One of the best things about finding a community of mothers to join is that there is always someone there to commiserate.
You overslept and kids missed the bus? Someone else has done that. You couldn't figure out why Junior wouldn't sleep, so you let him snuggle on your chest from 3am until the end of the Today show? Been there. And that time you ran out of clean clothes, so your turned your kid's (and your own) shirt inside out so that you could run to the grocery store for diapers? I'm with ya, sister.
There are stories all over the internet about that one time a mom screwed up so badly that she thought her kids were going to hate her forever, followed by hundreds of reassuring comments from women all over the planet who want to reassure her that she's doing her best and it's all going to be okay.
All of that is good and wonderful, and provides a safe place for moms to be themselves, to find a sense of belonging amongst other women who are sharing in similar struggles. I participate in that community, actively and whole-heartedly. I have screwed up, and it helped to know that I wasn't the first, and that we would all recover.
But, amongst all of this commiseration and sympathy, something is glaringly absent: the pride.
Where is the crowing from the rooftops, the shouting from the streets? We don't hear often enough from mothers who take the time to see what they do right, not just what they've done wrong.
And moms, we do so much right.
Aside from the fact that we manage to clothe them and feed them and bathe them, mothers all over the world contribute positively to their children's upbringing on a daily basis. We are phenomenal at what we do.
The world deserves to hear about that part of motherhood, too. We should take every opportunity to celebrate ourselves, unencumbered by a "but", or a justification, or worse, an apology.
Let's change the equation. Let's be proud of ourselves, and allow no excuses or mitigating circumstances to interfere. Let's recognize our strengths as parents.
Because I am a damn good mother, and I make no apologies for it.
I know my kids. I can look at something and tell you immediately whether or not my children would appreciate it, whether it be a toy or a shirt or anything else.
I am patient. I am constantly surprised by the depths of my tolerance and composure.
I am affectionate. I give hugs and kisses and cuddles and tickles and all the things that really matter.
I am not short-sighted. I have a solid view of the "big picture", and am able to adjust my parenting priorities accordingly.
I am light-hearted. I can make my children laugh even when they'd rather cry or shout.
But mostly, I love my children. I love them actively and loudly and deliberately, each and every day. I tell them I love them, and I mean it.
I do so many things every day that are right. The mistakes happen, too, but I am a good mother.
And so are you.