Sometimes, I’m the coolest mom ever. In the park, crazy eight kids with me. Sure, climb the trees. Get naked and swim in the fountain. Um, yeah, you can touch a dead fish… but maybe not with your tongue. The coolest mom ever. Especially when:
Flora: Mooooom! Moxie just face-planted off the tree and she thinks she broke her nose! Don’t worry, Moxie–if you broke your nose, my Mom will know exactly what to do. She’s had her nose broken three times.
Moxie: Three times?
And behind her, the chorus from four boys: “Three times? Really?”
Really. I bask in my coolness and awesomeness.
But lots of time–I’m the lamest, meanest mom ever. You know the one. No, you CANNOT throw rocks at the wasps’ nest are-you-in-fucking-sane? No freezies in the house. No, I’m not going to get you ice cream. Get off the computer and run outside before you have another fit. No, like RIGHT NOW. NOW! Stop! Don’t do that! Clean that up. For Keer-ist’s sake, put that away. What did you do? GAAAAAH! No. No. No. NOOOOOOO!
The moments that make me feel the worst, of course, aren’t the moments that they resent the most in the moment. I mean–they cannot throw rocks at the wasps’ nest. I’m not at all conflicted about telling them that. It’s that other stuff…
“Can you play cars with me now?”
“No, I have to [insert chore of the moment here].”
… all those variants of daily “I can’t,” or worse, “I don’t want to.” I mean… I could play Small World right now. I could read Danny Dragonbreath aloud for the seventh time. I could stop what I’m doing and go do the thing you’re asking me to do… I could. I could.
I don’t want to.
Some days, some weeks, some months–there are more of those moments than in others, aren’t there? Of course. That’s just the way it is. But today, at this moment, I let go of the guilt that seems to be such a constant companion in motherhood. And this is why:
Ender: Daddy! Oh, Daddy! You have a horrible owie. What happened? Did a bee bite you?
Sean: Um… where? Oh. Oh. No, not a bee.
Ender: Well, I did not bite you there.
Sean: I know you didn’t.
Ender: Did Cinder bite you? Or Flora?
Ender: Well, if Cinder did not bite you, and Flora did not bite you, and I did not bite you, who bit you?
Sean: Maybe Mommy bit me.
Ender: But Mommy is wonderful. She would never, ever, ever hurt any of us.
Mommy is wonderful.
There’s my judgement, my metric. And tomorrow, maybe I’ll be lame and mean. But maybe cool and awesome. Maybe I’ll yell, be impatient. Or maybe I’ll sit on the floor and play cars for two hours with the Ender, and braid Flora’s hair into 12 little braids, and let Cinder whoop my ass at Small World. Or, maybe I’ll be claimed by the kitchen, a deadline, a disaster. Whatever. Life happens.
Ender thinks I’m wonderful. And would never ever hurt him.
For the most part, I too am still wonderful in my girls’ eyes, but god do I know this is going to change as they get older and so not looking forward to it, but it is just inevitable I suppose. But like you I am still “wonderful” today and got that much!!
You. Are. Wonderful. And always will be.
I just love you!
And I can sooo identify with this. I recently yelled at my 4 year old for jumping on the couch, then followed it up with “Help me carry all this shaving cream outside. The fight’s starting soon.”
Oh, yes, shaving cream fight! Putting it on the shopping list–we haven’t had one of those in a while.
You melt my heart. The mommy guilt, ugh. We just need to chill the F out already, right? Some days we’ll feel like joining in the sidewalk painting fun and some days we’ll be grateful the kids are safe and focused for a few so that we can stand back and catch our breath for a few…or roam Pinterest…whatever. XO
… or blog… 😛
Love this 🙂 There is so much pressure in certain circles (attachment parenting, home/unschooling) to be a perfect mother. I don’t think it harms our kids at all, in fact I think it’s good for them, to see us as we are, flaws and all.
You, my friend, have won parenting.
I’m wonderful. Have you heard? PS I have new hair. BLUE!
Truest of trues! I’ll meet your “no, I can’t bear to play cars with you right now” and raise it with a “in fact I found a babysitter tonight because I need a few hours away from you all.”
I’m four.75 hours away from a night of freedom myself, baby. And I’ll be a more wonderful mother tomorrow for it.
Mommy guilt sucks, doesn’t it??
Majorly. I wish there was a cure.
Ugh! Mummy guilt! Does it ever end? You’re doing an awesome job, but you can only do that by saying ‘no’ and taking care of your own needs sometimes.
And stop biting Sean. I mean it.
But he loves it. 😛
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Oh I love this! I got a little teary actually. And I’m assuming Sean has a hickey – or am I being a teenager who should instead focus on the fact that you did, indeed, win parenting today. Me? I told my son that it was time to go upstairs for a nap and he said “shhhh. be quiet, mommy.” Maybe later tonight I can redeem myself by playing “chase me” for the 200th time this weekend. Great post.
Hormonal teenager you. I’ve decided part of the story is to leave you wondering…
I love your new look! Adorable kiddos and what’s this I hear about the blue hair?!! Anyhoo, mommy guilt is a real bitch, eh?
An evil bitch. PS, I tweeted you a pic of the blue hair.
I am in the midst of mean mommy syndrome. And then there are moments like this. Mommy is wonderful. I love you mommy. It’s worth it. 🙂 A little perspective for me, Jean, I just needed to know there are other mean mommies out there that are also wonderful. 🙂
Jane… oh shit. See what a horrible Mom I am? I can’t even get the name right….
It’s ok, Sera. I forgive you. 😛
Oh, my god, mother guilt! It does not leave home when the kids do. My one-and-only is now a happy, productive 24 year-old living in Boston, the place of his dreams. He thinks I’m cool and awesome, texts me to share when he’s doing something fun and exciting. And yet, we were reminiscing recently about our weekly home-school book group and he reminded how we were ALWAYS late for it and he was devastated (the word he used).
Let me tell you, for a few minutes guilt grabbed my throat and gave it a goddamn good squeeze. Even though common sense told me that in spite of my meanness in not trying (at all) to get him to book group on time, he is okay. He is more than okay.
Guilt is one bad-ass motherf***er!
It’s awful. Especially for lapsed Catholics.
YES!! That must be it.
Aww… sweetest. I’m very often the meanest, most horrible moo cow east of the Mississippi, if it makes you feel any better. It’s okay. Your kids know. They *know*.
Yeah, sometimes I don’t want to. Does that make me mean? I don’t think so. I think it’s good for kids to know that we have limits and that we have needs. They can entertain themselves for awhile too. The guilt needs to go. And, tomorrow, maybe I will want to.
If you find a way to make the guilt go… patent it and sell it. Gah.
Oh you are always there when I need you, that’s the kind of mom you are. This morning the boy was yelling and insistent about how mean I was because I wouldn’t play cars. But I really had things I NEEDED to do. But then I am the best mommy at night, when I will read him 2 books instead of 1. It’s an important lesson to remember. We can’t be everyone to everybody all the time. Thanks for that.
An awesome mom, the best you can be in any given moment. That’s the kind of mom you are.
This is so great. I have the same kinds of feelings day in and day out: will he remember the moment I was short with him, the third time I said no, that we didn’t get ice cream because he didn’t eat his sandwich — will *this* be his earliest memory?
But then when things don’t go his way and he really wants someone to lean on, it’s me. Score!