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August 17, 2009

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You are re-discovering being Good Enough is more than enough.

There's a book or three written on this.

It's hard to turn off all the voices inside that say you must do this and accomplish that, but most of it, can be skipped.

I understand there is a level of stuff that must be done for the household to function, esp. with no other adult around most of the time. But, no matter how good a parent you are, there will be something you wished you done, or done differently. So relax. Good enough is not perfect, and doesn't have to be.

I hear you! Perfectly written. I didn't take the time to read all the other comments. I just wanted to put my two cents in whithout the bias.

My husband is a firefighter. Similar but different. He likes to stack up his shifts and be gone days in a row. Tomorrow I start a 72 hr shift by myself.

I have a 4.5 yr old, a 3 yr old, and a 3 month old. The third is the straw.

I struggle with exactly the same things. Lately I have been trying to tell myself these children are blessings not burdens. It is so sad that I get so wrapped up in the hardness of being alone and the little details that I begin to resent our life. Which is great.

However, I never have a break and when daddy the hero comes home he needs a break. It seriously is one more person to take care of. I spend most of my days resentful and trying to escape mentaly. There have even been days I wanted to grab just the baby and run away. And I would only take her because I breastfeed.

I have to make myself stop all the time and re-adjust my outlook.

Why?

Mommy guilt can make you miserable.

Thank you for being so honest and for writing what so many parents feel all to often. It makes me realize that I should try to help my sisters out more often...the whole it takes a village. I hope that things get easier for you soon!

BTW, "to quit complaining," Don't let the door hitcha where the good lord splitcha. Good riddance, go spread your judgmental hatred somewhere else!

I don't know how you do it. I couldn't. I couldn't last a single night without my husband here to help me. I think that makes me a shitty mom, but it's the only mom my kids have got, so it will have to do.

How much you feel like you ought to do better is in direct proportion to how much you care about your kids. In other words, you worry BECAUSE you are a good mom. People who spend all night down at the bar while the 10-year-old watches the rest of the kids having poptarts for dinner say stuff like "I'm a GREAT parent!"

And as far as unplanned kids go - I am one. And look how I turned out! Ok, bad example...

My husband drives truck and I feel like that all the time.

You are not alone!

I just said to my (airline pilot) husband on the phone last night, "I'm just doing the best I can." This was while holding our fussy 3 month old in one arm while trying to open the stroller (for a walk that was good for both of our fussiness)and talk on the phone...Thanks for sharing, life is really hard some days.

Doing the best you can. Now there's a concept Bossy has to explore.

love it. be kind to yourself. it's hard to do when you're so used to beating yourself up over what you SHOULD be. been there. still there. working on it.

love,
the 40-year-old intern

http://chroniclesofmomnia.blogspot.com/2009/08/sugar-and-cream-with-your-coffee.html
i know...linking in a comment is obnoxious, but it does speak to your point of just being happy with what you got and who you are.

Thanks for this; it came at the perfect time for me. Right now we are trying to decide if we should take another assignment or retire. It is so easy to gloss over the consequences of staying in unless you have reality slapping you in the face.....

Okay, I was literally *just* talking about this at my site. The post I just put up is admittedly a bit tongue-in-cheek about it, but here's the serious version: A whole bunch of the negative emotions we feel on a day-to-day basis are caused when reality conflicts with the paradigms we've established in our own minds. I think people should be on time for meetings; when someone comes late to a meeting I'm attending, I get really frustrated and angry, because reality (someone came late to a meeting) conflicted with my paradigm (people should be on time for meetings). If I want to avoid being frustrated and angry, I have to shift my paradigm - people should try to be on time for meetings, but sometimes lateness is unavoidable. Now if someone is late, I'm more likely to shrug it off and not get upset, which is healthier for me.

My biggest problem comes with my perfectionism as a teacher. In a one-on-one meeting with a mentor teacher last year, we were talking and talking about how many struggles I'd had through the year, trying to figure out why I was so upset about everything, when finally I blurted out, "But I'm supposed to be perfect!" Uh, really? Did I just say that? No wonder I'm so unhappy all the time - I think I'm supposed to be perfect and reality isn't matching up with that. It seems like you're going through something very similar with your parenting, but you're doing well in starting to shift your paradigms. Not perfect, but perfectly flawed.

