"Am I a Good Enough Mom?"
Get your guy on your side. continued...
"Spousal sabotage is a big complaint from moms — who often play 'bad
cop' by default when dads just want to have fun," says Simpson. Avoid
chastising your partner in front of the kids in the heat of the moment.
"That kind of squabbling undermines both parents' authority and teaches
kids to play you against each other," she explains. Instead, pull your guy
aside and quietly explain that his actions undercut your efforts. Then suggest
alternatives to his rowdy behavior, such as reading a book with the children or
participating in what you're doing so he's not sabotaging you. Later, follow up
with him — make sure you're still on the same page about house rules and remind
him how crucial it is that you maintain a united parenting front.
Meanwhile, it's also critical to remain somewhat flexible — especially when
your kids are at a friend's or relative's house. "When you model
flexibility, children learn positive lessons about problem-solving," says
Elizabeth Berger, M.D., a child psychiatrist and the author of Raising Kids
with Character. Gina Williams, 41, a mom in Glenn Dale, MD, is adamantly
against TV and video games, and so far her strident house rule has held up. But
when her two sons — Zion, 6, and Dylan, 2 — visit Grandma, they're treated to a
screen-time bonanza: television, video, handheld games, you name it. Instead of
fighting with her mother, however, Gina softened up her rule. "I focus on
the things I can control in my own house," she says. "I just say, 'What
happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's.'"
Ditch the people who bring you down.
Feeling a certain amount of self-doubt about our mothering is normal, says
Borba. But when your friends actually add to your parenting insecurity, it
might be time to find a new mommy group. For Patty Kamson, 44, a nearly 20-year
friendship had to end because her pal kept criticizing her parenting skills.
"She thought I was soft on my kids and had no qualms voicing her
opinion," says Patty, who lives in Los Angeles. While the criticisms never
led Patty to change her mothering style, there were times when "I wondered,
What if she's right?" she says. But when Patty's daughter had a
meltdown during a get-together, her now former friend "began to lay into me
about how my kids and I need to toughen up," she says. So Patty cut her
loose. "Riding you about how you mother? Nothing cuts deeper than
that," she explains. "I feel better about my parenting — and myself —
without that toxic relationship."