The Mother Load

Posted on February 18, 2011

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I am a mom.   I have kids.  Sometimes I might write about them, and sometimes I might put pictures of them here.  In the past I might have made it appear that I was the perfect mom, with the perfect home, and the perfect marriage, and the perfect kids.  I might have done so in a way that made other people feel inferior.  I know I felt inferior at times, and pretending I was perfect and knew more than other moms made me feel better.

I am older now.

I am hopefully wiser now, and that “wisdom” comes from knowing that I don’t have all the answers.  I am not better than anyone else, and no new mom should be made to feel like they are doing things wrong because they do things differently.

It seems like this parenthood path has been paved with my mistakes, my fears, and my doubts.  I wonder if I am doing a good job.  I hope I am doing a good job.

Some days I have it all together.  We wake up on time, breakfast is something hearty and nutritious.  Lunches are filled with sandwiches cut out in shapes, fresh fruit, veggies, juice and maybe a homemade cookie.  I get the house spic and span, even the baseboard gleams.  I get in a workout, walk the dog, run errands, and get started prepping dinner.  I make a dinner from scratch, with wholesome ingredients, help with homework, and get a couple of loads of laundry in.  We have family time, then the kids shower, brush their teeth, go to their rooms, read, or I read to them for half and hour then its lights out and it’s time to spend some time with my husband.  I don’t raise my voice, or lose my patience. Yes, some days go just like that…once or maybe three times a year.

In reality?  Someone doesn’t want to get up in the morning.  Breakfast is rushed, and usually cereal.  Lunches are sandwiches just cut into triangles, with yogurt, fruit snack and juice…or they eat something from the cafeteria.  I make homemade cookies, but not all the time.  My house gets picked up, or at least the clutter gets moved around. I walk the dog…or rather the dog walks me, and my workout is trying to get up to the bus stop in time.  I planned a good made from scratch meal, but I remembered we need to hit the library because books are overdue and the oldest needs to find some books for a school project…and we don’t get home until 6, so we grab something on the way home or we have sandwiches or cereal for dinner.  I’ve had to raise my voice, send someone to their room, lose my patience, subdue a temper tantrum, and I just added another load to my growing pile of laundry.  The kids shower, brush their teeth, and miss their reading before bed time because they don’t remember where they put their homework folder and we had to tear up the house looking for it.  It was in the backpack the entire time.  Now instead of spending one on one time with my husband I am catching up on laundry, and he is getting ready for bed.

It’s not always like that, a lot of the time it somewhere between the first example and the second.

I may not always do everything perfectly, or even very well at times, but I love my kids, and I always strive to do what is best for them.  What works best for our family may not work for yours, and vice versa, but that’s okay.  I don’t care if you breastfeed, or formula feed, as long as you feed your baby.  I don’t care if you are an attachment parent, or not, as long as they know they can count on you.  I don’t care if you don’t approve of me letting my kids have McDonald’s, they know it’s a special treat, and that tomorrow they need to eat their veggies.  You shouldn’t care if I think you’re a helicopter parent, as long as you feel you’re doing what’s needed to keep your child safe.  I vaccinate my kids because that is what I feel needs to be done for their health and wellbeing, and yes I did plenty of research on the subject.  You aren’t vaccinating, or are delaying them because that is what you feel is best for their health and wellness, and I imagine you did your research too.

The point is I make mistakes.  In life in general, and as a wife and mother.  So does everyone else, what matters is did I learn something from my mistakes, and what am I going to do to keep from making the same one.  Keeping up the facade of  “perfection” is tiring, and pointless, because we are all flying by the seat of our pants as far as parenthood goes.  I finally learned that the only person who should be the gauge of my parenting skills are my kids, and myself.  When they go out in the world and use the things I taught them I know I am on the right path, and will give myself a bit of a pat on the back.  On the flip side when they do something wrong we work to correct together, they learn they have to take responsibility for their actions, and I learn that this is a lesson that needs repeating.  That is my measuring stick, not what other moms do, and not how they portray their family and kids.

I am a mom. Not a perfect mom, but I hope a pretty good one.  I will not allow other people to make me feel inferior in my parenting choices, as I know my children best.  I will try not do or say things that might make someone else feel inferior in their parenting choices as I don’t live their life, and only they know whats best for their family.  I will make mistakes.  My home will probably be a disaster area at times. I will most likely make hot dogs for dinner tonight.  My kids will probably watch one to many cartoons this evening, and I am going to be up until 12 a.m. because my sink needs to emptied out, and clothes need to be folded, so I will miss cuddle time with my husband.  However the love that is returned to me lets me know that I am doing an okay job, even with the mishaps of the day.  Their love helps me to try harder, but to cut myself some slack, because they don’t want me perfect, they just want me.

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