kids' lunch!" This is the moment when you have to insert the formula. Are you a mom? Yes. Are you a good person trying to do her best? Yes. Then you are a good mom. And no amount of heart shaped vegetables is going to change that. No matter what is happening in your life, you can count on this truth. If you are a good person who is trying her hardest and you are a mom, then by the Law of Motherhood Transitivity, you are a good mom.

No pin on Pinterest can prove this or take this away from you. No amount of "screen time" will change this. No meal you cook, no bathroom you clean, no parent teacher conference you forget, and no screaming match with a five-year-old you engage in will ever affect this. No accomplishment or failure of you or your child will add to or take away from this truth.

It just...is. You are a good mom. I am a good mom.

We're all good moms.

We're all doing the best we can, and we're all winning. And our kids are so, so, lucky to have us.

It's as simple as that.





I am Anna's mom. I am Viva's mom. I am Tessa's mom. And that makes me special.

You are (insert your child's name)'s mom. And that makes you special.

Nobody who matters is judging you. Don't judge yourself.

You are a good mom.


89 comments:

  1. Wonderfully written, thank you! I have found myself falling into the trap of calling myself a rubbish mum when things don't go quite right. I too am guilty of listening to the 'Barbie mums' in my head! Just what I needed to read! Today, I will focus on the good things I do with & for my children! Thank you :)

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  2. I never comment on blogs but I have to say I loved this soo much! I seriously had to stop going on pinterest because it just made me feel bad about myself.

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  3. Beautiful post! and oh, so true. When I had three children and was so morning sick I only left the couch when I really, really had to use the bathroom I made the amazing discovery that my kids loved me and wanted me and wanted to be near me even though I was doing absolutely NOTHING for them. I also received the knowledge that I was of value to God completely apart from any accomplishment. On bad days I can go back to that feeling and just draw it around me for comfort. However, there are always sneaky pitfalls . . . now that my children have left home I've found myself looking back and saying, "I really goofed there," "I should have handled this so differently." So I needed your post. I was a good mom and I'm a great grandma! (even though I only have grandkids!)

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  4. Thank you, Lolly! You are a good mom. I am in awe of you and all that you do and have done. We are all different and I am so glad because if I were like those crafty moms I would probably go insane! Hehe. I love it when you post for Josh. Keep up the good work!

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  5. This post made me cry! I love your writing and I think you should do guest post more often! : ) Have a great day with your girlies!

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  6. Love this!
    PS. I'm so jealous that you get to leave for the elementary school bus over an hour later than we do...

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  7. Thank you, thank you! That post was perfect. I cannot express how much hope that post gave me.

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  8. Excellent! I learned a while back that we usually compare our worst self to what we think we see as others' best selves. (Not well written, but I hope you get the gist.) I am not her. I am me!

    Thank you for posting!!

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  9. LOVE this! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think all moms feel like the bad mom. Even those moms whose children wear matching clothing WITH accessories (I don't even do that! Why should my kids?!) are trying to avoid feeling like the bad mom by making everything look absolutely Pottery Barn catalog perfect.

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  10. Lolly, this post was so wonderful and something I really needed! I just wrote on fb today "I'm such a bad mom!" because I missed an assembly at school where Leah and Anya both were recognized for something. My view on things are the same as yours but I find myself on the other end of things- I don't think of making crafty things for my kids as being a good mom at all, and when people associate that with being a good mom I do not get it at ALL...but I have associated other things- like showing up to assemblies where your kids are being recognized, or making them practice piano and doing homework on time and lots of other things. I attach my worth to stuff like that all the time, too only when I do it, like if I don't do it I don't care but when I do it I'm like "ah, good mom day today." That's unhealthy and comparative too and I'm trying to stop! Then when something like the assembly thing comes up I can be easier on myself and know uh, I just forgot. I still jumped up and down when they came home and told me about it and I still showed them love.

