Let’s be real, we all make mistakes. I don’t care if your last child’s birthday party would have qualified you for Mom of the Year at the Pinterest Party-Throwing Awards, you have done something in your career of mothering that made you shake your head at yourself and look around to be sure no one noticed.
I do those kinds of things every single day.
This is the ugly truth about motherhood. I assume some others share this fallibility to maintain my own sanity. I feel sure at least one of my kids will end up in therapy because of me, but doesn’t that mean I did something right?
Here are the top five (of many, I’m sure) confessions of a real mom:
1. Sometimes My Kids Use Dirty Dishes
If I am being totally honest, my one-year-old daughter has eaten more food off of the floor than I care to admit. This morning, I rinsed out a sippy cup of water to send with her to daycare because I just plain didn’t have time to wash it. So, yes, mom fail. My kid will be drinking remnants of last night’s dinner with her lunch today.
2. I Forget Bath Times
At the risk of sounding like Adam Sandler in Big Daddy, I may have had the smelly kid in class. It isn’t an intentional lack of parenting skills. This is survival mode. Our son has karate twice a week, soccer twice a week, and occupational therapy once a week. That is on top of homework and whatever else our family has going on. I am sure to at least hose his hind end off in the yard after soccer practice, but good grief, one week I completely forgot to bathe our baby girl for four days in a row. FOUR DAYS!
I know, I know. Get your Mom of the Year nomination cards ready. I don’t know how you moms of several kids or single parents do this everyday and manage not to look like a train hit you in the mornings. Just today, I guarantee I look like I wrestled a bear on my way to work and I had a husband to help me prep the kiddos for school.
3. I Lie to My Kids
Full disclosure: I am going to have some real explaining to do when my six-year-old son realizes that all moms don’t actually have eyes in the back of their heads. This weekend when I couldn’t turn around to see whatever shenanigans he insisted I watch in the back seat, he said with full confidence, “Okay, well can you just turn on your back eyeballs on and watch me?”
Y’all I can’t help it. Sometimes it is easier to tell my kid that chocolate milk comes from brown cows and white milk comes from white ones instead of dodging the incessant barrage of questioning that will follow when I tell him the truth. He will understand one day, right?
4. I Cry More Than I Care to Admit
In the bathroom, in bed when I can’t sleep, or in the car on my way to work—I cry a lot these days. Parenting is a messy, thankless job; parenting a child with behavior disorders is a job that should come with a hard hat and hazmat suit.
There are many mornings where I have already been hit, spit on, screamed at, and told how much I am hated all before 7 a.m. so yes, I cry on my way to work sometimes. Many days it feels like that is all I have left and if I get it out in a safe place where I won’t feel judged by anyone else, then I might be able to make it through the work day.
There have been countless (and I mean countless) times when I have gone in the bathroom, leaned against the wall, and slid down hugging my knees and sobbing into my legs so my husband can’t hear and my kids who are peering at me from under the door can’t see my tears. Sometimes, I am crying because I am disappointed in myself. Sometimes, I cry because I am so frustrated with my son. Other times, I cry because I feel like it is all of the emotions I have pushed down for weeks and they just came bubbling up like hot lava and I can’t stop them.
Regardless of the reason, this is my honest place and that is the truth. I cry a lot these days.
5. I Don’t Always Make The Best Decisions
When you raise tiny humans, you are tasked with about a billion decisions a day. What toothpaste is the best to use? When should you take them to the dentist? Do chocolate Pop-Tarts qualify as a breakfast food? Does it make me a bad mom that the teenager working the Chick-fil-A drive through knows me by name?
When you are bringing up a child with behavior disorders, your decision list lengthens by miles. What specialist is most qualified? Will therapy help my child’s behaviors? Can we afford therapy and medication? Should we be medicating at all? Will the lady in the check out line actually call CPS when my son is having a Mach 5 meltdown because I am ignoring his screaming and kicking over not getting to choose the bananas?
You see the difference? I am going to mess up, people. It is inevitable. These kinds of decisions are what keep me up at night. This is what causes stress in marriages. This is why I drink Coke instead of water sometimes. It is why I have a hidden stash of dark chocolate so no one gets punched. This is why I have chosen to nap instead of jog and why the 20 pounds I had worked so hard to shed after baby number two has found its way back to my ever-widening hips. I mean, this is real life, in the trenches, not made for the faint of heart mothering.
So, mamas, trust me. There is always someone out there who is worse off than you. If you are raising a “normal” child, or single parenting, or foster momming, or bringing up a child with disabilities, or struggling with infertility, I praise you and I pray for you. Keep doing what you are doing. Sure, we may make a wrong choice or even be the reason our kid wears black nail polish one day, but we are human. We are doing the best we can and that is the best we can offer.
Keep it up! We are all in this fight together!