It is not a surprise to anyone who has read my blog in the past that my confidence level in myself as a mother can wax and wane like the tides of the ocean. Sometimes I feel really on top of things, and sometimes I feel like a complete and total failure.
A couple of months ago, I posted about a failure moment I had with my son on a private forum made up of various blog acquaintances I have who are all in the midst of the parenting game; whether it be already parenting or hoping to parent someday. Specifically, my post was about my reaction to Little G biting me, HARD, on the thigh. Enough to leave a pretty significant bruise. I got ragingly angry and I hit him on the belly to get him to release his teeth from my leg and proceeded to yell obscenities at him while dragging him up our stairs. It was, without a doubt, my worst parenting moment to date. I am not proud of my actions. I can not change what happened. I posted about the incident while still very angry and upset and looking for some sort of validation although, not validation that I was 'normal' (even though that's what I requested) but rather that I was truly the worst parent on the planet.
And then I got it. Someone responded to my post with admonition for my actions and recommendations for child abuse hot lines. For the first time, I got the validation I was seeking. Up until this commenter, I had only received supportive feedback that I wasn't alone; that while it wasn't my best parenting moment, it wasn't the end of the world; that there was a whole world of parents out there who really were doing a much worse job than me. I had been incapable of allowing myself to believe the supportive comments, even though they came from other mothers, my own mother and my sister. And then this one person agreed with me and managed to make me feel even worse than I could make myself feel.
Except something really strange happened. I have always said that I am my own worst critic and that I would NEVER judge anyone as harshly as I judge myself. So when someone else finally came along and judged me more harshly than I was judging myself, I realized something: I would never, ever allow someone to judge and/or treat me as harshly as I treat myself. Finally, I allowed myself to believe that the supporters were right. Finally, I gave myself permission to give myself a break.
It is funny to me that it took someone else judging me as harshly as I judge myself to find the confidence to say that no one can treat me that way. And if I won't allow someone else to treat me that way than I most certainly should not allow myself to treat me that way.
I am a good mother, I'm not just saying it this time, I believe it.