I was taken out of the running from the beginning.
A normally competitive person, I do not believe that spirit is intended for motherhood, or parenting in general. We've all heard it. The boasting about a mother's offspring. How intelligent, what an advanced reader, so artistically inclined, what a fantastic arm, already working on a second language, was a perfect sleeper at six weeks, the best eater you'll ever meet. Must mean that the mother is borderline perfect!
And on and on and on.
I'm guilty. Like every mother, I like to believe that my son is just such a prodigy!
Let's be real, shall we? I'll start. Here's a slim list of my dirty laundry. If we had all day, I might bore you with the more comprehensive version.
I lose my temper.
I occasionally allow, on particularly tough and time constrained mornings, my child to wear the same t-shirt he wore to bed to school.
If getting dressed is really a disaster on any particular given day, it is possible that I will offer Aidan a jumbo sized marshmallow in exchange for him sporting the desired pair of jeans I have been attempting to wrestle him into for the better part of ten minutes. That's right- a bribe. Go ahead, judge away.
I partake in an alcoholic beverage after my child has fallen into a deep slumber post-bedtime routine.
Speaking of bedtime routines, I sometimes allow Aidan to fall asleep in my lap on the couch after a delightful line-up of bedtime stories. Not because he isn't perfectly capable of falling asleep by himself in his own bed, but because he likes it and I am all too aware that there will come a time when he is no longer able to lay his little head in my lap and let his chest rise and fall and his long eyelashes flutter as he happily drifts off.
My laundry is never, ever done.
If you come over to my house and my bed is made, it is because I knew you were coming over.
I am the mom at Captain Sundae who is trying to do something nice with her child and take him out for ice cream, only to have him yell, nay, SCREAM across the ship, "I don't love you, Mom!" because he is so furious that I got his Blue Moon and rainbow sprinkles in a cup instead of a cone. Instead of disciplining him and throwing his unappreciated ice cream cup away I let him sit a few yards away and stew while other Captain Sundae patrons glare at me and judge my style of mothering. But I know my kid. When he was done with his sticky blue treat, he walked over to me with tears in his eyes and said, unprompted, "I'm so sorry I said that, Mom."
I consider a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to be perfectly acceptable for dinner. Sometimes for three nights in a row.
That woman putting her mascara on in her rearview mirror at a stoplight while her kid eats breakfast in the back seat? Yep, that's me.
I let Aidan pick out a couple of bedtime stories and then am a jerk and tell him one of them is too long. As though, in the big picture, anything in my life that evening could be more important than cuddling my child and reading the story of his choice to him.
I AM THE DEFINITION OF IMPERFECT.
But I'm real. How boring and unauthentic would it be if all moms put on this front of having it together. I never have it all together. But man do we love in my family.
When I look back at this challenging but unquestionably joy-filled time in my life, I highly doubt anyone will remember whether my child's clothes were from a secondhand store or from the Gap. No one will recall the gift Aidan presented their child with at a birthday party. Hopefully the state of my house and the furnishings in it will be a distant memory. What is most important for me to teach my son is this:
We are good to people. We love people. We live every day of our lives. When we greet people and we depart, we hug them and let them know how much their life means to ours. When we make mistakes, we own up to it and apologize. We forgive easily. We take this gift of life and we appreciate it. We keep it real.