(Sorry for the uber long comment, but it seemed so timely!)

I still think you rock. It's hard, but I think it gets easier when the kids start getting older.

This chef's widow commiserates. I think we just do the best we can and take advantage of the help, the friends, and the anti-troll comment ninjas who love us and support us even in our darkest hours.

It's odd - I thought myself a bit of a slacker mom before, but at least felt like I was doing the best I could. Now that I'm working full time away from home, I no longer feel like I'm even close to being the mom I wanted to be. I miss out on so much now, and when I'm home my time is filled with catching up on bills and other responsibilities.

We're all doing the best we can, flaws and all. I think our kids will appreciate us all the more for being real people, even if it means we drop the ball here and there.

You got it. Sometimes we just gotta let it go. Not everything. Maybe just the dishes. Or whether or not the kid uses a napkin or their sleeve. Most days I don't bother brushing my hair. No one notices. And if they do... who cares? At least I'm sane and not worrying about whether or not other people brush their hair. xoxo

I have felt the same way, I just could never express it as brilliantly as you do.

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks and I STILL love it. Stop Compaining is a weirdo. But I agree with the person who said perhaps she is overwhelmed herself. Not going out ever in 3 yrs. Not getting help from MIL or her own mother. Nothing? Who does that and stays sane? And why???

Jaysus, I admire you girl, I don't think I would handle going solo so much. Fair play to you. You are entitled to have shit days and you certainly deserve some alone time. You kids are all so young at the minute it not easy anyway. Best wishes.

It's ALL hard and I am sorry that we aren't a better support system for each other -- moms, dads, parents as a whole.

We're in uncharted territory as a society and have only begun to see the impact of our non-traditional families (of all kinds).

Great post; thanks for your honesty, as usual. And I'm just jealous that I won't be meeting up with you all while you are here in my own city!

This is a beautiful post. I think that this is how most mothers feel most of the time. I know I do and I definitely don't have it as hard as you do.

We can all be flawed and fabulous. I think it's a fantastic motto.

-Abby

I'm with Bill. The only time I ever got a troll was when I misquoted a Pussy Cat Dolls lyric.

I suck.

Having these feelings is utterly normal. Writing about them is gutsy. I like that about you.

If this were a happy rainbows and sparkle blog, I wouldn't read it.

I would love to be "that" mom, too, but no one can be patient, kind, and understanding all of the time. We all have our limits, and we're all just doing the best we can. Hang in there!

I figure my kids'll end up in therapy no matter what I do, so I just do the best that I can. Like you, I'm a single mother most of the time. Married, but single.

The Daver is married to his job.

Kristen, you are not alone. Heck, my husband comes home every night, but I still feel like a solo parent a lot of the time. I think the best we can do, is sometimes not enough. But? I just try again the next day. I think most kids end up great despite us. if not, there's always therapy, right? Flawed and fabulous, love it!

On the one jerky commenter...dude, it's your blog. Say what you need to say. There will always be haters. Use birth control and get a nanny, was an interesting argument. I'm not sure I've heard that one in awhile. Because birth control solves every problem? Anyway, you know I'll keep reading. You haven't managed to get rid of me in over four years. Ha.

@Rainbow Sparkle Troll -Snort. That rocked.

