There are times when I wonder if I’m a good enough parent. I’m not around as much as I want to, and when I am around, I’m not always “present” present. Distractions still get the better of me, and I’m left at the end of the day kicking myself in the shins because it could have turned out better.
Then after self-pity mode, I get myself together and embrace what’s there before me — there’s still time to do things better, time to make time. Like playing side by side with my son — he doesn’t really mind if I make Playdoh strawberries while he makes Playdoh sandwiches, he just wants me to be there playing by his side.
We recently had a long weekend in Manila because of the Papal Visit. I stayed home for all five days of vacation, bonding with my son. We played a LOT of Playdoh games. I’m not kidding you. I must have made more than twenty strawberries, a dozen bright blue cookies and yellow-white pretzels. I enjoyed every single minute of it.
“No cellphone, Mommy!,” he says, when he sees me sneaking in a game of Plants vs. Zombies 2, my current weakness. I shake my head in shame when he says this, because duh, I should know better. But instead of berating myself even more, I dive into a game of pretend and take on the role of Zookeeper Lego Man that Daddy Pig (Peppa’s papa) invited over.
“Mommy, play with me!,” he shouts out. “Timmy and Mommy play together!” Sometimes it makes me go “Waaaaaait, Timmy…” because at that moment all I want to do is enjoy my cup of coffee in silence – no Playdoh, no Legos, no pigs with English accents. Then I feel like a bad Mom for even feeling that way.
I write this because if you feel that way too, you’re not alone. We have those moments of guilt, and it’s okay. We need to nurture ourselves too. I know I do. I know I need my cup of coffee before I can make gingerbread men out of Playdoh or go on an adventure with a Lego astronaut. Before I know it, I’m 100% in the game, and the boy and I are giggling like schoolmates. Perhaps unlike little kids who can jump from one game to another, maybe adults have to ease in into playtime. (Ah, I’m getting old.)
This is parenting in progress. I’m learning something new everyday (like how making Playdoh strawberries is surprisingly relaxing). Before I kick myself in the shins for things I could’ve done better, I remind myself that this is a journey I’m on. I know I can do better, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad parent. It also doesn’t mean I’m a “good enough” parent. I’m a good
parent. I’m a good Mom. If you’ve been on the same guilt bandwagon I’ve been on, it’s time we stop berating ourselves too much. I know I should!
Have you ever felt this way? Come, let’s talk about it over a cup of coffee. Maybe we can even make Playdoh strawberries while we talk.