Is there a mother who doesn’t feel like this is her once in a while? When we yell at the kids over something stupid and feel like a complete jackass afterward. When we sit like a zombie surfing the internet instead of reading to our children like we promised ourselves (or God forbid them) we would.
Dads don’t feel this way, from what I can gather. They surf the web and read the paper and play computer games and whatever else guys do and it never occurs to them to feel guilty because they could have been painting watercolors with their children. Guilt is largely a female affliction.
Update – I take it back. I am not even remotely in the running for worst mother in the world. I wrote the above before my trip to the grocery store today, where I saw several times over the course of a long shopping trip a slovenly girl with overdone Goth eyeliner and no wedding ring. She couldn’t have been much over 22 or 23 (and looked younger than that) but had two children aged around 7 and 4. They called her “Mom” so she wasn’t a sister or aunt or babysitter (assuming any mother would hire someone so unsavory looking to watch her kids). I heard her yell, “Why don’t you shut the hell up!” at least twice to the children, and pretty much everything that came out of her mouth was said in anger.
Yes, I have a bad day sometimes, and yes, I get irritated and snap at my children. But if this young woman treats hers like this in public, how much worse do you suppose she is in private? I’m not saying she’s the worst mother in the world, just that she made me realize that I’m being a bit hard on myself when I think that I am.
This doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to be the best mother I can be. It only means that I feel very sorry for that young woman’s children.