I haven't read the other comments but I just wanted to say I know exactly where you are at. My husband is home only on weekends and has been for 9 long years with no end in sight. One thing I can tell you is that your feelings on this will be cyclical. You will go from being on top of the world and thinking "I can do this! I am woman, hear me roar!" to being found in a fetal position in the closet, wondering when someone is going to come rescue you. It's not what most of the world sees as a "normal" family life and people just shake their heads and say, I just don't know how you do it! and then they'll ask you to come do something to help THEM out, since you obviously don't already have your hands full. :D All I can say is hang in there. It does get better. There are good things that come out of it. Hang onto them tightly. My kids are now 18, 14, and 5. The two oldest are the greatest kids (not saying my youngest isn't but hey, she's 5 and she has much greatness to grow into yet) and the job situation we are in, while not ideal in any way, has shaped who they are. They would do anything they could for those that need help in this world. They are able to see a situation and know if it is a true need or not because over the years, we've had to prioritize our time and have spent many conversations on needs vs. wants. Sorry if this is just a yadda, yadda, yadda comment, and you are thinking "WHEN IS SHE GOING TO STOP??? but I wanted you to know you are not alone and you are a strong woman and this too is a season, it will pass. Someday, probably soon, you will find that some of those people who were asking you "how can you possibly do this?" will be calling you and saying, "I'm going to be in this situation too and can you help me?" and you will pick yourself up off the closet floor, and say yep, I can. There are more of us out there than you know and we need to be there for each other when we can. Thanks for posting this.

My mantra is just because you love your kids doesn't mean you always have to like them.

And I prefer "imperfect and fabulous." ;)

Oh, Stop Complaining, you crazy kid, come here and give us a hug. I don't think these people understand your PEARLS of wisdom. Try some birth control! Stop breast feeding! Get a nanny!

Tell the truth, you're a life coach, right?

The best is, 'You have a better life than I do.' A new take on 'The grass is always greener!' I didn't think it possible. Inspiring.

But why switch blogs so soon? Why not stick around for another 2 years? Don't you want to see what happens next??

As a single mom I find myself feeling the same way at times. Wishing that I had an extra set of hands to help me out, that I could be more patient when my son doesn't fall asleep right away, or remember to not flick his nose like a dog when he bites my nipples.

I'm sure that you're doing all that you can with all the patience you can muster. Just remember that you're human and with that you are "flawed and fabulous."

Keep going strong.

I am in exactly the same position. I've given up my ideals on a lot of things because they just aren't realistic, but, yeah...exactly what you said.

I left a comment this morning, but it appears that the Internet ate it. Maybe it's just having a bad Monday?

You and I appear to be in the same boat, but I am lucky enough to have a husband who works here, and who takes the kids when I need to work. You are a much stronger woman than I.

I do believe that I rambled on some more about how you are doing the best that you can with what you've been given. Hang in there.

I also want a "Flawed but Fabulous" t-shirt if and when you make one.

Oh Kristen...I feel your pain. Although my husband isn't military and doesn't get deployed...5 months ago he MOVED TO ANOTHER STATE in order to keep his flying job. We see him a handful of days each month--never the days we NEED him. Trying to differentiate my kid's naughty behavior vs their striking out at missing their dad is wearing on my own frazzled nerves. I feel horrible for yelling when I know it's not their fault they're distraught, yet I can't stop myself from yelling.

My daughter starts kindergarten in 7 days and I'm so very happy she'll have the distraction.

You're doing a great job.

Okay, Melissa Wardy is awesome. Where can I join her fan club?

And @Lady Mama, the pleasure of peeing alone is the single best thing about working. Seriously.

Nice to see you are finally getting your shit together. What are you a freaking rabbit? Condoms, lady. You can get them at any gas station for cripes sake. Seriously, the French Tickler? Try it...

Own it Kristenatrix! You are finally hitting shore. Its either enjoy who you are and where the roads have come to OR take up smoking, drinking and drugs. But you better do it before they ban cloves, tho.

PS: I enjoy the blog, but at least give me a pop-up warning or something before you show me anal tape or panties with pockets when I'm on a work computer...

Thanks for sharing this, Kristen.

I think parents like the commenter "stop complaining" are part of a huge problem in today's society.

As others have noted, we've lost a sense of community around parenting and though that old adage "it takes a village..." is so very true, it seems we've no tribe to turn to when we need empathy or support. Then, you find yourself brave enough to open up about how challenging it can be, and some self righteous nitwit comes along and judges you for it? Seriously?

I am very glad to see that this little troll's "drive by scolding" did not succeed in shaming you into isolation but instead inspired a community to rally the surface to say that we understand and we support you.

