Found Out

I spent the day before Mother’s Day at home with my kids, which would normally be awesome except that I mostly spent it dealing with all four of Bella’s major meltdowns.  She was off from school last week, and we’ve slowly let her screen time get out of control, so today was the day we bit the bullet and went back to our previous screen time limits.  It went over like a screaming, ragey, attempt-to-run-away-naked balloon.  Bella hated it, too.

At one point, during meltdown #3, Bella told me she didn’t love me anymore, that I was a really bad mom, and that she wished that I would move out and a new mom would move in (preferably one with a Hulu Plus account or at least someone with a cool friend who would let her use their login).  I just told her that was unfortunate, because I still loved her and I wasn’t moving out.

This is my standard answer when she tells me she doesn’t love me anymore, because it’s true.  How she feels towards me is irrelevant; I love her, and that won’t ever change.  Even though she went ahead and threw meltdown #4 at me an hour and a half after she went to bed, I still love that asshole of a kid.  And that is saying a lot, because anyone who has dealt with a middle-of-the-night meltdown knows they are the fucking worst, because on top of the kid being irrationally angry, they are tired, and their loud-ass crying just grinds on your last nerve and wakes up all the other kids in your house, so then you’re dealing with everybody all at once.  So I LOVE YOU AND YOU’RE FUCKING WELCOME, KID.

It should be noted that I didn’t deal with that last meltdown very well.  I screamed right back at her, despite the two other kids in the house (unsuccessfully) trying to sleep.  I tried keeping my cool, but the long day of meltdown after meltdown had sucked up all of my patience reserves, and I resorted to acting like a pissed-off teenager.  I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and chill out, and I did not have it in me for a Round Four.  So instead, I stomped downstairs and called Rob, and yelled at him for awhile about my crappy day with Bella.  Then I went back upstairs, where Bella had crossed over from being angry to being sad, and snuggled her to sleep.  She said she was “so sorry for getting carried away,” and I said the same.


When kids make things for their moms for Mother’s Day, it’s always something that mentions how wonderful and awesome they are.  Case in point: on my fridge, right now, I have an award from Phaedra that proclaims me to be “the best mom ever!”


This is factually untrue.  I am not, in fact, the best mom ever.  Did she not hear me swearing at Bella during that meltdown last night?  I never play Barbies with Surrey when she asks me, and when I do, it’s so half-assed.  I haven’t dropped all three kids off at school on time since October, and it’s mainly because I just don’t feel like getting up early enough.  I have miles of patience for Surrey and Bella, but for poor Phaedra? Never enough.  I’m constantly apologizing for being too quick to yell at her for something I would just deep-breathe and move past with the other two girls.

This is not me saying, “I’m a sort-of okay mom, but aren’t we all! Isn’t parenting tough? Who needs perfection? My kid love me anyways, yay!” while giving you a quirky “aw shucks!” face.  Really I’m not.  These are just a few of the facts I use when making the case against myself in my head as to exactly how hard I am fucking up this motherhood gig.  I mean, yes, generally I am doing an alright job, but I have this fear of being FOUND OUT.  Do you have this?  Like, I’ve always had this thing where deep down I believe that someday, everyone is going to find out that I’m not as great of an employee/student/mom as they think I am.  Another example: one morning, after finally getting an ornery Bella onto the school bus to go to her therapeutic swimming class, her teacher said to me, “You are so patient.  Really, it’s amazing.”  And I thought, I’m really not!  If she could see the outtakes from my life, she’d know I’m not.  She’d FIND OUT and then she’d know that I’m not as patient as she thinks I am.

But my kids?  They know everything, because they live it.  They’ve seen all the stupid shit I’ve done while trying to be their mom, and yet they still make me awards calling me things like “the best mom in the world!” because they’ve already FOUND OUT.  They FOUND OUT and still think I’m great.  Just like I love these kids no matter how they feel about me, in a weird way, it’s not about how I feel I’m doing as a mom, it’s how they feel I’m doing.  They seem to be pretty happy with things so far, so I guess I can quit worrying about being found out and just accept my award and watch my Hulu Plus in peace.

I’m going to try to get us all to school on time next year, though.  Just in case.

Alright, fine, I did wrap it up with a sort-of corny ending.  SORRY.*

*Not sorry.

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This entry was posted in Debbie Downer, I used to be nice, Phaedra, professional slacker, things that don't make sense. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Found Out

  1. Sarah Sperka says:

    I don’t know how to write this without sounding cliche and cheesy, but
    It is 4:28 am and Milo keeps waking up with these crazy screams and demands for “boobie”, so please bear with me, woman. After a rough week of all-day-cry-fests at my house (myself included), thanks for this. I think we as moms are too hard on ourselves. You are really an exceptional mom, one who I have always admired. You are shaping your girls to be sweet and smart and funny as hell. You are interested in them as individuals, feed them, and provide them a safe and super loving home to grow up in, as you love and accept who they are, unconditionally. That is why I think you are one of the best moms ever. I love tou, man!