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  11. Love, love, love this! You captured mommy guilt/shame so well and dispelled it wonderfully. I am definitely going to share this! You *are* a good mom, for sure. :)

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  12. This is why I love Lolly so much. FYI - my favorite flowers are daisies and "wildflowers" (aka Weeds). I've always known Lolly was an awesome mom (kind of hard not to be when she's just such an awesome person in general). Now if only I could remember how awesome of a mom I am while my kids are arguing about who the better parent in our family is (yes, they have that argument frequently).

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  13. You rock! Thank you for making me feel like a GOOD mom today!

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  14. This is awesome! I both teared up and laughed out loud reading this. Thank you for this wonderful post.

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  15. Ah, Lolly, you were suffering from Model Mormon Mother Syndrome! I used to have that, too, when my kids were young. House was never spotless, I never completed a craft project at Homemaking/Enrichment night, I didn't have dinner on the table at the exact same time each day...and on and on. We can spend our days beating ourselves up because we don't achieve someone else's model of "perfection" or we can look and see the good in the relationships we have with our children. I promise you, in 20 years, your kids won't remember if the house was messy or decorated as if it came out of House Beautiful or if they had perfectly nutritional lunches and breakfasts every day. What they will remember is the time you spent nurturing them, paying attention to them, playing with them. You're a good mom, Lolly, just keep doing what you're doing. If you ask me, Pinterest is a big time suck that takes you away from spending time with your children.

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    1. I love the Model Mormon Mother Syndrome name for this problem! It's so true! I think most mothers feel like "bad" moms on occasion but especially within the church being a "good" mom is equated to being righteous or worthy when in fact that is not true. Being a good mom is not a competition and being righteous should certainly not be either. Remember what Elder Uchtdorf said and forget not to lose the comparison.

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  16. This was perfect! Thank you for sharing such an important message.

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  17. I really love this. I think every mom has to get to this same place--where we realize that exactly what we are is enough. Nothing external determines our worth as a mother or a woman. And I mean NOTHING.

    There is someone that we are both friends with that is VERY different from me. What she values in mothering is completely different from my own expectations for myself. Yet, she has always seemed to be comfortable in her own skin--and I've always admired that about her. I'm finally getting to that place myself and it feels so great. I still have moments, as a person and a mother, when I doubt that who I am is enough, (I think we all do). But now they are only moments, instead of an on-going internal dialogue.

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  19. I am a good mom too. Thanks for reminding me. I started over by adopting two beautiful amazing girls after raising four terrific boys to adulthood. 3 of them in the military and the other one is going to make me a Grandma in June 2014. I am going to be a fabulous Grandma.

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  20. I think the best thing about your article is you pointing out the fact that our feelings of insecurity come from our own heads and what we think others must be thinking, not any real experience. You're right -- most moms out there wouldn't judge, because we're all in the trenches together, as it were. We need to stop judging ourselves!

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  21. Ha ha, this was me yesterday...and probably today! - wearing my workout clothes because I was contemplating working out that day even though I never did and just didn't bother to change or even shower all day...

    I think the best thing we can give our kids is unconditional love. If that is there, the trappings don't matter!

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  22. Every fiber of my being wants to go into that closet and organize those clothes on the hangers by color. I'm fighting to actually avoid buying the tickets to Washington State.

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  23. You already know how I feel about this and how I feel about you. So glad to go through this together and be good moms (who chat all the way through gymnastics and miss our daughters doing something awesome on the balance beam) and good friends. Love you and your beautiful girls, who love and adore you as well. PS You are such a fabulous writer! I love how I can hear your voice as you write. You should hijack the blog more often :)

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  24. You are AWESOME! I don't consider myself a bad mom (I mean there isn't a handbook to abide by, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants here) but I do consider me clueless at being a mom. I look at all of the moms around me and they have such clean houses that are neatly decorated. It took me 3 years to live in my house before I hung up a picture. To top it off my two year old can out smart me and play me like a fiddle. I'm really glad you posted the picture of your closet because mine looks just like that!