And, like Redneck Mommy, I'd like to raise a glass to the sweet surprises that are unplanned children. I am incubating my second as I type : )

I think we're all being a little harsh on "stop complaining." She seems pretty overwhelmed, too. And she obviously finds some comfort here, or she wouldn't keep returning.

Yes, some of her opinions were harsh, but when we put this stuff out there, we have to expect conversation and opinions. That's one of the reasons we blog, right? To get the conversation started. And how interesting is a conversation if we all agree?

Rather than scaring off other people who might want to voice their honest opinions (ie: those who DON'T blog and these comments sections are their only outlet), maybe it's time we accept that even though we're not all the same, we're all in similar positions.

sounds like stop complaining is doing a little bit of that complaining thing herself...*clear my throat* i thought i was the best mom on the planet until i had kids...we just do what we are able, and the rest will work itself out in time.

Hey Lady -
I wish some of your readers had taken the time to read your entire post, as opposed to spouting off and projecting their own insecurities on you....All moms are flawed, many of them fabulous. Not many are honest about that, but you have the courage to be.

I am a work-at-home mom with a 3 and 1 yr old, and when I feel like laying down and crying with exhaustion, I put on my Big Girl Pants and remember what my mama said "Sweetheart, if motherhood were easy, men would do it."

None of us are doing this without mistakes. None of us are present with an open heart every minute of every day. No one raises a toddler without yelling once or twice.

Hopefully more of us will STOP judging, start listening, and be honest when we feel overwhelmed, unhappy, ground down and wanting to get away.

But also - remember each day greets us with chubby cheeks to kiss and start anew. What happened yesterday does not define what will happen today. When I've had a Mean Mommy Day, I make a concentrated effort to speak kindly, deflame the anger, ignore the exhaustion, and remember that in just a few short years I will be so lonesome for the noise, mess, giggles, commotion, dirty little hands, hugs, and unconditional love that raising small children brings.

Cheers to you, Kristin. Where do I pick up my membership card to the Flawed and Fabulous Club?

I'm in the Married Single Parent tribe too. Boo is home a grand total of three days a month.

Which means for 11 months of every year, I'm a single mother.

And it's hard. But as Mr. Lady has said, it gets easier.

The kids get older, and we stop caring so much about chores that never get done.

Hang tough.

And here's to unplanned babies.

Wink.

Color me confused. I thought the reason women started to write and read mom blogs was to find a community with whom they could share both the pleasures and the pain of parenthood? Not to pass judgment on each other. We get that enough IRL, yes?

As others have said, stop complaining should just stop reading. But she won't because trolls feed off negative crap.

On a more positive note, good for you for giving yourself permission to be the mother that you are and not worry about who you aren't.

This is where I can see the appeal of going back into a workplace. The idea of being somewhere else for the entire day, with the freedom of a lunch hour, the ability to pee whenever you like (alone) and the solo journey to and from work.

I feel the same way, a lot. I think lots of moms do. I hate to use the word "trapped" but that's honestly how I sometimes feel.

That's why I'm making a plan so that next year, when my youngest turns 1, I can do the things I want to do outside the home and ultimately be a better mum when I'm here.

Unlike most of your readers, I can't connect with you on the issue of children. I have nieces and nephews. I have cats and dogs. I have no kids of my own, and may not ever have kids. My wife and I both work. However, in feeling overwhelmed and unable to meet life's challenges, I can commiserate. Since 2007, I've suffered from chronic lower back pain. It keeps me from doing the things I used to do. It keeps me from accomplishing the things I had planned for my life. It's part of the reason I'll probably never have kids of my own. I have enough problems taking care of myself, and my wife uses her last ounce of energy trying to help me keep from being depressed and succumbing to the energy drain which is chronic pain. Like I said, my experience doesn't compare to yours, but you should know that you're not the only one.

