5 Things Moms Do that Don't Make Us Bad Mothers

Family Matters on 02.07.12
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Amidst all of the mothers out there competing to see who can have the fastest, smartest, prettiest, friendliest, most caring, and most super-awesome child on the planet, I find there is another group of moms vying for worst mom on the planet. Are any of these moms anywhere close to being the worst mom on the planet? No. Not. Even. Close. Today as a group of us was walking from the car to pre-school gym in 35 degree weather, there was the comment "I didn't even bring a hat for her." I followed it up with, "Teddy went to school in an unzipped ratty hoodie because he's obsessed with it and the zipper is broken." And when we left the gym, another friend's daughter walked out the door with no coat at all in her cotton dress. There are many things that we do as parents that we aren't always proud of, but a lot of them are really harmless and we need to just let them go.

1. Feeding Your Kids at the Drive-Thru: We all know that fast food is not the best food nor is it very often even an ok food when it comes to nutrition, and I can honestly say that I'm always horrified that someone I know will see me in the drive-thru (even though here I am admitting to the world that I do sometimes go through it). But most of the time I feed my kids healthily and occasionally, I'm rushing from one point to the other or there really is no food in the house, and I swing through the drive-thru. If you are feeding your children right 99 percent of the time, you don't need to drive yourself nuts about the one percent of the time when life gets in the way of your gourmet plans.

2. Letting Kids Watch Television All Day: Watching a marathon of cartoons is not recommended by most doctors because of both the lack of activity it requires and the mindless dribble it often includes. However, some days moms get sick, everyone gets snowed into the house, or parents are just plain burnt out and need a few hours to themselves. If extra television is necessary one day for some reason or another, just try to make part of it educational. I'm actually always amazed at how much my children learn from the shows they watch so not all television is bad.

3. Not Volunteering at School: I always thought that I would be one of those mothers who went into the classroom and helped out. I mean I originally went to school to be a teacher! And shouldn't my flexible job schedule make that so easy? But my time when the kids are in school is precious and I have a lot of work to get done. Not only do I not volunteer, but I rarely interact with my son's kindergarten teacher. I send him off on the bus each morning and meet him as he comes off it in the afternoon, and my knowledge of his school experience is mostly what he tells me. A year ago, I would have never in a million years thought that I would be that way or that it would be ok to be that way, but actually it's just fine. I go to parent-teacher conferences, I check his behavior chart when it comes home from school each day, I monitor that he's making progress with his reading and writing, and if he brings up a problem, I dig deeper with him and see if we need to contact the school which so far hasn't happened once.

4. Enjoy Sending Your Kids to Daycare or School: It seems that mothers are all supposed to just love staying home 24/7 with their children, and if we don't then we must be bad mothers. Wrong! Even if you don't need to send your kids to daycare, it can still be a good thing. It doesn't mean you love them any less. In fact, it often gives moms and kids that break of just a few hours that makes their time together so much more enjoyable. It's ok to take some time to yourself in order to find that balance you need, and it allows your children to socialize with other kids their age and learn new things.

5. Going Out Without a Coat, Hat, or Mittens: There's a big difference between not offering the proper clothing to your child and letting a child go out in what many people may not deem appropriate for the weather. It is one of the biggest fights we have in the morning. I want my son to at least wear a fleece, and he wants to wear a hoodie. I try to negotiate and let him wear the hoodie but try to throw in a hat, but it almost never works. Some might say that I shouldn't let my son get his way on this, but parents need to pick and choose our battles. And the fact is that if he's cold, he will complain about it and he never ever does. I made him wear a big winter coat to skating lessons and he's just a sweaty mess in the end because the kid runs hot. A child without a coat, hat or mittens even in the coldest weather is not that of a bad mother as long as the mother has made an effort and has the clothing nearby for when the child is ready for it.

So why do we have to call ourselves out as the "worst mom" when we allow these things to happen. It's a form of self-defense. It's our way of telling our peers that we know we've made a mistake or aren't perfect (not that there is such a thing).  We are at least aware of what the rules should be even though in this particular instance we may have veered off track, and it is not necessary for them to roll their eyes at us and start the rumor mill. "Can you believe what so and so let her kid do?" Nope, my friends and I may not be considered the best moms on the planet, but our kids are all well cared for, incredibly loved, and like other parents we're all doing the best we can.

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