Damn, you’re a good mother.
I bought this mug from knockknockstuff.com, which was originally intended to be a gift mug for Mother’s Day (to another mom). (The back says “Just look how I turned out.”) But I bought this mug for myself, placed it squarely in view on my desk to tell myself each and every day, “Damn, you’re a good mother.”
I have to admit, however, that almost every time I look at the mug, I want to grab it and hurl it against the wall because I don’t believe it. This is my lame attempt to speak truth into my life. And my heart can’t accept it and won’t allow it. Because in my mind, I am not a good mother. I bordered on postpartum psychosis the first time I held my son, dealt with severe postpartum depression for months, and lost time with him for about 20 months. That’s time that I’ll never get back. How could I have been a good mother? A better mother even?
I could run down a list of shortcomings:
- Full-time working mom with many late nights
- Previously hands off on his care (eg, creating meals for him, diaper changes, watching him by myself)
- Daycare (instead of me) teaches him most everything he knows
The only plus in my column toward being a good mother? He can say “George” and “Paul” from my Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band t-shirt. (We’re working on John and Ringo.) I think that makes me a serious kick-ass mom. That’s how I justify my terrible shortcomings.
It’s the “damn” part that gets me, I suppose. The idea that I’m so awesome and so amazing, it warrants the use of an (OK, mild) expletive. Perhaps I could tolerate “You’re a good mother.” But “Damn, you’re a good mother” says “Look at me! I’m so awesome that I’m kicking ass at this mothering thing!” Like a black dude looks at another black woman and says, “Damn, you fine!” This mug looks at me and says in a similar tone, “Damn, you’re a good mother.” I’m glad the mug has a period. An exclamation point would probably have been overkill for me.
So, here I am, stumbling and fumbling through this mothering thing, feeling inadequate while I have this mug that tries to tell me otherwise. I can pretend my son gave it to me. The back—”Just look at how I turned out”—speaks volumes. My son is healthy and simply the happiest kid on earth. Sure, he’s a toddler with his whiny, crying phases but he’s the happiest kid in his classroom and the teachers all insist that he doesn’t give them any problems.
I’ve been very hands off this mothering thing until recently. I don’t know whether I’m doing a good job. But I’m in his life and he’s made it almost 22 months so far, so I guess I’m a damn good mother.