Most of the tears I cry are becuase I am afraid I am fucking up my child somehow. And I only have one to worry about. That the fact I don't want to sit in the floor for hours and play princess dress up and play dough means I am a horrible mom and she is going to be in therapy. (As I type she is happily watching Playhouse Disney and wearing a Sleeping Beauty dress. I should be over there watching it with her or better yet the TV should be off and we should be doing something educational. And you know what, I'm okay with that!)

But alas, I too am the wife - CHOOSE to be and stay the wife of a soldier. Between long hours and longer deployments, TDYs, and field problems I have come to embrace the Whatever-Gets-Us-Through-Alive mentality. Cause frankly, while it's really all about the kids, you can't be a good mom without taking care of yourself. You are awesome - don't even know you but you lay it all out there so we know we are not alone in our day to day struggles. And I thank you!!!

It's called Married Single Parenting. My husband is home 6 days a month, and on those 6 days, he is too tired to THINK, let alone help me. He tries, but I can only get so much water from a dry well, you know?

Here's what I know that you don't, yet...this shit gets SO MUCH EASIER in just a few years. Maybe it's that you find your rhythm at some point, or maybe it's simply that they grow older. What it IS, I know for sure, is accepting that you only have *this* much to give in a day, and that anything beyond that Just. Won't. Happen.

Dishes don't get done today? FINE. I had a dance party with my daughter instead.

Laundry is still not folded? WHATEVER. We cooked salmon and stuffed tomatos. Also, see Dishes.

I've been living in this cave for 11 years, and if you ever need to vent, I'm always around. Being this thing, this MSM (as I like to call it) is hard in that it's impossible to discuss it without getting judged on every level (Thank you, Stop Complaining; you're a big help). The single moms will tell us to stick a cork in it, and rightfully so to a point, and the married moms will wax about how oh, they wish they had the freedoms we do.

We don't have a tribe. I don't mean an internet tribe, I mean a flesh to flesh tribe. And we need it. I'll totally be your tribe.

As I told you the other day, I start twitching after about 8 hours of solo time - let alone the 80+ hours you regularly endure.

Maybe I'm not what I hoped I'd be, but I'm way better than some of the lousy examples I've observed. You are too, my friend.

I guess what's so funny about this is the "stop complaining" mom has read this blog for 2 years and "waited for it to get better." for 2 years. She'll be back just to see what you write. She's not going anywhere.

If she knew you the way some of us do she's know how wrong she is.

'Stop complaining' can go suck a big fat one, if you ask me.

As a military wife, I completely understand where you're coming from. It isn't easy.

I agree with everyone who's said "human" and "doing the best we can" and how we're a lot alike. You're doing just fine, you aren't failing your children. They are happy, loved, fed, clothed well. Take a few deep breaths, focus on some of the good things to happen recently, or just in the moment you're in.

Have you ever read "A New Earth"? It's lifechanging. Gets you to live in the moment - such a fantastic read!

holy crap! I am just floored by stop complaining. I have been also lurking here for about 3 years now. I don't often leave comments, but in this case I had to. Kristen you are an inspiration to me, a mom, who is doing it all. You have little kids like me, you are very involved with all things intenet, have managed to get yourself into great shape, you have three healthy kids who drive you nuts when you are often on your own. Do not listen to people who obviously are bringing their own experiences in to judge you unfairly. None of us can be all we want to be, there are always balls that are dropped, or flat out missed sometimes. Keep doing the best you can, and ignore people who want to be hurtful.

I have such a hard time with people who so matter-of-factly (and, um, rudely) tell moms to just stop doing as much and that will solve the problem. Sure, you might have less to fill your time with but you wouldn't have LESS to complain about or LESS to be happy about if you gave up the things you love, like your blog, your online work, working out, etc. Those things aren't (in my opinion) expendable. Those are vital things that make you who you are and you shouldn't HAVE to give them up. If it means complaining a little on YOUR blog in order to keep all those balls in the air, GOOD. DO THAT. Don't give up things you love instead. And any woman who suggests you do has probably given up a whole helluva lot in terms of her own peace and happiness.

"Stopcomplaining" is obviously overwhelmed herself and prettty jealous.

However, scaling back on your responsibilities and having some more time alone--burdenfree--isn't a totally wacked idea.

