Confession: I am not the best mom.
There are women out there that exude motherhood. They’re sweet and gentle and instinctively use phrases like, “Use your words!” and “Let’s look with our lookers!”
My best friend is one of these people. She does fun, Pinterest-y stuff, like turning toilet paper tubes into binoculars and then using them for an alphabet scavenger hunt. She always uses her most patient voice, even in the midst of a tantrum, and she calls her children pet names like “Sugar”. She adheres to all safety recommendations and is extremely mindful of what her children are doing at all times. Plus, she has diligently set up a schedule for her children, which she maintains faithfully. In a word, she is the PERFECT MOTHER.
I am not that mom.
And here’s the thing: I really WANT to be that mom, but I know it will never, ever, ever, ever happen. Because I am inherently flawed. I do all the things that make good moms shudder. For example:
I am the mom that sometimes forgets to feed the baby breakfast, then cannot figure out why he’s so fussy. I also tend to leave the house without diapers, pacifiers, snacks, or a change of clothes. I am absolutely certain that I would never have made it in Scouts. I am never prepared.
I am the mom that has been known to walk into Wal-Mart with my shirt on inside out and my children’s shoes on the wrong feet. We’ve also been known to go out wearing shorts and tank tops when it’s 50 degrees out and a storm is blowing in. I do not take responsibility for the latter because the weather report has been replaced with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And Mickey just isn’t the best meteorologist.
My pet names for my kids include things like “Dude”, “Man Child”, and “Crazy Kid”. When I attempt more endearing things like “Angel” or “Sweetheart”, it comes out sounding sarcastic. Go figure.
My children do not have a designated “nap time”. Nap time is whenever they become ridiculously whiney and physically uncoordinated. I translate that to mean that they are tired. If I tire out before they do, nap time may come a little early.
My toilet paper tubes do not become educational toys. They become swords. And my paper towel tubes become swords. And my wrapping paper tubes become swords. And anything that cannot be turned into a sword can probably be turned into a gun.
There are nights that my children go to bed without a bath, simply because I don’t want myself or my entire bathroom soaked down by all their splashing. And I understand I should feel guilty about that, but there have been lots of nights when I didn’t get a bath either because no one would leave me alone long enough to take one. So I figure that we are even.
My catchy mom phrases are things like “Please don’t make me beat you,” and “You’re killing me, Smalls.” It’s only a matter of time before someone overhears, takes me seriously, and calls CPS.
School time often gets cut off early because when my child starts pretending that he doesn’t remember how to count past six when we’ve been counting to thirty, or he just cannot for the life of him identify the letter “A” even though it’s the first letter of his name, my patience comes to an abrupt end. Honestly, patience in general just isn’t my strong suit. I fear that one day this will come back to bite me. Like when my child is the biggest dullard in Pre-K because I could only make it through 15 minutes of instruction each day during his brain’s most formative years.
My children have more scrapes, bumps, and bruises than I can count. I was once in mid-sentence telling my husband that the baby was just fine and to stop harassing me about watching him… when he suddenly fell off the picnic table bench and face planted onto the concrete below.
So there you have it. Obviously, I am not “Mother of the Year” material. Most days, I am content that we have all simply survived another 24 hours. But without fail, when the conversation arises, what will I say?
“Let’s have another one!”