They say confession is good for the soul. And I believe them, whoever they are.
And that’s probably because I’m a big one for always trying to be as self-aware as I can so I can jump on any transgressions as they happen. Us being all perfectly imperfect, after all. Because that ability to self-reflect and own our faults is a major life skill and one we all need. Gotta bleed the radiator every once in a while so it stays balanced, ya know? That’s why, in the interest of staying warm and cozy with my internal compass, I try as often as I can to acknowledge whenever I’ve behaved badly. And then cop to it. Cause I know that the only way to learn from our actions is to acknowledge them, own them completely, and then make better choices the next time around. Because that’s one of the more powerful ways I believe we all grow as humans.
So, here I am, about to confess my terrible, awful, no good behavior with the hope of lifting the burden of guilt and coming out as a better person on the back end. And because this forum is about as public a place as I can find to spill it, I’ve decided to do it here.
And here it is.
I may be ever-so-slightly guilty of wishing that my husband and daughter’s trip out west to Seattle last week wasn’t quite as much fun as the trip she took with me to Nantucket back in the spring.
Ok, fine, if I’m putting it 100 percent out there, then I’m totally guilty of secretly crossing every digit on both hands and feet that our trip was better than their trip. And I’m kinda feeling like that’s not very mommyish of me, so I should come clean about it.
See, I told you, I’m a shallow, petty monster. I’m a horrible wife and an even worse mom. Because in my heart, all I keep hoping is that Riley and I laughed just a smidge more and walked away with a few more inside jokes and talked later into the night about life and hopes and dreams and why we should adopt a cat than she did with Dave. I mean, I can’t help myself … I’m the mom and moms sometimes behave irrationally when we’re jockeying for our children’s love and affection.
I mean, moms do get our fair share of the short straw on the daily, so we’ve gotta look for ways to balance the scales. And sometimes getting a win in the Best Parent column is exactly what we need. Even if we know it’s only temporary.
Because the truth is, most of us mothers are in the position of being the heavy in soooo many situations when our kids are growing up that sometimes we just crave being the good guy, you know? We wanna be the one our kids adore and share secrets with and love more than anyone else on the planet … even their dad. Even if it’s just for a few short minutes.
And since I’m being totally honest, I may have even gone so far as to subtly mention to Dave that he should say or do a few things to piss Riley off while they’re away, like chew too loud or rush her in the morning when they’re getting ready to go out or accidentally knock her phone charger out of the wall so it’s at 10 percent when she wakes up. You know, little things.
Really, thanks for letting me get that out. Even though I know I’m getting pretty heavily judged right now for being a low-key lunatic, it felt super cathartic to make that confession. Although something in my gut tells me that most moms, and even some dads, get where I’m coming from and understand the feeling.
It’s not because parenting is a competition — obviously — but kids aren’t the only ones who sometimes want to be the favorite. Parents want it too. And if you’re a parent and you say it’s a thought that’s never crossed your mind, then you’re straight-up lying, cause we’ve all thought it. I’m just the one dumb enough to admit it.
See, while I get that it’s totally unfair and irrational of me to want to have the better time with my kid, I just can’t help myself. Every so often, I just really want my girls to feel a certain bubbliness in their hearts when they think of the stuff we do together. And I want that bubbliness to be bubblier than with anyone else. Which, in turn, will make me their favorite for a solid eight to 10 minutes. And that’s all I really need.
Because, honestly, sometimes a mom just needs to have a little validation that our kids love us more than, well, anybody else.
So, there you have it. I’ve owned my less-than-motherly thoughts and done a little public confessing, and I do have to admit that my conscience does feel a little lighter.
Although what I can also confess is that as much as I’d like to say this little exercise in soul-cleansing whipped me back into shape, it’s pretty likely that I’m still gonna think this way the next time Dave and I take separate trips with the girls. Can’t say I didn’t try, tho.
— Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at lisasugarman.com. Or, find them on LittleThings.com, Hot Moms Club, BeingAMom.life, GrownandFlown.com, More Content Now, and Care.com. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is and Untying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots—And How to Get Free available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at select bookstores.