Several months ago I read a book called (I think) Confessions of a Slacker Wife/Mom? (or something close to that, I’m slacking so much I don’t feel like looking it up). I saw the book referenced again a while ago and while the contents weren’t stirring to me, the title got me thinking. Lately I’ve had a few slacker moments myself. The last week I read a book about the trend of extreme parenting in this country called “Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juicebox” (I read it recently enough that I remember the whole title).
It promotes striving for a “perfectly good” rather than “perfect” way of parenting that seems pretty healthy to me. The author suggests that one thing we can do to help quell the tide of extreme parenting is share perceived imperfections and discuss them with others. For instance the next time someone mentions “OH I would NEVER ______!” and you nod - knowing full well that you _________-ed this morning, perhaps getting real about it might be in order. I thought I’d share some of mine so that we can collectively lower the bar a bit and relax.
This is clearly not a comprehensive list of my alleged shortcomings as a mom, but these are those that spring to mind and would likely ruff a few feathers in the extreme parenting circles:
-I have served several meals in front of the TV this month. Meals that would make a dietician squirm.
-My kitchen floor has not been cleaned beyond a sweep for more than a month. Yes, there is that thwuck thwuck noise when you walk across it.
-One night when Daddio was working late, Kiddo and I made cupcakes – and ate them for dinner.
-Kiddo is on antibiotics right now (turns out all that mucous was a sinus infection) and I haven’t even attempted to get the pink slime in him straight. He gets popcicle soup twice a day. Thank you, Mary Poppins.
-So as to avoid the wrath of my toddler on Sunday afternoons (1:00 church) I’ve either sent him home with Daddio after sacrament meeting or we’ve stayed home from church all but one week this year.
-There was about an 85% chance my child swallowed a coin the other night (don’t ask). Trying to avoid the ER I called neighbors to see if anyone had a metal detector we could borrow. They did not. I even had an elaborate plan complete with taping a nickel to his back as a control to see if it would work through is body. I was so not in the mood for coin swallowing and the subsequent late night that I did not go with them to the ER. Daddio said he’d do it and much to my child’s shagrin, I let him and I stayed home to rest.
Post note: Nope, no coin. No idea where that nickel went but it wasn’t in the kid. There was another kid in the ER who swallowed a nickel that night but it wasn’t mine. Also, there was a kid with a crayon up his nose – I don’t know what color the crayon was, I wasn’t there and I didn’t ask.
- Kiddo (age almost 3) is not in any classes, clubs, or preschool at the moment. I do not consciously attempt to “enrich” his life in anyway…unless repeated viewings of Super Why count. (on that note, while it’s been colder than a well digger’s butt and we’ve been sick we’ve watched WAYYYYY more than the recommended limit of 1-2 hours of television a day.
-I have never taken him to get his picture taken and its not an economic thing, I just never have. I also have very few scrapbook pages of his life.
-I freely admit that being a mom frequently drives me nuts. And it’s not necessarily the “best job I’ve ever had”.
Now, granted these things may not seem earthshattering and they probably aren’t my worst slacker moments. But I know people who would stand aghast at the above listed travesties I have committed and consider some of the things I have neglected to do well the very things that define their worth as a mom. I’m telling you I have friends who are KNOCKING THEMSELVES OUT to run to toddler classes and lessons and activities and biannual (or more!) photo appointments and do handmade theme parties and cook to order only nutritionally calculated meals and bend over backwards mothering all the while squeezing out these hugely pained martyr grins. Don’t pretend you haven’t known this person. They’re keeping score and quietly going nuts. Don’t tell me you haven’t felt like you needed to be whatever it is a perfect mom “is”. Obviously I’m not advocating neglect or abuse, but there is a serious societal and cultural expectation for us all to be “Super Mom”. This expectation to be the perfect mom leads sane people to believe that a perfect mom EXISTS and therefore must be emulated. Well I’m here to say NOT EVERYONE DOES IT THAT WAY AND THAT’S ALRIGHT. I should also point out that I’m saying that as much for myself as I am declaring it to y’all. Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back to realize and be ok with the fact that I’m just not “that mom”. And that’s perfectly good.
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