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  25. I love this post!!! BRAVO!! I don't do any of those cutsie things either and the day I started to own that was the most liberating day of my life!! I think we are the best moms when we embrace OUR own gifts and personalities, not by trying to be something we aren't and fit a specific and unrealistic mold.

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  26. Thank you SO much Lolly. Feels like I have been a bit inundated with blog posts like these, but your's hits it dead on. My daughter and I have recently (last weekend) moved, and while we are both still acclimating, its all too easy for me to get frustrated with myself, as I don't feel I am spending enough time with her. BUT, she is spending time with her cousins, playing in the other room. Giggling her head off, and learning to share, and having a blast. And, in part thanks to these posts, I find it super easy to calmly go to the stairs, get the attention of a 2 1/2 year old (I think I got it), and ask her nicely to not scream quite so loud. Its a huge change from two weeks ago. But, like you said, I am still a good mom. Always have been, always will be. No one else could love my little girl like I do. My bedroom is a disaster (your closet looks SO clean, lol. My room is filled with boxes, my closet filled with plastic bags of clothes I have yet to go through, and may never), but she has everything she needs.
    So thank you, thank you, thank you! You are an awesome example, and I am going to work on letting go of the small things. One day those boxes will get unpacked, but for now, I am going to enjoy life. And enjoy the moments of not having to watch her constantly (unless of course the Silence of Doom descends). And know that I am a good mom, and I am the best mom for my daughter.

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  27. This couldn't have come at a better time. I just got back from the dr after Wesley my 18 month old just threw the worst temper tantrum in the office and made me feel like the "worst mom". Thanks for the reminder that I am lucky to even be a mom and get to go through these fun times with my kids. Thanks for your wisdom and example. It has totally helped turn my day around and I won't let that experience at the dr ruin my day!

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  28. So, I'm at work and reading your blog over my lunch break and I come to a certain spot and I start to cry. My fingers are covered in Cheetos dust and I can't reach my keyboard unless I first move the hamburger wrapper that is covering it but I tell myself that I MUST COMMENT on this post. And what must I say? Well, actually, I'm not quite sure. Except that, I need to say Thank You.

    I know I'm not a horrible mother but for some reason I just can't stop telling myself that I'm a bad mom. I work long hours. I weigh more than I should. I let my kids eat dinner in front of the TV. I can't seem to ever find time to organize family photos or clean the stove. But, in what crazy mixed up universe does all of that translate to...I'm a bad mom. How does my "goodness" hinge on my ability to keep the dining room clear of laundry baskets? Where did this idea even come from? To think that mothers are only good mothers if they are perfect is like telling a teenager they are only a good kid if they are perfect. It doesn't even make sense.

    So, why then, can I not manage to convince myself that I'm okay? That I'm doing the best I can and that's okay. I'm raising my healthy beautiful children in a loving Christian household so shouldn't that be enough? I bet that for God, and my children, it is. And it should be for me too.

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  29. Thank you so much for this! I won't get into why this was right for me today. It just was. Thanks for writing it.

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  30. Lolly, I'm going to say it, I love you, and I love what you stand for. There are so many times I look at our tiny little home and think "I'm a bad mom, I just can't keep up". Yes, the laundry is washed, dried...and thrown in a laundry basket rather than hung up, but my child (and soon to be children) are loved, fed, clothed. I try my best not to yell, but there are days, days I've reached my absolute limit and I'm in tears, stressed and exhausted from a child that refuses to listen. I'm sort of craftsy but I always look at these perfect pins and thing "I wish I could do that". That should never determine whether I'm a good or bad mom.

    We're all learning as we go and that is what we're here for, not to be perfect. I need to put something on my desk that says "I'm a good mom" as a constant and daily reminder. Thank you.

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  31. I needed this today. Thank you Lolly.

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  32. I want to cry too! Lolly you are so funny and so RIGHT! thanks for this post!

