When you let your three year old go on her iPad while she eats breakfast, she will begin asking for it AS SOON AS SHE WAKES UP IN THE MORNING.
If you’ve been up half the night walking the floors with a teething 7 month old, your reply will be ‘sure.’ Enjoy that with a dollop of guilt and a dash of ‘I’m not a worthy human being already today and it isn’t 7:15am yet.’ Simmer for 24 hours and enjoy while still hot.
I punished myself yesterday.
Ellie had a melt-down in a restaurant and actually hit me. I have been using time outs when needed but difficult to do that in a crowded restaurant. So. “No electronics for the rest of the day!” I said firmly, my heart sinking.
Around 5:23pm while I was trying to make supper, watch her squish play-doh cookies into being, and soothe a cranky baby I thought, this is how ‘mom of the year’ mom’s feel.
Cranky, exhausted, snappish, but with a wonderful sense of entitlement and the haughtiness only a willing sacrificial lamb could feel.
Fortunately the feeling was short lived as Ellie was back on her IPad today at breakfast.
Back to a calm (ish), manageable household, and my familiar guilty conscience. Back to the ‘I’m not worthy’ pie I eat morning, lunch, and dinner. (Supper, to my Canadian friends).
For Brunch, tea time, and seconsies, for my Lord of the Ring fans.
I won’t waste your time with all of the many reasons why I’ll never win ‘mom of the year’ - suffice to say, that particular award will never sit on my dusty, dusty mantle.
I always wanted to be ‘fun parent’. Why? Because I’m really just a huge six year old at heart, and I love all the things kids love. Painting, playing with play-doh, coloring, trampoline, swimming, singing off key. Eating ice cream for breakfast.
It is clear to me now, if not before Benji was born, that whichever parent is the main caregiver, cannot be ‘fun parent’. Or at least, not all the time. Not even half of the time. Why?
Because you’re forced to spend all day telling them what they CAN’T do. Here’s an accurate recording of what went on last night, while I was trying to make Kraft Dinner for supper…
"No, please don’t jump off the couch arm onto the other chair. Let’s play play-doh? Ok mommy will open the jars for you. Here’s your toys that go with the play-doh. Yes, I will look for your Beauty and the Beast play-doh knife. Here it is. OK?
No, you can’t eat play doh it’s just for play. Even if it looks like a strawberry. No, Ellie, please don’t EAT THE PLAY DOH. Don’t put the play-doh lids in your mouth either. Why don’t you go see how Benji is doing?
Ok. please stop hugging your brother now, he can’t breathe. Hey, Ellie, where’s the dog? Where’s Toby? Oh you found him good job. Ok Ellie let go of Toby’s tail now. Ellie. ELLIE! LET GO OF HIS TAIL RIGHT NOW…"
And now it’s 5:27pm...
And I must say, to all my fellow bewildered, exhausted, scatterbrained mommies, I love you.
You are doing the most important job on the entire planet. You know it is, it’s REALLY for real important because no one thinks about it. No one thanks you for NOT raising a sociopath. No one is fighting to give mom’s who stay at home a livable wage so they can take care of their kids. That’s how you know it’s really, really important. Because the world doesn’t have it’s priorities straight. Yet.
And for those moms who have it ALL TOGETHER and love every minute and never suffer one moment’s self-doubt while they stay up until 2am sewing their children their school uniforms for the home-school program they developed themselves…I have nothing to say to you, because I’m pretty sure that, like unicorns, perfect mom’s don’t exist.
After all, I’m pretty sure if you asked, your kids would say they want a happy mom, not a perfect one.
"I don't care how old I am. If I lose my mom in the supermarket I will panic." (Anonymous)