Maybe a yoga class? Somewhere where getting your mind off of everything is part of the deal? Sigh. I may have just talked myself into taking one. ;)

Now there's a movement I could get behind. Flawed and fabulous! Love it!!

I felt awful about leaving my peeps--I mean, my family--behind for several months to go to Iraq. Luckily, he have great neighbors who helped with lawn care and child care while I was away. And, USAA was good to us when D got robbed and suddenly had $7000 spent on MARTA tokens from her debit card.

Hope y'all, too, have a good support network during times your pilot is away, and we're not too far away if need be, too!

I think we all feel inferior because of society's expectations that women should be able to do it all, hold it together, not be tired and NEVER EVER COMPLAIN.


And as to why some people choose to be nasty instead of supportive...I have no idea. I think she didn't get that this was more about "FEELING' inferior and the things that contribute to that feeling, than actually being that way.

Keep it together, you're doing great!

Man, I wish I had a cool enough blog to attract trolls!

I think more people are the tired parent that they never wanted to become. My guess is that most people who don't seem to be are only showing you the "good" stuff. Sure, there are the exceptions, but most of my friends feel like they're losing their shit sometimes.

You know, I think the part that hit me the most was "Realizing that you can't do it all, and that you're not the kind of mom you thought or hoped you would be is a big, hard pill to swallow." We will always expect more of ourselves as mothers than we can ever be. I think this is the key, the first step.

Also, I'm trying not to be angry at "stop complaining". Most of her post I dealt ok with, some people are just mean. But when she started judging you about your birth control... arrrgh. You know, I have a friend who got pregnant the first time on birth control, and got pregnant the second time on 2 forms of birth control plus BFing. I don't know your story, but shame on "stop complaining" for assuming she did. You don't know everything, and you shouldn't judge others.

This blog is partially a sounding board for you and I think that is a great thing. Get it off your chest, like we all need to sometimes. Kudos.

Honey, I think we are ALL flawed (fabulous? meh. some of us are just getting by) I don't know ANYone who is the Mom she planned to be, the Mom she WANTS to be, has the marriage the envisioned, the sex life she thought she'd have when she was 21, etc, etc. We're all just doing the best we can. I figure if my kids don't blame me for EVERYTHING when they're grown-ups, I'm golden.

Keep on keepin' on.

I've been lurking here a long time and have never felt compelled to comment. My situation and yours are very similar, Kristen - my husband is also a military and an airline pilot. While I don't always agree with you, you have made me laugh, cry, gasp and think. What brought me out of the comment closet is the commenter that told you to stop complaining, drop your blog work and quit having so many kids, and what I have to say to her is this:
This is Kristen's blog. If she wants to blog every single day about her asshole or her kids or her in-laws, that's her prerogative. You have no right to denigrate the choices she's made. So please follow through on your threat and "switch to another blog". Please. And fuck off while you're at it.

Thanks. I needed to read this. We all struggle with it, no matter what kind of situation we are in. Any mom who thinks she has it figured out is kidding herself, or hitting the "mommy's little helpers". ;)

There is no "perfect" mom. We do the best we can, when we can. That guilt we feel when they go down for a nap or when you leave the house alone (no matter how infrequently that may be), isn't really all that bad. We have to keep our sanity in some way in order to be better parents.

And if we can't get away for a little time to recoup, then we bring them along and meet with our friends. And if they happen to vomit all over themselves, we clean them up and keep talking because the thought of going home and ending our outing early is almost unbearable.

we = twins...
atlanta...husband gone most of the time...3 kids...work at home...
WE MUST GET TOGETHER.
:)

Someone in a similar situation once told me, "My husband is gone so much of the time, but it's almost easier that way. When he's gone, there's no one to be disappointed in."

I don't know what to say, except that we all have these moments, even with the support of a second parent in the mix.

Know that you're a role model for so many - even with the flaws. You make us secure in the fact that we're not alone.

I don't think any of us are THAT mom and and the ones that claim to be are seriously delusional. We are all flawed and fabulous just like you.