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  33. AuntSue
    My six children are all grown and have given me 18 grandchildren. As I look back to when I was raising my children, there are many mistakes and not so great days. I did learn from my mistakes and did better the next time, but with each child there were always new ways to make mistakes. Hmm, each child presented new motheringchallenges! But always, I was being the best mother I could be, given the health and family challenges of that time. If I could go back in time to do it all over, I would probably do about the same, given the same challenges in the family. And now, I am learning new and better ways of grandmothering with each new grandchild. Being the best grandmother I can each day, that is all I can do. And I am a good mom and a good grandmom.

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  34. Such a wonderful post. A great reminder to all of us, no matter what our roles in life, that we are good mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, whatever, just the way we are.

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  35. I'm not even a mom and I teared up at this post. Also I laughed, a lot. This is why I love you guys. I'm sending this to MY mom and all my sisters who are moms. :) Yay!!

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  36. So true! Thanks for the reminder. And you know what, Lolly? When you get to the place you've reached mentally, you are so much happier and you enjoy yourself, your kids and your day so much more. We should all! Why not? Just let yourself be happy with the way you are, what you get done or don't get done and just be happy. There's just no reason not to.

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  37. Well stated, Lolly!! I am going to share this link with my daughter in law, who is expecting her first child in May...who is also my FIRST GRANDCHILD!! I'm so excited!! :) And trust me..it's not just the Momolympics that women struggle with...I have grown kids (who technically are stepchildren, but I don't use the step part--they're MY KIDS). I have a career. I find myself wondering why I can't do X or manage Y "like all the other women I know..." But the thing is...not all of those who do X or Y can even think about doing the A, B and C that I do daily without thinking anything of it. Perhaps womankind can join together and resolve to STOP JUDGING OURSELVES in 2014 and beyond. What a world that would be!

    P.S. You are a GOOD MOM!

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  38. Thank you so much! This really hit home!

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  39. Amen Lolly! This topic has been on my mind lately, especially the last couple of days. I'm doing my very best to be the best mom I can and I feel my weaknesses have been very apparent lately in this area, sometimes causing me to question if I actually am a good mom. I know I am but it's hard sometimes. You're right about the comparison thing. It's so easy to do and I believe it's one of Satan's most effective tools. I also had someone make a very rude and judgmental comment to me yesterday at a play group at the library. The comment was about my parenting skills and was very condescending. After I, too, nearly punched her in the face, I felt very down for most of the day and felt like I'll never be that mom I aspire to be. But you're right - those who judge us don't know what it's like to be in our situations. I told that woman to her face I'm a good parent and I believe I am. This post was just such perfect timing I had to comment. You're an amazing mom and your girls are very lucky to have you and Josh as their parents. Keep on keepin' on. It's not an easy job, that's for sure. :)

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  40. P.S. Your closet looks just like ours. :)

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  41. Thank you!! I only have one kid and in his short 4 months I have felt like a bad mom many, many times. Thank you for the formula: it is going on a post-it note in every room in the house.

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  42. Also, I blogged about this very thing a while ago: http://ashleyschultz.blogspot.com/2013/10/mommy-wins.html

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  43. I sort of felt that way when I was a younger mom...there were times when I felt like was a good mom when the table was cleared of an had a nice centerpiece on it, the counters in the kitchen were clean and the kids clothes were all put away. And then they'd come home from school. ;) There were many times when the house was a mess and the kitchen was a mess and it was all I could do to get laundry done and diapers changed and food on the table. I look back at those days now, (my hubby and I refer to them as the ten years of fog) and wonder why I don't have more psychotic children. They aren't perfect, but for the most part they are contributing to society and working on their futures. I didn't always respond the best to situations, I wasn't a cuddly huggy mom, and I still don't. I'm more huggy with grandkids...go figure. I love my granddaughters, but I don't think I'm a perfect grandma either, so such is life. But I remember when I read an article or book by the Eyers that suggested every mom should have a mommy's weekend. That was something that totally saved my sanity, because my hubby bought into it and insisted I needed them. I didn't get them every year, but I did get them and those three or four days all to myself were wonderful.
    so...anyway. Good blog as usual. You guys are awesome. ;)

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  44. Thank you for posting this. My depression has been getting me down and I have been feeling like a "bad mom". The other night my son stopped playing his video game, turned to be and said "you are the best mommy I could ever have", then went back to playing the game. The one person who it really matters if I am a good mom or a bad mom thinks I am the best mommy for him. I must be doing something right.

