If you had asked me two years ago if I thought I was a good mom, I would have said yes. I mean, there is always room for improvement, but I took being a good mom seriously.
I thought I was the right good mom for Charlie. I was the one that did all of the research when he was diagnosed with ADHD, finding ways to be a better parent based on his needs. I was super involved with his care, meeting regularly with his psychologist and psychiatrist. I was always there when he wanted to talk. I loved him unconditionally, based on who he was, not who I wanted him to be.
But ultimately, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.
So if I’m not a good mom, who am I?
This isn’t a plea for affirmation. People have told me over and over again that I was and am a good mom. But no one else was there. No one else knows the cues I missed, the opportunities I squandered.
I worry about parenting my two living children. How can I trust myself? What do they need that I’m not providing? I’m so damn sad all of the time, how is that good for them?
My very foundation and sense of self are shaken. I’ve always prided myself on being a competent person. Clearly, I am not. The fact that the loss of Charlie coincided with a particularly challenging time at work, when I spent over a year working with a client who was never, ever satisfied didn’t help. I’m not a good mom. I’m not good at my job. I’m not a good wife. I’m not good at anything except being a provider, keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table.
So that’s where I am, 20 months on—trying to figure out who I am if I’m not who I always thought I was. Trying to be kind to myself. Trying to figure out what I’m supposed to learn and what changes I can make to be the person I want to be—a good mom.