Yes. I am the worst mom ever.

I don’t let them eat candy before a meal. They get a time out when they hit, say something mean, yell or don’t share. They get a longer time out when they do all four at the same time. “Worst mom ever”.

I’m such a “horrible” mom when I ask them to put their own socks and shoes on so we can go out. Or ask them to wear a jacket. And yes, they have to help me set the table before dinner and I ask them to clean up their plate afterwards. Yes, I’m so horrible.

Or at least that’s what my kids say when I offer them peach cobbler for a quick brunch instead of a sandwich (because we’re out of bread). “Worst mom ever!”

I encourage sibling rivalry.  “Whoever gets ready for bed first gets to pick the bedtime story tonight!” and “Whoever helps me unload the dishwasher gets to pick a prize from the ‘mom store’.” Such a bad mom.

I play favorites. Whatever kid is being good that day is automatically my favorite. Sometimes I have multiple favorites. I reward good behavior when I see it.

I put them to bed on time. My kids just hate it when they have to go to bed around the same time every night (earlier if they’re especially cranky).

I give too many hugs and say I love you too many times, it’s sooo “embarrassing”.

I could list a million other reasons how I’m ruining my kids’ lives, according to them.

But can I just say something first?

Sometimes I worry that I am messing up my kids. Worry that I’m not a good enough mom. Worry that I’m too strict, too soft, too loving, too forgiving, too involved….just doing too much and not giving them enough space.

But then my daughter comes up and starts playing with my hair. “I love your hair, mom.” and she gives me a kiss. Or my sons come up and say, “best mommy ever!” for no reason. Or I see my kids running around the house, screaming with joy as they play tag or hide and seek. (We’re not quiet hiders… a lot of giggling goes on.)

That’s how I know I’m not screwing them up. I’m not the “worst mom ever”. Despite what they think.

And if they think peach cobbler for lunch is the worst thing I can do as a mom….well then, I think I’m doing a pretty dang good job at this. 🙂

So moms, don’t worry about your bad days or your good days. We all have those kind of days. And if you also worry that you’re a terrible mom and messing up your kids…chances are you probably aren’t. The fact that you’re worrying about that shows that you actually care about the little gremlins… boogers and all.

Give yourself a break. Being a mom is a tough job. There’s blood, sweat and tears involved. But we come armed with bandages, baby wipes and kisses for those sort of things. So take a deep breath and relax. Twenty years from now your kids won’t remember the peach cobbler vs. sandwich debate, or be able to count how many times they were in time out. They’ll remember the hugs after time out, the whispered “I love you”s, the snuggles on the couch, and the bedtime stories.

And don’t worry about being called “worst mom ever”, because that means you’re doing something right. 😉

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