I am not the greatest mom in the world.
I’m not seeking validation, I assure you. This is a statement of fact.
Most moms would love to hear that phrase, and some moms deserve it.
I hear it a lot. And I do not deserve it. At least, not for the reasons I’m hearing it.
“You are the best mom that I know.”
“You are seriously the greatest mom in the world.”
“You’re kids are the luckiest in the world, to have you.”
Because my son is trans. Because I stand beside him, shielding and protecting him from the worst of it. Supporting and advocating for him when necessary. Giving him the space to grow into his beautiful, authentic self every chance I have.
Because I do what any mother should do, in the same circumstances as me: Love my kid. Enough to learn from him, enough to grow from him, enough to face my own insecurities and inner demons and come out stronger on the other side. For him, with him, because of him.
But it does not make me the greatest mom in the world.
I have bad days more often than good. I hide in my office and let them watch too much television or play too many video games, so I can have an hour or three to myself. I’m doing that right now! I’ll even sometimes pretend I have a headache so I can lay in bed for an extra thirty minutes, just to avoid facing the day a little longer.
But we also talk every day, I mean really talk, about everything and anything. Our favorite movies, our favorite songs, where babies come from, why brothers are so annoying, why marvel superheroes are so much better than DC superheroes, why Batman hates Superman but they’re technically not enemies, why we have to brush our teeth every single day and not just every other day.
I lose my patience all the time and sometimes yell so loudly I even scare myself. Last night, I took a garbage bag and Mommy Dearest style, I began throwing away everything on the floor of their bedroom. I didn’t yell or get upset or back down. I’d given them a week to clean it, a WEEK! And nothing had changed. As they both sobbed and scrambled to salvage whatever was not in my direct path, I felt like the worst mom in the world.
But I try to apologize when I know I’m in the wrong. When I don’t treat them with dignity or respect, because ultimately, what frustrates me the most is when they don’t treat me that way.
I am humiliated when my youngest has a meltdown in public. Not a tantrum. A meltdown. At the library. And down the stairs. And out onto the sidewalk and down the street. A full on capital m, Meltdown. I hate the looks, sometimes of disdain and disgust, sometimes of pity and sympathy. I hate that helpless feeling of not having well-behaved, well-mannered children. I hate feeling judged and wanting and less than.
Because I know I’m not the greatest mom in the world. I know that. But I also know I’m not the worst. I love my children with all my heart. I want them happy and healthy and well-adjusted. And yes, well-behaved too, but we’re working on that.
Like any mom, I struggle. I question my decisions, I criticize my actions. I fail, I make mistakes. I worry and I stress and I try very hard to be better and I generally fail again.
I know some really great moms. World Greatest Moms. Moms who function under conditions that would literally break the best of us.
Having a trans child is not one of those conditions.
So for this Mother’s Day, I need to acknowledge my truth. I am not the greatest mom in the world, but I’m good enough. Definitely the best mom my kids will ever have, and definitely the luckiest mom for having them.
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Read Portrait of a Transgender Child to learn more about my son.
Read my latest post here: You don't need to have a trans child to demand inclusive policies in your school district
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