With two little parrots (aka toddlers) in our group now, some conversations feel like we are trying to run defence as our partners and forgetful friends (and ourselves) rain down f-bombs and s-bombs like artillery fire.
But this isn’t about that kind of language. This is about how we speak to and about ourselves as moms. Not maybe as noticeable as turning up at day care with a toddler who swears like a truck driver but just as important, if not more so.
I’ve been listening to the audio book [amazon_textlink asin=’B00MNNAODK’ text=’Bringing up Bébe’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’mounmoms-20′ marketplace=’CA’ link_id=’6574e7dd-2d16-11e7-bd11-9750b045e365′] recently which compares American and French parenting styles. It makes a lot of great points but one really stood out to me because I instantly realized that I and many of the moms I know, do this. We say, out loud and to ourselves, “I’m a bad mom”. We say it jokingly to other moms as they see us bribing our kids with snacks, we say it ironically when our child is having a tantrum because his sippy cup is not blue, we say it in sobs through the tears when our child wont feed or sleep. Whether we mean it each time or not is beside the point, the point is that we say it. Our self conscious hears us say it and worst of all our kids hear us say it and sooner or later one or both of those is going to believe what they hear.
We would never let our children go about saying “I’m a bad child”. We are hyper aware that as we try to educate our young ones on right and wrong we identify the behaviour as bad not the child. i.e. “throwing toys is bad because you might hurt someone” not “you are bad”. So why don’t we follow these rules in the way we speak about ourselves?
Just like wine and cheese, the French seem to have figured it out. Their common comment said between moms when things are not going quite as planned is not “I’m a bad mom” it’s “There’s no such thing as a perfect mom.”
I love this. The acceptance that we are all trying our best and that chances are nobody is nailing it 100% of the time. So I’m nominating this statement as the next thing we should import and adopt as our own. So next time you feel the urge to label yourself incorrectly, stop, watch your language and remember there’s no such thing as a perfect mom.