Monday, November 17, 2014

The Truth About Motherhood

I sent my eleven year old girl off to creative writing class this morning looking cute as a button. And then I remembered that I forgot to comb her hair or remind her to comb it. This is a true story. 

When I picked her up to run her over to art class where I would drop her off while also picking up her brother and sister to take them back to THEIR creative writing class, I noticed that my other daughter, age fourteen, had on dirty jeans.  Her hair was combed, though. 

For just a minute, I felt that feeling creep up on me that says, "You're a bad Mom. Seriously, who doesn't comb their kid's hair or notice that big ole stain on the front of their kid's jeans?! Did you even look at them this morning?!" 

But, I'm getting sassy in my 40's, so I answered myself back and said, "Yes. I did. I looked at them and hugged them and laughed with them on the way to their classes and I told them I loved them to the moon and back when I picked them up AND when I dropped them off. So kiss it, big mouth inside voice!". 

I think it's time Moms start telling the truth and stop pretending like we have it all together. I think we need to stop seeing Facebook posts and Pinterest as reality and start reminding one another that those are just snapshots of our best days, our most successful days. We need to tell each other the truth and have some grace for one another and stop...just STOP...with the Mommy wars.  So, here's my truth:

1.  I do not serve our meals on china. Ever. If we're lucky, I whip out the Corelle ware and feel like a champ. We buy pretty paper plates for holidays because I don't want to do the dishes for a crowd.

2.  I do not know, nor do I care to teach my kids, which fork is the salad fork or which glass is the water glass. Eating with their mouths closed is good enough for me. 

3.  I feed my kids sugar. Sometimes, I eat it with them. I also hide some sugar for myself and eat it after they go to bed because I don't want to share it. 

4.  When my kids were younger, Barney and Veggie Tales acted as the occasional baby sitter and I was grateful. So, to all you Moms of "littles": don't listen to the hype. You aren't going to warp your kids if you aren't sitting by their side reading from the classics or listening to Chopin every minute of every day.  Heck, some days I just needed to jam to Seven Nation Army and my kids loved it.

5.  My discipline isn't always, every time, forever consistent. There are times I tell my kids one thing and the next day I may contradict that completely.  I've learned that every circumstance is different and unique and not all discipline is for all the time. The end. I don't care what "the books" that people are trying to sell for money say. This is the real world.

6. I don't give them a bath or force them to bathe every single day. I try on this one, but I sometimes just flat out fail because the day was B.U.S.Y. and waiting until the next day isn't going to turn them into Pigpen and if it does...well, they can always scrub a little harder. God made dirt and a little dirt never hurt.

7.  Sometimes I raise my voice at my kids.  Really, really loudly. This used to make my heart weep when my kids were small, but then one day I had to realize that screaming is better than them pouring boiling water over their head because I wanted to be politically correct and "perfect calm parent" and not scream when my baby reached for the stove.  So, all you parents of still small kids out there:  Screaming isn't the worst thing you can do. Show yourself some grace. It happens. 

8. Sometimes I use the dryer as my iron. Sometimes, I do this multiple times a day and I'm thankful it works and other times I have to rewash the whole load because I forgot and the clothes got a little stinky.

9. When my kids were little, I LOVED nap time. I was thankful they were asleep because I needed a break. (I did a happy dance sometimes, y'all. For real.) Now that they're older when I need a break I either tell them to go in their room for a bit or I disappear into mine for a while. I also tell them unless someone is on fire or they have a bone poking out they are NOT to knock on my door...even if their sister IS breathing on them!

10. I have not mopped my floors in almost six weeks. (I swept them, though. That'll have to do.) We're busy right now and I'm choosing to look at it as an immune booster. 

11. Fruit salad and goldfish have been lunch before. All of lunch. 

12.  This list is merely the tip of the iceberg.  You should SEE my laundry room!!

Social media has motherhood...maybe parenthood...becoming a competition.  Its turned loving your child into a sport between moms. That doesn't feel like love to me. That feels like insecure women trying to prove themselves by how well they can pretend to be perfect parents and no one is better for the trade off. 

Kids need to SEE that parenting is tough business. They need to see that sometimes we fail because they learn how to deal with failure based on how well their parents deal with failure.  They learn empathy and sympathy from us, their moms and their dads.  They learn their priorities from US and I want my kid's priorities to be on loving Jesus and loving people, not on whether they have the right phone, the right outfit, the right toys or the Pinterest perfect birthday cake served on the correct platter.  I want them to nail loving themselves and others and the only way to teach them that is if I live that. 

So, here's to just being for real:  I'm an imperfect parent, but I love my kids more than anything in the world. To infinity and beyond. And you know what? I think they know it....even when they don't comb their hair or wear clean jeans to class. Maybe especially then.

And now, maybe I'll go wash a load of clothes (or restart that dryer). Or maybe I'll just let everyone wear dirty jeans because a trip to the library would be more fun.  Or take pictures of my oldest son, now 20, who just got back from his 5am job and is asleep on the couch with our Pug. They are CUTE and this oldest boy of mine is almost ready to fly from my nest and the laundry can just flat wait because very soon he will no longer be coming home to nap on my couch from a long day at work, but instead, his own...

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