Well, maybe you should drop half the web stuff instead of bitching about being so tired and not having any time for your kids. you spend every free moment doing this and you dont need to. find a decent nanny that can help you during the day so you can work, then spend the rest of the day with the kids. It just seems that after 3 kids, and some decent money coming in, you can afford to get yourself together and stop living hand to mouth here. Your daughter is almost a year old; stop BF for god's sake. let her sleep at night like a normal baby, let yourself get some sleep, and stop bitching about all the time you dont get. I have 2 small kids and dad doesnt help, and I dont get to get my MIL or Mom to help out at all, I dont go to BlogHer conferences and nights out at all in maybe 3 years. You can certainly organise your life a little better. Send Drew to preschool with Quinlan, and you will have just one kid, much easier. Oh, and use birth control. I think you are smart enough to know where babies come from. I have been following your blog for 2 years now, waiting for it to get better, and all you seem to do is complain about your hubby being gone. Then stop having unexpected babies and making your life harder. Sheesh. I am 42 and have a 6 month old and a 2.5 year old with no help. You have a better life than I do. You never have time for yourself? You manage to get to the gym plenty, and you manage to go and fly places without the kids, so stop complaining. When you refuse to use Birth control this is what happens; it complicates your life. So boo-hoo about all your problems...I am switching over to another blog....

I'm sitting here crying because this is the story of my life. Not because my husband is in the military (by the way thank you for your families service to all of us) but because my husband has a job that requires him to frequently go out of town and when he is in town it seems he never gets home until bedtime or after. This is not what I married. Now I am crying even more because I sound like my crabby mother whom nothing is good enough for.

You need to take the "flawed" out of your description. Substitute "human." I too have a husband that travels and there are times when I, a normally well organized, "got it together" person honestly can't tell my ass from my elbow. That's what parenting can do to anyone - let alone some who goes it alone for long streches. Part of life and growing as a person is finding out that many things aren't exactly as you thought they would be. You may not be a perfect parent, but your love is perfect. And at the end of the day, that's all your kids really need. The rest will fall into place, even if it is a messy f'ed up pile.

Hell yes. Your second to last line is where it's at. Start enjoying the kind of mom you are....

Over at our lil' blog scene the motto is "being a supermom is a state of mind" and each and every day I try to remember that because it's MY state of mind that matters in how the vibe of the day goes in my home. You are one kick-ass mom and lofty ideals just screw us basically. Those ideals usually just chain us to a feeling of inadequacy I think....

Yes...flawed and fabulous. Great post.

You have a much fuller plate than I do, but I think it's hard for every mom to realize she isn't (will never be, really) the mom she hoped she'd be and accept/celebrate/embrace the mom she is, which is (usually) still a pretty damn good mom. Still, we always have these hopes that we'll get everything figured out one day and give our kids the perfect life we hoped we'd give them. Insane optimism or something. From a daughter's point of view, though, all I've ever wanted is for my mom to be happy.

Just because you chose it doesn't mean you have to like it. Having an often-absent husband sucks, especially an unpredictably-absent husband. I think you're doing a fantastic job with everything. You should know there's a whole internet worth of people who agree.

As a single mom, I understand this to the core! I too work from home, and while I only have one 3 yo, I am still 'yelly mom' pretty often. Sometimes to be heard as my child has selective hearing while he's doing something wrong. I gave up on the perfect, do-it-all mom thing when I flunked a semester of school.

What's worse, my sister is THAT mom with three kids & an almost ex husband who's military. I will never live up to that. She's has a great support system and she claims it got easier when they were all in school. I hope she didn't lie!

I feel the same way, but my husband is here. I think we're always fighting the battle between who we want to be and who we are. What we want to do, and what we have the strength to do that day.

You're raising some beautiful kids, Kristen. Imperfections are what makes us real. And trust me, your kids are far better off with you as a real mom than some Stepford idea of what you should be. You're a fantastic mom. I'm totally thrilled to count you among the moms whose opinions I truly value.

