Let me just start by saying I was an awesome mom in 2006. I mean, I had it down. I was chock full of ‘my kid won’t……’
- -throw ridiculous fits
- -disrespect me
- -act like a spoiled brat
- -look unkempt in public
- -have bizarre injuries
- -be late for events
- -be messy
- -cause me to be
I was such a good mom.
Then I had kids.
Since giving birth in 2007 my skills have taken a rather drastic hit. The rate of diminishing ‘excellent parenting’ is proportionate to the sharp increase in the use of the phrase ‘because I said so!’ It’s an economic principle I wish someone had shared in high school or college. My dear mother was our high school economics teacher so I blame her.
I find myself eating my words about as often as I find our 17 month old eating dog food.
We are not going to land on the front page of a magazine. Unless it’s National Geographic.
Our kids often look like they have been serving as extras on a film about the Great Depression. Dirty, smudged, smeared with who knows what sort of food. Wearing clothing that might be theirs but could be that of a sibling. Maybe a sock. Uncombed hair. With a sucker possibly stuck in it. Which is really the only giveaway that they are actually children from 2015.
I’m no history buff but I’m guessing suckers probably weren’t super abundant in the Great Depression.
We are not timely.
We have joked that we like attending the 9:15 service at our church. The only problem is that service is at 9:00 AM. We just can’t seem to get this tribe in gear. Every Sunday, regardless of waking up at 6:00 AM or 7:45 AM, we are late. ALWAYS. Sometimes by a minute. Sometimes by……more.
My friend Glenda likes to recall the story of our shared baseball season a few years ago. Her grandson and my son played on the same team. As a mother of five herself, she seems to get a particularly good chuckle out of the day we arrived so late for a baseball game that my son was able to bat just once as they were wrapping up the game. Proud mom moment. Apparently I got my wires crossed and arrived at 4:30 PM for a 3:30 PM game. (At least I got the PM part right.)
My wires get crossed a lot these days. Sometimes bordering on electrocution.
We are on a first name basis with the entire staff at our local pediatric after hours clinic.
The dog food eating baby really has an affinity for climbing. So much so that we’ve had to lay our chairs on their sides so he can’t climb onto nearby surfaces. We forgot to flip one solitary chair last week.
Have I mentioned how fast toddlers are?
Little man took a flying leap off the dinette table. The face landing wasn’t as graceful as he had anticipated and as a result the Tooth Fairy visited that night.
What kind of parents have a 17 month old who is already missing a tooth?
Don’t answer that.
The good news is that with the missing teeth we’re trading out our Depression Era look for one closer to Appalachian Backwoods. Keeping things fresh, folks. You’re welcome.
You can’t demand respect. You have to command it.
Well, my days as a commander are numbered. Some days I feel like we’re hanging on, doing an adequate job. Until the baby dumps the entire bucket of dog water onto the wood floor. The normally complimentary and sweet 7 year old chimes in with “Awe, c’mon guys! You’re really going to have to be better parents.”
Truthfully, I’m just relieved he’s not eating the dog food.
“Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter productivity.” – Erma Bombeck
There are times our house looks like a burglar just exited. Furniture tipped over, fridge door left open, random spills on the floor and clothes hanging out of drawers. A few years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life, I sought the help of a cleaning lady to keep the house from being
condemned messy so I could focus on other aspects that deserved attention. Can we all just agree that when life gets hard, vacuuming falls WAY down on the priority list?
I will never forget the 20 minutes I spent with this woman as she toured my house upon our initial meeting.
Have you ever stared death in the face?
Because she did.
It was everything this woman could do not to freak out and run screaming from our home. In the end, she set a date to return, asked me to leave a blank check on the counter top and told me she’d “get as far as she could.”
Some may say I’m prone to exaggeration but let me state for the record those were her words. Verbatim.
After a good half hour of
sobbing reflection, it dawned on me that this might not be the solution I needed. I hated the thought of sending someone to weekly therapy simply because they were cleaning my house. I was fortunate enough to find a another woman who was able to assist me without putting on a hazmat suit. God bless her.
Waiting on the apocalypse.
I am not what one might call orderly. Or tidy. Or neat. Or organized. Or sane.
My children are not what one might call quiet. Or completely proper. Or frequently obedient. Or sane.
Fortunately, there comes realization with every “my kids will never” that vaporizes. The world does not end. I am, in fact, not the world’s worst mom. And they are undoubtedly not the world’s worst kids. We find one another quite amusing and spend lots of time laughing. Most often at ourselves. We are prone to injury and should really keep our insurance agent on speed dial. We will likely not win any awards for the most well behaved family. So for now we will simply stick with the title of ‘Respectable Family… in Training.’
Equally as important to me, I have been aligned with other mothers who are in the same boat. Those who not only understand but willingly commiserate the joy and pain.
As we careen towards Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the extremely frequent lessons I’m learning in motherhood. I am thankful for my girlfriends who share their stories so I don’t feel like the lone mean, messy, tardy, ER visiting mom. I am thankful God has given me a circle of friends who are smarter and more creative (and tidier) so I can bask in their glow.
Case in point, my dear friend Jana shared an idea that is now a family tradition. We purchased a tablecloth that has been used the last five Thanksgivings. Each year guests are asked to write what they’re thankful for and date their note. (Have I mentioned my obsession with Sharpies?!) Every year I am able to look over the blessings of past years as I set the table. I won’t lie…..there are normally some tears. Buy a tablecloth, a sharpie and GO!
I am so unbelievably thankful for these little monkeys that give me endless chaos and joy to write about. As for the fit throwing and mess and general mayhem from my offspring, I rest a little easier knowing I’ve got the ace up my sleeve. They only think I’m crazy now. Just wait until I’m 80 and let it all hang out.
You know what they say about paybacks.
I’m promising prunes stuck in my hair and flying leaps that result in dislodged dentures. Maybe a cigar instead of a sucker.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
Blogging to avoid cleaning,
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