I’m Not Always Mom of the Year (and That’s OK)

We were at the mall. I was wearing a hoodie and sweatpants. My kids were running in two different directions. I was short-tempered with them and definitely not showing my best self. Mom of the Year, right? No doubt, some of the other folks there would have called me other names.

But, here’s the deal: It was a snow day. The second snow day. The second snow day after Thanksgiving weekend, illness, and lack of sleep. I had hosted Thanksgiving, baked with my children, and heard them sing the Turkey Tom song a hundred times together. Don’t get me wrong — I loved every minute of it. (OK, most minutes of it.)

I had read countless books, which is quite possibly my favorite thing to do with them. I had played rounds of Candy Land with them (continuing to play until they both had won). I had let them turn my couch into an obstacle course, observing from far enough away for them to enjoy their independence, but being close enough to stave off any casualties.

I watched lovingly as they played together, and I encouraged the use of “I statements” when that wasn’t working out so well. I served them breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. And snack, and snack, and snack. For days on end.

I took a few spare minutes to scope out summer camp options. I fretted about what was waiting for me at work in this now-shortened week. I sent emails about swim class.

So when I got to the mall, I was exhausted. I had a whole bunch of pent-up energy to release. And so did my kids. They were itching to play in the snow. I am not a snow lover. We had been cooped up for quite a while.

They ran off in the mall like the no-longer-caged dogs that they were. And it was funny at first. Until I had had enough and I realized how this all looked — and I felt embarrassed. Another day, I might have been able to shrug it off and remind myself that parenting is more than one moment in time.

Today, I felt pathetic. I felt like a failure. It had just been too much.

And then an older couple walked by. They didn’t call me Mom of the Year. But they also didn’t call me those other names I was calling myself. They both looked me in the eye with a nod and a chuckle and said, “We’ve been there.”

That little moment saved me.

That small exchange reminded me that not everyone is mom-shaming and judging — and that I should definitely not mom-shame myself. It reminded me that not every moment of parenting is perfection. And that’s OK. (And it does not negate all the other moments.)

Some days are easier parenting days than others. Some weeks fly by with a wonderful syncing of energy, listening, and fun. Some hours are spent crying in the corner, worrying you’ve scarred your smaller beings forever. Some days we are singing, hugging, and playing with our sweet little ones. Other days we are that mom in the hoodie and sweatpants, chasing after her kids running wildly in opposite directions.

All those days together make up the motherhood journey. All of them.


Lindsay Goldberg is a working mom who then comes home and works there, too. She loves finding quick, healthy recipes to make for her family and lives for her Sunday morning escape to the gym. She has given up on trying to find balance, and is, instead focused on surviving and being Good Enough. Likes- books, family dance parties, morning snuggles, and drinking coffee when it's still hot. Dislikes- recipes with more than 10 ingredients or 10 steps, winter, and deadlines