    PS I can be a bit of the over-achiever mom as I just sewed my son an Inn Keepers outfit for the Ward Christmas Celebration.... sewing is the one thing I am good at and never doubt myself about.

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  45. Lolly, do you have the book, 'You are Special'? I love how this book shows us that we aren't 'good' or 'bad'...we are wonderful because the Lord made US. That makes us special. My days go a lot better when I recognize what I am doing right, that I am actively trying, and when I acknowledge my limitations. The more I try not to compare my worst days with someone else's best, the happier I am. This isn't just a mom thing, it is a life thing!

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  46. Well said Lolly! I can't wait to forward your post to all the mom's I know.

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  47. Love this!! It's so hard to watch yourself constantly make mistakes as a mom when you want to be so perfect for these sweet kids. It can be crippling. I wish my self-critiquing had an "off" button.

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    1. See I think I'm weird. I actually don't want to be perfect for my children. I think it helps them to grow up and be more "go with the flow". Those times when we are running late in the morning are the times they've learned how to pack their own lunch. The times that the laundry is piling up are the times when I throw all their clothes in the pile and tell them they have to find their clothes themselves and make this pile disappear. The times that they want some sort of junk foody thing like mac n cheese are the times that I say "Fine. You're old enough to read directions you can make this yourself" and they learn to really follow box directions and learn to turn on the stove etc.. I just think lots of good learning happens when Mom isn't obsessed with making their world a perfect oyster.

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  48. Loved this, love your girls and love you! You are amazing! - Korrin

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  49. I'm not a wife or a mother. I'm a recent college grad, finishing up a competitive unpaid internship across the country from everyone I've ever known, and beginning to apply for jobs across the country. My little one bedroom apartment is a mess and I've got homework left to do. I'm constantly berating myself because I'm not married or a mother and I often think "If I can't take care of a house when it's just me living here, how will I ever be a good wife and mother in the future." I know that thinking is self defeating, and in my quest to stop such negative thinking, I end up berating myself more "Man why do you think such terrible things about yourself? Good people don't beat themselves up like you do." It's a vicious, exhausting, never-ending cycle. This post and many of the conference talks from October are just what I need to help break the cycle. Thanks for your post, I don't feel so alone anymore.

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  50. I myself read this post as my kids watched too much TV and I procrastinated making dinner - a feast of healthy deliciousness, by the way ... you know, grilled cheese on white bread and tomato soup from a box. And don't even get me started on the overflowing sink full of dirty dishes ... no really, don't get me started, I'll get to them when I'm good and ready! :) Thank you for posting this ... it's especially timely right now with the holidays just around the corner and so many opportunities to see ourselves as failures when we're really not!!!

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    1. Lolly, as your mom I would like you to know that I KNOW you are a great mom. I am so proud of how you are raising and teaching my three beautiful little granddaughters. You have always been so hard on yourself so I am glad to see you come to this realization and write such a moving piece that I know others will find very inspiring. I love you, I love Josh, and I love my Anna,Viva and Tessa. Thanks for being their wonderful wife and mother.

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  51. I started reading this post, thinking it was going to be real. Instead, after I read it, I found it to be real, alright. Real offensive. You were making fun of moms and women who take mothering seriously. And why you would ever want to punch anyone in the face, even a grandma, when she was trying to protect YOUR child? Wow lady you got it all wrong.

