This principle is applicable not just at my MOPS group, but in the community of moms at large. In getting to know the women on this island, I've received the gift of their insight on so many things. I've also been able to listen to their perceptions of me as a mom even before they knew me on a personal level. Our community is small, so many of the moms I now call friends were in the backdrop of my life at the YMCA pool, the soccer field, or the grocery store. My friend Meghan recalls thinking I was a patient mom as she watched me attempt to manage three boys in the same swim lessons class while juggling six-month-old Scout last summer. This six day period of torture was probably one of the least fun things I did last year, and I remember thinking I was an epic failure at the swim lessons gig. It's so funny to hear her perception of me when my perception of myself was so negative.
We're hardest on ourselves for so many reasons--fear of making the same mistakes our parents made, fear of alienating our children, fear of damaging their self-esteems. But here's the thing. Every mom feels this way. Every. Single. One. We all worry we're not good enough for our kids, and we all make some super duper stupid blunders as we navigate the bumpy terrain of parenthood. Would you like to hear some of my own slip-ups? They're classic and guaranteed to make you feel better about yourselves.
- Six months ago Lawson climbed onto a shelf in a store to hide when my back was turned, and we had to endure a Code Adam while they locked everything down to find him.
- Three out of four of my children have rolled off my bed--some more than once.
- I once got so pissed at Camden for screaming at his brothers that I told him to shut up.
- Lawson tumbled down a flight of stairs when he was eighteen months old because Jason and I didn't effectively communicate who was watching him.
- I can't remember Hudson's first words because I was too busy trying to take care of a toddler while pregnant with my third baby in three years.
- We once had two boys get CT scans for falls within three days of each other. (I braced myself for the DFACS visit that never came when that happened.)
- Sometimes I have to tell Camden to stop talking so much in order to preserve my sanity.
- I once fed the kids cookies for breakfast and Goldfish for lunch (on the same day) to avoid taking all four to the grocery store.
- I don't know how to appropriately communicate to Lawson that he has to stop touching my boobs.
- Hudson's incessant emotional outbursts drive me so close to the brink of lunacy that I'm practically incapable of responding positively when they occur.
Perfect mommies? Overrated. Every kid will need some parental shortcoming to discuss with their therapists later in life. I've started admitting to my kids when I make a mistake and apologizing when I feel like an "I'm sorry" is warranted. I figure they'll either appreciate my honesty and toss out their own ideas of perfection, or they'll worry over my apparent incompetence and use my blunders as ammunition against me when they're surly, rebellious teenagers. Let's hope it's the former.