There is no such thing as a perfect parent so just be a real one. – Sue Atkins
Today is Graturday but instead of writing a list I just want to name one thing that I am so thankful for. That is the fact that I am a mommy. Being a mommy (or a parent) is one of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs in the world. I was only 18 years old when I had my first child and let me tell you when I look back on those days I honestly do not know how me or my child survived!! I had no idea what it was like to be a mom. Granted the instincts kicked in and I knew enough to keep her alive…feeding, changing, snuggling but when it came to the tough stuff I sucked. I freaked out when I clipped the end of her finger while clipping her nails and ended up rushing her to the emergency room because the bleeding wouldn’t stop! She consumed bleach one day while I was coloring my hair which required an ambulance ride to the emergency room yet again. She decided to play hide and seek so well one day that I couldn’t find her and just automatically assumed she had gotten out the door. I rushed and called the police and a search was immediately started…..just to find her under the sink in the bathroom. Oh yeah, everyone at the hospital and police station knew me well before she turned two! If it had not been for my mom and day I am pretty sure of the fact that I would have lost my sanity or the child one. I was a caring mom just a little unaware! I was over protective most of the time, I filled in every line of her baby book, I got her pictures takes every few months, I sterilized bottles and heated them on the stove….I did it all by the book.
You start to learn the ropes of motherhood after a few years! With child number two things changed. I was much more aware of safety issues…no more bleach drinking. However, having a jealous two year old was something I was not prepared for. I awoke to little whimpers one morning and I followed the sound to my daughter’s room. She was lying in the bed with that “oh shit, I’m caught” look. I asked her where her brother was and she slowly pointed to the toy box. I lifted the lid and there were two little bare feet sticking out from all the toys. My little man had been stuffed head first into the mountain of toys. I asked Sarah why she did it and she said….”he wouldn’t shut up crying and he was hurting my ears”. I became a bit lazy when it came to baby books and pictures. The five second rule suddenly became the one minute rule. I didn’t worry about a feeding schedule or sterilizing bottles. I would throw that sucker in the microwave to heat it up too (yes I tested the warmth). Bouncing two little ones at one time took great effort and patience. I was still a frequent flyer at the local emergency room. Little man thought he was super man and often tried to fly which left him toothless and with a few broken bones. As I quickly learned boys will be boys.
As the first two began to grow into teenagers I found out my work had just started. Taking care of a baby crying is nothing like the wrestling match of taking care of a smart ass teenager. I mean honestly I fed you when you were hungry, wiped your ass when you shit, bathed you, cuddled you, and cared for you. I wore your puke in my hair and didn’t have time to bathe myself. I sacrificed so many things to make sure you had clothes on your back and toys in your toy box. Now I ask you to clean your room and I get a hundred reasons why you can’t, I ask you to fold a load of laundry and I get told you don’t know how, I ask you to go with me to run some errands and I get told you can’t because you are going to a friends house. Really?
I walk into a room that at one time was considered a bedroom but now it would do good to be considered a trash dump. Being a mommy requires that one grow a backbone and a big set of balls.
Yes, being a parent is hard! I learned after having four of my own that there is no perfect way to be a parent. We are all going to make mistakes. We all have a different way to parent and each child is unique. We live in a world to day where women put other women down for the way they choose to parent their children. There is always controversy over breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, cloth vs. disposable diapers, attachment parenting, green parenting, no parenting! I mean come on people. I will be honest there are people who DO NOT need to reproduce period but then there are those who even though they are going to make mistakes (like letting the child get lost in her own house and calling the cops) will end up raising some pretty responsible children. I bottle fed my first two and breast fed my last two, I always used disposable diapers because quite honestly I am too lazy to add any more laundry to my list, I fed my kids what I wanted to feed them, I left three of mine sleep with me until they chose not to, I lived by the five second/one minute rule….and they all survived. I am pretty sure they all ate dog food at some point and made mud pies. They played in dirt and got grass stains on their new clothes. Yep….I am sure I fussed at some points. I made mistakes and I was by no means the perfect PTO parent. (I wish I could have been that good). I would buy cookies at the store instead of baking for two hours. There is only so much we can do in a 24 hour period…we work, cook, clean, do laundry, help with homework, bathe, read to, and care for our families the best we can. So quit worrying about being a perfect parent because the perfect parent does not exist. We learn from our mistakes and sometimes we learn a thing or two from our children as well. I know I have! I struggled as a single parent for many years and the other day my son who is 18 now came up and hugged me for no reason. He told me that he appreciated everything that I had ever done for him. He told me that he had learned so much just by watching me. I cried of course and told him I was sorry for all the mistakes I had made. He told me to never apologize for being the best mom I could be. He works 40 hours a week, goes to college full time, pays all of his bills, and even buys his mama things he knows I want. For Mother’s Day this year he bought me a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey…one of the authentic jerseys. I cried for days because while he was little the love for football was something we shared. Every year I would buy him a knock off jersey because as a single mom I couldn’t afford the real ones. I promised him that one day I would buy him the real deal. A few years ago for Christmas I finally bought him a legit Tony Romo jersey. So, when I opened mine up there was a note that said “the real deal for a real deal mom….you don’t have to wait on the real thing mama”. Yep, I worried about the mistakes I made as a parent but I have to say through it all I raised a very humble, responsible, and caring young man. I am sure each of the other three are going to be just as amazing as he is. You do your best and I promise it will pay off. Love your children and work hard in front of them. A quote that I think is amazing is “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” ~Abigail Van Buren
I love my children with every ounce of my heart and soul!! I know that one day they will become parents themselves and I hope they understand then just how impossible it is to be perfect! I hope they just let go and be real!
It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. ~Joyce Maynard