100 (or in actual reality, eight) years ago when I started this humble blog, I used to do a regular post on Wednesdays called "How to Know You're a Mom." If I had it all to do over again, I'd name it something more clever and less clunky than that, but if that's my biggest regret, I'm doing okay.
I remembered this list as a cute little diary of sorts a few days ago. It started back in a time when I was working and blogging was something I did on my lunch break. Now, I'm a stay-at-home mom with few spare moments to sit down a type, despite my endless "How to Know You're a Mom" material happening right before my very eyes every moment of the day. Interesting how life works out sometimes.
I sat down to compile a list of these things this week, for old time's sake. And as I did, it became abundantly clear that something has changed in those eight years. Whether it's me or society, that's up for debate. I've written about my insecurities of which I have plenty. Add that to a culture that stands like a runner at the starting block ready to pounce on someone, anyone for the slightest perceived wrongdoing. Yeah, that's right. Perceived. Some of these things we get up in arms about are simply preferences. Some of these preferences are based on internet memes that haven't been researched in the slightest. I know better than to blindly trust a self-declared expert on the internet. And yet, they get in my head and plant seeds of doubt. Of course, some of these things are legitimate things to be concerned about, but I'm evidently unable to separate the meaningful from the meaningless. So that's my mental condition. Apparently it's not getting any better.
It's prompted this list. Whether it's once or the resurgence of an old habit, here are this week's Mom Things: 2016 Edition - on Friday (because really, I'm always late these days).
1. You take an adorable picture of your child climbing on the dishwasher just like her brothers and sisters before her and you want to share it with the world - BUT (!!!), then "the world" (aka the people on your Friends List on Facebook) will know you use plastic plates and cups and, worse, put them in the dishwasher. You post it anyway and brace yourself for inevitable secret judgments and possibly public chastisement because while most of those plastics are BPA-free, not all of them are.
2. The Walk of Shame has taken on new meaning as what you do when you parade your kids down the church hallways to their Sunday School classes with pink noses and shoulders from too much fun in the sun on Saturday. (Or wait, is that better than toxic sunscreen?)
3. You live in fear of Protective Services coming to your home and taking your children because your five month old's arm got broken completely accidentally during a diaper change by her dear, sweet, and loving six year old sister.
4. You hesitate to even take your two year old to the doctor for a collarbone fracture two months later, which he earned by trust-falling to no one off a kitchen bar stool in a fit of rage.
5. Your nine month old cruises around the house in a 90's-era walker like an Olympic track star, but you're scared to document it on Facebook, because, well, you know, the Judgmental Judys.
6. You pat yourself on the back for remembering to pack a snack for each of your children before their afternoon homeschool co-op. At the end of the day, your nine year old daughter tells you that a classmate informed her that her Goldfish are going to give her cancer. You aren't sure if you're angry or scared. In your house, Goldfish are a food group. Add that to the list of things you're supposed to consume within the privacy of your own four walls along with hot dogs, Kraft macaroni and cheese, and Lunchables.
7. You positively refuse to let anyone look in your vehicle and prohibit carseat photographs just in case one of the chest clips has slipped down or someone should happen to notice that your 12 year old is no longer rear-facing.
8. You went to the drive-thru at McDonalds after an afternoon of exhausting errands with a bunch of sleepy kids. While they slept you rewarded yourself to a 3-pack of chocolate chip cookies to prolong the nap. What you didn't bank on was McDonalds having to bake the cookies from scratch while you and your giant, hard-to-miss van parked out front on display for the world to see. There's no way you weren't spotted at the worst-of-all-bad fast food restaurants.
9. You don't pay too close attention to the child climbing in and out of your shopping cart with the agility of an ape, because she's been literally scaling walls since she was 15 months old, until a well-meaning observer comments that she really ought to be careful. You realize this is probably not acceptable behavior and for the benefit of the onlooker, tell her to stop.
10. You hesitate to mention the times you lost your children at the St. Louis Zoo, Walt Disney World (just as an Electric Light Parade was about to start and you couldn't get down the road to even search), or the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan because that would indicate that you have taken your eyes off of your children for literally 15 seconds (the time it took to get separated in each case). By the grace of God, they were all safely returned in minutes, and you're thankful no one caught any of those events on a cell phone camera for instantaneous upload on YouTube.
Many of you will probably read this and think "Wow, she needs to get her crap together." Some of you will think, "Have a little confidence, lady." Others might feel the same way as me.
All I can say is that I admit my shortcomings as a mother. I'm not a perfect mom. But here's a secret, none of us are. Especially not the ones who think so. Maybe some day I'll be more heavily convicted about food, carseats, plastics, whatever the issue du jour might be, but for now, I'm just doing the best I can. I don't think there's any more our children can ask of us.
Let's remember that.
(If I do another one, I promise to be a little less cynical. Maybe.)
A BREAK IN THE ACTION
6 months ago