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    1. I think you missed the point. The point is that she DOES take mothering seriously. (When you aren't seriously engaged in something, you don't bother to wonder whether or not you are doing a good job at it.) The point is that there is no one "Perfect Mother" archetype that we are all supposed to become - we all have different strengths and we are all at different points in our own journeys. I personally like to make homemade Halloween costumes for my kids because I enjoy it. But that doesn't make me a better mom than someone who buys costumes (or a worse mom, for that matter). It just makes me MY kind of mom. There are some women to whom a homemade costume is an impossibility. Well, the point of this post is: So what? So what if I can see and you can't? So what if you can keep a closet organized and I can't? So what if Lolly can write humerously about her personal feelings and put her private feelings out there for others to examine and I can't? So what if my next door neighbor can do x,y,or z with her family and I can't? Motherhood is not a Spelling Bee with only one set of correct answers. It's a lot more like an art exhibit - some sculpture, some photography, some oil paintings, some watercolors, some installations that consist of piles of blankets or thousands of packets of duck sauce glued to a canvas. Would you walk up to a Van Gough and announce that his understanding of art was offensive and that he wasn't even TRYING to be like Monet (or vice versa)? Of course not. They (like we) have different strengths and weaknesses, but that doesn't mean they are not each great in their own way.

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    2. I want to punch grandmas in the face too who tell me to sit my kids down. It is none of their business. Maybe we are trying our best to get our kids to sit down and it won't work. Maybe we are tired of hearing ourselves over and over and over again say "sit down. You will fall." I am so sick of people who judge and think they can do a better job than everyone else can. Are you a person who NEVER gives her kids pop or NEVER gives he kids mcdonald's??? Parenting....like life doesn't always have to be taken so freakin' seriously. I think you missed the humor in that part of Lolly's post. and I think Lolly did an awesome job on this post. She was spot on!!!

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    3. I'm about to rant because this is my pet peeve in life.
      I'm sorry, but I will tell my kids to sit down in the cart until I am hoarse and I say it with the "demon eyes" so they know I mean business. Like "somebody call in an exorcist because if you don't sit yo ass down in that cart there will be hell to pay."
      I was at the grocery store many years ago (before I had kids) and this mom said to her two year old (who was standing up in the seat part of the cart) in this sing song-y voice "Sit down, honey! Hurry! Sit down!" She spent probably two minutes cheerfully encouraging her sweetie to sit down. Now, as one who had not yet spawned, perhaps it was not my place to judge. But in my mind occurred the thought that you tell them once- maybe twice- to sit down. After that, you forcibly sit them down or pull their legs through the cart holes until their little rumps thud down on the seat. Then you shake your finger a bit. Repeat until they get the picture. Your kids are only born with one cranium in life so you need to protect it from the hard Walmart floor.
      Nothing as annoying as seeing a one year old standing up in the seat part of the cart while mummy is standing several feet away checking out clearance goods.
      One of these days I'm going to make a collage of children standing up in carts at Walmart and post it online I swear to ...
      Sit that child the F down!

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    4. Lighten UP! She was obviously very tongue-in-cheek. I would like someone to write a blog post about moms with no sense of humor, it's an epidemic I tell ya!

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  52. Thanks Lol! I think we all struggle with this. I know I do! Needed this reminder, thanks! You are wonderful!

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  53. Took the words right out of my mouth!

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  54. Lolly my youngest is 8 and the rest are teenagers, but the picture of your daughter backwards in the toilet (it does look like she's IN it not ON it) reminded me of things I was trying to forget lol. Many of those moments brought me to tears but now I look back and say "DANG I've earned my stripes!" Mothering little people is HARD. Much harder than that popcorn stuffed turkey which I also see no point in attempting, unless I absolutely have nothing better to do. We all have different gifts and ways of connecting with our kids and ways of enjoying/tolerating our days together. It took me a while to learn how to give myself a break and just enjoy the crazy ride. And how true that our own thoughts - judging and jumping to conclusions about what others must be thinking of us - have the potential to be our own worst enemy or our biggest (Barbie dare I say?) cheerleader. You are fabulous and I keep thinking how lucky your children, husband and friends are to have and know you:).