You help me to realize I'm not alone. When I read your blog I feel like I am reading my own thoughts and feelings. Those thoughts and feelings are always so mixed up in my head, and it is refreshing to see them in a manner that makes sense. You may be the keeper of my sanity and you don't even know it.

I stayed home with my 3 kids for 6 months by myself while my husband worked out of state. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I had no family that lived near by to give my breaks or help and I only could afford a baby sitter a handfull of times.

It is so hard and I do think you have to give something up in order to just make it through the day. Most of the time what I gave up was my sanity!

I read the book "The 5 People you Meet in Heaven" and something that stayed with me was a quote that compared life to juggling - only some things are glass balls that will shatter if you drop them, and others are rubber balls that will just bounce. I think my greatest challenge is not only identifying the glass balls, but letting the rubber balls drop when necessary.

Btw, I think you are phenomenal and inspiring. Also, you are hot and funny - which might not even be fair (I've noticed that you usually get to be one or the other.)

One day at a time, hun. We're rooting for you.

Hey, on the bright side at least people read your blog. That has to help a lot.

I think motherhood and nervous breakdowns go hand in hand. You just do the best you can and it looks like that's what you are doing.

You know those moms who do it all - sew the clothes, make the cookies, do the projects . . . they are just doing it so they can say - I DO IT ALL . . .who wants a mom like that? I'd rather be flawed and fabulous - and real! At least you know your kids aren't going to grow up in some sort of fairy tale. They will have a better understanding that life is hard and life isn't fair! I work full time, my husband is never around, and when he is, he still doesn't do anything (he's middle eastern and in his culture, men just don't do kids and housework).

I'm also a mean yelly mom (mean mommy is what we call me!) and I say I'm sorry daily too.

Just roll with it. Some days, there's nothing more you can do.

I hear you. I always have a million things to do besides play on the floor with my kids, and I always forget how a few minutes of positive attention improves their behavior for hours.

I depend on my husband to co-parent, and when he is gone a few extra HOURS, I am a not-as-good mom, so I really think you're amazing!

"Realizing that you can't do it all, and that you're not the kind of mom you thought or hoped you would be is a big, hard pill to swallow,"

You said it sister!

My husband doesn't travel, but he works 12 hour shifts 5 or 6 days a week. On his days off he likes to do things with his buddies or in groups, sometimes just the two of us, but not often enough. And NEVER with helping out with housework. I totally get it.

We all know you are doing what you can to be the best mom you can. Honestly you are a stronger woman than me to do what you do - even with the hubs travels and I have only one kid its hard. So bless you for that. Know there is a whole community out here supporting you!

Aaaand, I just hollered at my kids (for the upteenth time, today) to, "QUIT MAKING ME HOLLER AT YOU!!!"

Flawed and Fabulous, abso-freakin'-lutely! Sounds like we could really use a blog badge, right?

Love this. I have a tendency to be a "yelly" mom. Half the time I have to shout to be heard in the first place, so throw in a trigger of some sort and I become not just Yelly Mom, but Mean Yelly Mom.

But one thing I have gotten so good at with my kids is saying "I'm sorry." I used to shy away from it because I felt like, as the Parent, I had to be the Example Of Unwavering (Yet Also Patient and Compassionate) Authority. But I screw up. Daily. I get the authority part right but not the kindness, or I get the kindness without the authority, or I'm neither authoritative nor kind. Getting both together is hard to do day in, day out, all day long. (especially when your spouse isn't around to share the load). BUT, I find that simply saying "You know what? I'm being really grouchy today, and I'm sorry." or "I didn't mean to yell at you like that. I'm sorry." goes a long way in preserving my relationship with my kids. They know I'm not perfect, but that I love them and that I'll own up to it if I make a mistake. Which I do. Did I mention daily?

The nice thing is that despite all my screw-ups, my nearly 12- and 10-year olds are well-adjusted, empathetic, kindhearted kids. So it appears the stuff I did right really did outweigh the stuff I did wrong, even if it didn't feel like it at the time.

Sometimes we just have to do the best we can. Sadly, my husband went back to active duty to get a break in his work hours.

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