When I was a kid, I was somewhat of a goody two shoes but I still got suspended from school for being late so often. I don’t think the punishment taught me its intended lesson.
Raphael’s school lasts for just two hours two mornings a week, but I can’t seem to get him there before the first hour is up. I’m still late for school, but now I punish myself.
I get stuck in my head with all kinds of self-destructive thoughts.
I feel frustrated about not being able to get the kids out of the house on time and what that may be teaching them. I don’t want them to be doomed to repeat bad patterns.
I feel annoyed that I’m not taking full advantage of the potential childcare time to get my work done, which in turn, makes my job that much harder to squeeze in.
I feel bad that I’m making it hard for Raphael to join his classmates when he shows up in the middle of activities, and I’m preventing him from learning the benefits of routine. (You know, that thing that all the experts and mommies-in-the-know say will help us.) What’s more, our interruptive timing makes the teachers’ jobs harder.
I suffer from eternal guilt for having others care for my children so I can get my work done. I struggle with trying to be a good mother, and wife, and worker, and, it sometimes seems, all things to all people all the time. Above all, I wrestle with being good to myself. People constantly tell me to give myself a break.
I give them a weak smile and say silently inside my head, “If only they could see my bad mommy moments…”
In her memoir on motherhood and transformation, Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, Claire Dederer wonders whether the opposite of good is not actually bad. Perhaps the opposite of good is real, she writes.
What’s real for me is I’m late a lot. My reality feels a lot like failing.
But I suppose trying to do all the right things every day, trying to be so good, is actually flawed.
What would it be like to let myself off the hook and just be imperfectly real some times?