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  55. Love this! Lolly you are such a great inspiration. I have really enjoyed following you and Josh over the years- both such wonderful people. This is Hermana Cook, by the way- it's been a long time since we've caught up, but I still feel close to you! Thanks for helping me remember that I am a good mom too!!

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  56. Thanks for this! I will be thinking about it this weekend when I take my 10 year old to see the new Hunger Games movie even though it's PG-13 because he was so intense and into reading it that I wanted to keep that going instead of worrying about ratings. I am not a bad mom! Heck, I'm not even going to feel bad when I let him eat popcorn AND candy:)

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  57. Amen. I'm 28 and I'm still not married. You can imagine the judgement I already experience...but that's not what I want to talk about. See, a couple of years ago I went to counselling to confront my issues with my mom. I didn't get what others would call a great mom. I got a bit short changed. I learned acknowledge all the pain I felt for what I grew up with and what others had. The great thing is that I was able to more fully appreciate all the wonderful things my mom has done. Despite any of her shortcomings I have always known that she loves me and would never wish to intentionally hurt me. See my mom was hurt. She had been abused growing up. Then by the time she had my younger brother she was a wreck physically. She couldn't do things normal moms could. And now when I realize all she's done despite all the challenges, she is absolutely amazing. So, no matter what the atonement can even out the playing field for all of us. Why even waste your time measuring yourself against others? Our circumstances are so different . The only one we are to measure against is ourselves...and even then we have to remember that when we are sick (including being depressed) we can't run at our full capacity. In those times we count our blessings, take things a moment at a time and put ourselves in the Lord's hands.

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  58. Your daughters wouldn't remember those hand carved veggies, but they WILL remember those chocolate turkeys into adulthood! ;)

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  59. My personal theory is that childbirth induces a woman's body to secrete two special hormones. One induces mild amnesia (or nobody would have a second child) and the other induces mommy-guilt, because from that moment on, a mom is always feeling guilty about something.

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  60. I've met you exactly once and even I know you're a good mom. And I love what you did with the whole "I'm a weed" thing. You're a good mom AND you're so dang clever. You're also adorable. If you need me to go on, I totally will.

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  61. Being a good or bad parent has to do with how much you love your kids. Do you love them? Do you understand them? Do they feel loved by you? Then you are a good parent.

    Do they feel unloved by you?
    Then you are a bad parent.
    It's pretty simple.

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  62. My kids are grown now, but I do remember sending my daughter off to school with a full sized shredded wheat to eat on her way to school because she had been so slow getting ready. She survived me and is now a mother herself. Life goes on...besides, I'm a good mother too.

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  63. I would recommend feeding your children nutritious food. NOT in order to "be a good mom" or avoid being a "bad mom." But for their own sakes, since their bodies and brains are developing and the nutrition they receive now will affect their health and even intelligence for the rest of their lives.

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  64. This is truly one of my all time favorite posts on this blog. You go, Lolly!! No one can ever hear this enough. Bless you girl.

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  65. Here's what I don't understand: I suffer from none of this. I hear these sentiments often from other blog posts and moms who relate. But I don't relate. I really only ever think I'm a good mom. Seriously. I want someone to delve into my psyche because I have no Mom Guilt whatsoever. I have no expectation of being perfect all of the time, just like I have no expectation that my kids are going to be perfect all of the time. I feel like my kids are so lucky to have me as their mom and have my husband as their dad. I feel like they won the family lotto. I feel like I won the family lotto getting such great healthy kids! There is really nothing I can do that is really all that terrible. And this is coming from the mom who ate all of the Rice Crispy treats that I made for my kindergarten son's classmates for his birthday. I just couldn't resist! I had "just one" and then NOMNOMNOM I ate the whole damn pan! I didn't feel terrible about it, it was kind of hilarious because I couldn't believe I had just done that. The only time I feel a twinge of Mom Guilt is when I feel like I'm not pushing them hard enough to excel at piano and none of them play sports. But then I quickly snap out of it and remember that my husband was NEVER in even one sport or club or extra-curricular activity as a child or teen- and yet as an adult he has a great job and is very physically fit and has hobbies. He discovered his own hobbies as a young adult. When I look at pinterest I don't feel bad at all about the things I can't do. I'm just like WOW that's awesome. Or "what a good idea". Anyways, I don't know how I managed to get this gift of Freedom from Guilt. Maybe it's because I had a difficult household at times and I feel like my kids have such a low-stress household.