    • Chesley says:

      Yesterday, my dad told me that he thought I was a great mom, and I broke down in tears. I don’t feel like a great mom, and the narrative in my head is constantly telling me what a horrible mom I am. The other night, when trying to get my littlest one to “go the f to sleep”, I ended up sobbing in the fetal position outside his door, while he also cried his little head off in his crib. Being a mom is incredibly hard. Being a mom of a child with a disability is incredibly hard times 2. I think in some weird twisted way, the fact that we are introspective enough to think about how we can be better makes us good moms. I think bad moms just never really think about those things. Anyway, I am rambling now. Just reaching out to let you know I’ve been there, too.

      • Janel says:

        Hearing that you’re doing a great job feels so good and yet you’re so right — you can’t help but think, “I’m NOT! I just have you fooled because I’m on my best behavior when you’re around!” You’re exactly right, though, the fact that we even stop to consider whether or not we’re doing a good job means we’re doing something right. PS I think you’re a great mom, too. 🙂

    • Janel says:

      Oh Sarah, I love you tooooo! Thank you!

  2. Oh well this is no fun. And yes, my stepmom tells me all the time that I’m just the BEST mom, as does one of my close “older” friends. I’m like, well that’s just because neither of you ever really raised kids (my dad and stepmom moved with the Coast Guard, and my friend is in her early 50s and single). So yes, I get that. I do pat myself on the back for not cursing *at* her and only in my head or to my friends when I’m driven to it, so that’s aiming high.

  3. KeAnne says:

    Yep. Just lots of yeps & head nodding in solidarity about everything you wrote. We had a bit of a tough day yesterday and when I saw the case my son made me in school for Mother’s Day with “I love you” scrawled on it, I started ugly crying because I felt like the worst mom ever.

  4. Ruth says:

    We are the “Best Moms” because most other people woulda beat they ass long before we even get to the screaming banshee stage! Motherhood is the hardest least appreciated JOB in the world! & I didn’t even do the horrible part and poop any of my pumpkins out! I am with KeAnne, nod and smile…the strangers appreciation for what you do on a daily may be all the recognition you get.

  5. WOW I so could have written this. I have definitely been found out by my kids. And they seem to still like me. Most days.
    And the “outtakes.” YES. SO MUCH YES!! My kids are really good and generally well-behaved (even though my toddler can be a major asshole some days) but I do get complimented on their behavior out in public and I cringe thinking about the temper tantrums I’VE had. Yeah, what they don’t know, right?
    Anyway, we only have to be the best mom in the world to our own. If we get kudos along the way from others, that’s just gravy, I guess.

  6. dede jordan says:

    Why is the tv like a drug? Totally different person when watching it. Unplugged them all for two weeks a while back and the meltdown that occurred when I did it was unreal and then she was FINE!! But then she goes to her Dads and has everything in her room… I am the evil witch. You rock it as a Mom….Happy Mothers Day!

    • Janel says:

      Oh my gosh, it really is! I can always tell when I come home from work if Bella has watched too much TV that day. And thank you, hope yours was fabulous!

  7. Michelle says:

    Aren’t Barbies the worst? I always hated it when my daughter asked me to play (many) years ago. I would always tell her that I liked games that had AN END. Same thing with my son’s superheroes. Both kids would make up story-arcs that took hours, and my characters were doing much eye-rolling after the first 15 minutes whenever I did wind up playing with them.

    • Janel says:

      DUDE I am the worst at playing Barbies and everything else. I love my kids, but I just don’t like to play. THERE. I SAID IT, INTERNET.

  8. Jessica says:

    Yep and also when I screw up really well, later I think about if this will be that moment they pick to justifying their therapy bills.

    • Janel says:

      Exactly Jessica! I don’t have to remember everything, because I’ll be reminded of alllll my mistakes when my kids are adults and telling someone else with lots of training.

  9. Maren says:

    Dude, I live in fear of this myself.

    A family friend tells me ALL. The. Time. what a ‘good mama’ he thinks I am…and I’m like, “Man, if you only knew that I yell at my 2 year old when she won’t stop crying in the car” and, though I try really hard not to, the first thing I ask my 15 year old when I can’t see what happened is, “What did you do? What happened?”

    But he still hugs me goodnight and lets me talk to his friends….and she cries when I drop her off at day care….so I guess they think I’m doing alright.

    • Janel says:

      The drop-off crying is the best (which sounds awful). It’s the days when they are super happy to see me go that I’m like, “Man, I gotta re-evaluate my parenting. I need these kids to be sadder when I leave.”

  10. I love this. I love how you totally, completely lay this out exactly right: Our kids know we’re not perfect, and they think we’re the best anyway. That’s exactly it. 🙂

  11. Katie P says:

    This is so insanely perfect!! I have never thought of it as waiting to be “found out,” but that is exactly what it is. My mom frequently comments on what a good mom I am and how patient I am, and I have literally said to her, “I’m really not. If you weren’t here, I would be losing my mind on them. You should see how I am most of the time.” I have definitely made strides as far as patience goes, but I still lose my shiz more days than not. But then, my 5 year old son (my oldest, who bears more than his fair share of the burden of my temper, as he is most like me….poor kid) tells me before he goes to bed, “Mom, I love you. You’re the best mom I got.” Sounds like he’s being sarcastic, but what he really means is that I’m the best mom ever. And damn if those words don’t hit me right in my heart every single time.

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