Sometimes on Mother’s Day I find myself reflecting on how I’m doing as a Mom, and today, these are my thoughts…
We are never going to be perfect. Sometimes we are going to be messy, and human, and moody.
Sometimes we are going to feel real shitty at this. That’s normal I think.
Sometimes we are going to lose our cool. Like when I held the tablet out the car window and threatened to let it break into one million pieces if EVERYONE DIDN’T LISTEN UP RIGHT NOW. I scared them so badly that then I spent 45 minutes comforting them.
I’m going to call this bonding.
I like to think of myself as fun and relaxed, as brave with a touch of crazy. I’m the one who loves to laugh and awkwardly dance in public, the one who jumped off the cliff first and who shaved her head because she felt like it. I’m the one who traveled across the world alone.
So naturally, I thought I was going to be a really fun parent. A free spirit, spontaneous and unconcerned with dirt or danger. I’d probably raise kids who were sponsored by Red Bull they’d be so fearless and capable.
When traveling it’s easy to focus on the adventures we will have and the things we will see. I dream about the glow worm caves in New Zealand, I envision long hikes up peaks with stunning 360 degree views. I picture the togetherness we will feel around late night campfires.
Also…in those dreams no one has a bad attitude or a headache and someone is playing classical guitar in the background. NBD.
As I’ve travelled with kids I have found, that the adventure is great…but only if we take care of a few basic things first.
1. They don’t share. AT ALL. You are pretty sure that you will be working on this until they are in their seventies. The main problem is that the other kids give them WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want. When you ask them why, they say things like, “She screamed so I gave it to her.”
You are really excited for their future parent-teacher conferences.
2. DRAMA. That noise that sounds like they’re being de-limbed in the back bedroom? That is the noise the youngest makes when their sock is “bothering them”.
I was going to be the Dr. Oz of parenting. I was going to be a guru, and then I realized that I would probably have to teach my kids to stop acting like wild raccoons at the grocery store. I don’t want to be negative but my kids are 10, 8,6, and 3. This is never going to happen for me.
You are not going to get advice from me on teaching toddlers to read, or getting your kids to stop gagging on their vegetables. I could however offer a step-by-step guide to watching them chew on the same vegetable for two hours, until you eventually give up and let them spit it out.
I am not very perfect at parenting, but I do love my kids enough to cuddle with them while they smell like pee, and I feel like that’s kind of a lot.
I have recently gone back to work part time. This is mostly because I plan on giving my kids a sub-par childhood.
So far everyone is suffering and wearing weird clothes to school, because I’m not there to control their fashion decisions. My kindergartner wore pink leggings and cutoff jean shorts to her school Christmas program. I snuck in a few minutes late from work and scanned the kids on stage. When my eyes fell on Oaklee, I burst out laughing. There she was, surrounded by red and white dresses and tiny bow ties. My husband waited in great anticipation for my reaction. Our eyes met when I slid into the seat next to him. He grinned and nodded proudly. “Yeah I did…” he whispered, giving me a big wink.
I fired the tooth fairy.
I am all done moonlighting as an ivory collector.
It was the fifth time the, “tooth fairy must have been so busy she forgot!” while my husband and I mouthed obscenities to each other over their heads, HOW COULD WE LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN???! My son sat me down and gently asked, “Mom, are you the tooth fairy?”
I just couldn’t handle the pressure anymore. I caved. Read More
I was twenty-one years old when I held my son for the first time. I hadn’t yet a enjoyed a single legal drink and my idea of cleaning house was to not to. He was red and wrinkly and his cry echoed down the hospital hallways. He was perfect. I looked into his wide eyes and I saw the weight of eternity in his fragile being. What a responsibility, what an honor. Fear hit, because suddenly I was vulnerable. Suddenly my actions mattered. Suddenly I had to grow up and to know what I didn’t know.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your face is more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ahead of you. Another part is scared because time is racing and I can’t slow it down. I’m afraid that I haven’t always been awake and noticing, and that somehow I have slept through the magic of your growing. I wonder, have I enjoyed you enough? Have I given you what you needed? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken?
I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be at being your mom. I want to be great; and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not.
Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it.
Everyday I make mistakes.
Recently I went to a sports bar/pizza place for a friend’s birthday. There was sawdust on the floor, peanuts, and initials carved into the table. I thought, you know who belongs here?
I was right. A week later we brought them. We got a paper tray full of peanuts and my husband instructed everyone that their shells were to be thrown on the floor. I guard the carpet under our kitchen table like a prison warden, so my seven-year-old’s eyes lit up like it was Christmas. His shrill, villainous, laughter could be heard across the bar as he plowed through peanuts just so he could throw the shells to the ground. Graham busted out his pocket knife and my nine-year-old set to work on the table with the prowess of a young Michelangelo.
We are such good parents.