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    1. I agree with you, but I still really appreciate this post, as it allows all of us to ride that wave of kindness. But that said, I am SO thankful that 99% of the time, I feel like I'm a decent mom and we have a pretty amazing family.

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  66. Lolly, I am only saying this because it is the Weed comments, and not Facebook, and no one is likely to see this and tell my mother. I love my mother, she is a good mother. But, when I was a kid, I had another good mother. My friend Leslie's mother. Part of the reason I can love my mother, and believe she is a good mother, is because I also had Leslie's good mother. Joyce (which I never would have called her), did not pick up the books and newspapers. There was reading material laying around everywhere. Joyce did not remark a dozen times during an afternoon of play "Remember, you are going to need to pick all that up when you are done". Joyce did not say "Why are you taking that outside?". Joyce said "Do you want a cinnamon roll?". My friend Leslie's lunch, every single day, as far as I know, during elementary school was a can of chocolate pudding and a slice of banana bread with cream cheese. Every. Single. Day. I loved Joyce. She was a good mother. My mother is a good mother too, just a different kind. You are a good mother too, Lolly.

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  67. Sheesh. I don't know if my comment posted because I wasn't signed in and I had to recover my password. Now I don't know where it is. It was a good one, too.

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  68. Beautiful. So so beautiful. I love the picture of the closet AFTER.
    Write more often, Lolly! We love your posts.

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  69. You know what Ioved most about this post. The pictures. I love the beautful honesty. Yes, that is what my closet looks like.

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  70. Thank you for this!

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  71. My worst "bad mom" day was when my daughter, who was 4 at the time, went to church without panties while wearing a short, cotton, spring dress. No tights of course. The reason she went to church without panties was because I had not done the laundry and she didn't know where her panties were. The reason she didn't ask me where her panties were was because I was in one of those "moods" and she didn't dare make a peep. So off to church we went, one of us without panties (and probably enjoying a cool spring breeze). At the end of the third hour of church,(Yes, it took me 3 hours to figure out my 4 year old didn't have on any panties) I discovered that she was missing that particularly important article of clothing (You know, the one that's always supposed to be clean--nevermind always supposed to be worn!) After asking her why she didn't have panties on and discovering the reason, the only thing I could say is "Did your Primary teacher ask you to sit with your legs closed?!" Needless to say, we all survived. My daughter is now13 1/2, beautiful, poised (most of the time), intelligent, and quick to roll her eyes when I say that I am a "bad mom". I am so lucky.

    By the way, we have 23 Barbies in our house. They all have seen their own bad hair days. Most of them don't even get dressed every day, and when they do their clothes don't match. Their "dream house" is a 1980's hot pink two story with furniture that is falling apart. Funny, they can't seem to keep their house clean either.

    My daughter loves them too. :)

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  72. This is nothing short of amazing and so incredibly well-stated. THANK YOU!!!! You have changed the way I view I myself as a mother.

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  73. I love your post. You are right i should not listen to what other say how my 3years old should or shouldn't do. My house look like just get shaken by earthquake. I am a working mother and full time mom. No cleaner or helper. I am a good mom.

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  74. I really love this. You nailed motherhood on the head. I totally relate and need to remind myself daily that I am a Mom, and I try to be a good person every day. Thank you so much.

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