The kids had microwave pancakes and chocolate chip muffins out of the package for breakfast. Four mornings in a row. #momfail
Now, in my defense, it was the last week of school and along with all of the end of school activities, teacher gifts to prepare and my six-year-old’s birthday party all in the same week, things were a little hectic. But still, I let my children start their day with processed food and pure sugar. For four days. #failing.
I know, I know. You probably already know that I am not the perfect mom. Maybe you saw me post a picture of my one-year-old scarfing down a bucket of dirt from our flower garden. Maybe you’ve seen me pick up a fallen pacifier and wash it off by inserting it into my mouth to “clean” it before sticking it back into the baby’s mouth. I hope you didn’t see me at my daughter’s tee-ball game when my youngest one was eating chewed up sunflower seeds that he’d found under the bleachers. I was too busy cheering on my daughter for the perfect cartwheel she did in the outfield and consoling my three-year-old over a box of spilled popcorn. Too busy to notice the A.B.C. Sunflower Seeds that my one-year-old was gobbling down. Sometimes I feel like I am losing this game of motherhood. I mean, being a mom is hard, and so I need to fess up and come clean. I am not the perfect mother. I am ready to get some things off my chest. I can’t list all the ways that I am not a perfect mother because that could take all week, but I will list a few. Maybe that will help another perfectly imperfect mom (if there are any) to not feel so bad about the time that she is taking away from her little ones just to read this.
- I use bribery. Whether it’s to get my three little munchkins to behave in a public setting, to get dressed in a timely manner or to eat all of the vegetables on their plate… I bribe. If it weren’t for candy and dollar store prizes, my two oldest might still not be potty trained. I am not the perfect mother.
- I hover, and I am overprotective (well, except for the sunflower seeds incident). My husband makes helicopter sound effects when we are at a playground or birthday party. Perhaps my infertile years caused me to have more anxiety and constant fear of something bad happening to them (like a scrape from tripping over one of their legos on the floor). But yes, it’s that bad. I prayed so hard and went through so much to get them here. I just want to protect them in every way that I can. Sometimes that means holding their hand as I walk them into school and resisting the urge to ask the teacher if she needs any help that day just so that I can sit in the class and make sure that the other kids are treating them nicely. I know. I am one hovering helicopter mom nut show. I am not the perfect mother.
- I feed the baby in the middle of the night and put him in bed with me when he wakes. What’s that? Your child is five months old and not sleeping through the night either? Um. Mine is SEVENTEEN months old and still wakes every night. At least once, usually twice. If you know our pediatrician, please don’t tell her that I do the unthinkable by fixing him a bottle and settling him down by placing him in bed with me. She’d rip me a new one as she has told me countless times that he doesn’t need to eat at 2:39 am. I am well aware of this and well aware that it is my fault that he continues to wake up for a midnight snack and snuggles because I let it happen. I am not the perfect mother.
- I sometimes lie to my kids. When it’s time to leave the park and they don’t want to go, I tell them that the park is closing. “The park is closing, and we must leave before the big, bad Park Boss comes and kicks us out. He will never let us come to this park again if we don’t leave now. Hurry! Before he sees us!” And, sometimes when I don’t want to share a particular dessert with my daughter, I tell her that it has nuts in it. She’s allergic to nuts. She still thinks that the smoothies I get from Bahama Bucks are loaded with pistachios! I am not the perfect mother.
- We watch TV. Despite what researchers say about not letting kids watch television at an early age, we watch TV. My daughter may or may not have learned all of her primary colors by watching the color episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. My middle child may or may not have learned how to recognize patterns from a few too many episodes of Team Umizoomi. I may or may not have gotten a few extra loads of laundry done because of it. I don’t feel like I’ve failed for letting them watch a little TV. My failure was in letting them get through an entire episode of Caillou before realizing that they were watching Caillou when I swore I would never let my kids watch anything as annoying as Caillou. I am not the perfect mother.
I have let them stay in pajamas all day just because they wanted to. Mom hack: post it on Instagram with the caption “Pajama Party,” and suddenly it’s OK. I have skipped brushing their teeth because we were in a hurry. Not often, but it has happened. I have pretended not to smell a dirty diaper and proceeded to tell the baby to go hug his dad. Wink, wink. I am not the perfect mother. But, I love my kids with every inch of my soul. I make sure that they know that they can achieve anything and that their mama believes in them. I make them feel safe and secure. I always listen to what they have to say. I make sure that we have plenty of play time. I give them encouragement. I teach them about God. I teach them to be good humans. I don’t let a day go by without telling them how much I dearly love them. I may not be the perfect mother. But I am the perfect mother for them, and that’s all that matters.
Are you the perfect mother? Why or why not?