Welcome back former PBK Mom, Elise Rome.
There was an article going around the Internet a few weeks ago that talked about—okay, I confess I didn’t actually READ the article, but from the headline I deduced that it was about how we shouldn’t feel bad as moms if our houses are dirty. I appreciated that article—REALLY appreciated it—as I tend to carry a boulder-level of guilt around about the cleanliness of my house.
You see, some moms are really good at keeping the house clean. Take my mom, for example. There’s a clear memory in my head of our family sitting in the living room watching TV when suddenly she jumps up and goes to grab a dustrag because she saw dust on the coffee table and couldn’t wait a moment more to clean it. Whereas I…I can’t remember the last time I dusted. Just keeping toys and dishes and various outside detritus off the floor so we don’t trip or bleed is a major accomplishment in our house.
Then there are moms like my sister-in-law. They are the mothers I dream of becoming. They spend their free time coming up with plans and educational activities and cool crafts for their kids to do. They homeschool their kids while somehow maintaining their sanity. They keep their houses, if not sparkling clean, at least visitor-clean, and always, always have smiles on their faces. I, meanwhile, like to spend my free time reading, writing, or binge-watching The Peaky Blinders with my husband. Bad Mama. Bad!
Also, there are the intellectual moms like my OTHER sister-in-law, who has two master degrees, a PhD, and is a professor at a world-recognized private university. Her children speak with the lexicon of Harvard graduates and understand basic algebra before elementary school. They’re also terrific at puns, whereas MY children think that a joke consists of “What happened when the cake sat on the tree? It became a cake-tree!” Actually, that’s one of the better ones, if you get my drift. =)
And as for the type of mom I am? Well, I’m happy to say that it’s taken some time, and I’m sure it’ll take even more time to progress, but I’m finally becoming content with the mom I am. You see, I’m the snuggle-all-day, flat-tires-are-an-adventure, yes-you-can-paint-on-your-brother-as-long-as-I-have-five-minutes-of-alone-time paradox of a mother. I punish and then I realize I’ve been too harsh when I look at the situation from their viewpoint, so I apologize and try to be more compassionate. I talk to them about healthy foods and then fear that I’m setting my oldest daughter up for an eating disorder when she talks about wanting to only eat “foods that are good for her body in the future” after she has a piece of cake. I’m not the mom who looks like she has it all together and then, if you look more closely, you realize she doesn’t have it all together. IT’S OBVIOUS I don’t have it all together. =) I’m pretty certain my kids aren’t going to learn how to be good house cleaners or good homemakers or Einstein-level intellectuals from me; if anything, they’re going to learn how to struggle with their inner demons and, if I’m lucky enough, will learn from my example how to *overcome* those same demons. And if I’m really, really successful, they’ll learn that the most important thing in this world is love. And I hope that when they grow older and look around at the moms all the other kids have, they won’t care if I’m not like some moms because they’ll know how much their mom love them.
Maybe that will be enough. I hope so.
Because I still want my five minutes of alone time. =)