Before I had kids, I knew I wasn’t perfect. But since having them, I have daily reminders. From whom, you may wonder? From both of my children. Today, for example, I forgot that my daughter’s after-school club was called off, so my daughter was left sitting in the school office for 20 minutes…before they called to let me know..and to remind me that I’d been emailed about the cancellation several days before. The funny thing was that my daughter wasn’t bothered by my being late; the school clearly was. But I was annoyed that I had forgotten to acknowledge the email’s information, or at least record it so I would remember.
But that’s not what I’m really talking about. I’m talking about the fact that my children can be critical, despite the abundance of good I bring into their lives. It’s strange how they tend to forget everything I do for them. My husband tends to be the good parent around here, mainly because he’s not around much.
Here are a few examples of recent comments so you know what I am talking about:
“Mom, how could you forget to send in my library book?”
“Mom, you bumped into me – you made me fall down!”
“Mom, I can’t wear that! How could you pick that out?”
“Mom, you gave me 3 snacks! I only want 1!”
“Mom, you bought the wrong toothpaste!”
“Mom, you threw away my monster book! How could you?”
Yes, the monster book was a HUGE deal. Apparently, my son worked long and hard on a 10-page book filled with pictures of monsters with two boys from his class. He brought it home one day, ecstatic about its completion and showed it to us both proudly. It stayed on the kitchen table for a few days.
And then it disappeared. While I used to be the mom to save every piece of art my kids made in nursery school, I no longer am that mom. Now I pretty much get rid of most pieces, unless I see some saving grace in the picture that motivates me to salvage it. When the monster picture was no longer around, my son went berserk. Actually, berserk might be an understatement. The next few days were horrific. He cried. He screamed. He wanted me go out in two feet of snow in the pitch dark to go through the garbage to find it. The days and nights were long and the crying didn’t stop over this one book.
When I left for a conference in Nashville, Blissdom, the crying continued with my husband while I was away. I emailed my son’s teacher and asked her to help him work with the same two boys to make a new monster book, which they started. As a mom herself, she completely understood the problem and said they would even laminate it upon completion.
The commotion was so fresh on my mind that I talked about it at the Hallmark booth at the show, reflecting on the experience in a video when they asked me to describe an “imperfectly perfect moment”. My husband sought after my advice long-distance to calm him down. He wouldn’t let up, and as the snow piled higher in NY, he urged him to have a look through the garbage before the garbage men took it away, never for it to return.
When I got home five days later, I was picking things up around the house and noticed my husband’s pile of bills was higher than usual. There was the monster book. Clear as day. It had been tin the house the whole time.
Yes, my son was elated when I found the book. Did I get an apology for being made to feel like mom the loser? No. Was it even my fault in the first place? Maybe my husband put it in the pile. Who knows who did it? It didn’t matter; mommy always gets and takes the blame.
I generally don’t mind. I know I’m a good mom. I give as much as I am capable of giving to both my kids, and they have very full lives because of me. My husband is terrific, but he’s not around as much. However, during times like today, when I didn’t pick up my daughter on time (I’m a stickler on picking her up on time as my mom was often late when I was a child), I do feel inadequate.
We can only do the best we can, but sometimes I wish I could be “perfectly imperfect” and not mind when I slip up or make a mistake with my kids. We all have a lot to manage. Unfortunately, our kids don’t see that when they’re very young. But they will later.
Disclosure: All opinions expressed above are my own.