Friday, May 6, 2011

will the real june cleaver please stand up?

I got a sweet note from a friend after my last blog entry thanking me for being "real" on my blog. She said other bloggers (and I'm sure other moms on the playground and in books and magazines and on TV shows) sometimes made her feel that she is falling short of some "good mom" goal and she appreciated reading that someone else might not have it all together either but still managed to get by, maybe even joyfully.

Here's what I want to know: where are they?

Where are all of these "got it together" mamas that we hold ourselves up to and constantly, helplessly, obviously fall short of? I’m sure even those intimidating women I see at the gym with their huge rings and coordinating gym clothes and mammoth SUVs and daughters with matching hairbows feel like they are falling short somewhere. Because most of the women I talk to - real women with real children and lives and husbands and houses that get dirty and laundry that's not done and frozen pizza for dinner - rarely ever seem to feel that they've "got it together". But what does that mean? Where do we get the idea from that mothering has anything to do with being "together"? In my opinion, it has much more to do with just being PRESENT.

Shortly after reading my friend's message, I read another blog entry about very much the same thing. Another mom who might not have a house that looks like the photos in a Real Simple article, but who has identified priorities for herself and her children. Her post centers, to me, around this little snippet of wisdom:

"And then I remember what my most important parenting job is. And that is to teach my children how to deal with being human. Because most likely, that’s where they’re headed. No matter what I do, they’re headed towards being jacked-up humans faster than three brake-less railroad cars.There is really only one way to deal gracefully with being a jacked-up human, and that is this: Forgive yourself."

Can I get an "amen"? How can we teach our children how to gracefully navigate life, mistakes and all, if we pretend to never make them?

At the end of her entry, this blogger asks her readers to leave comments telling what makes them a good mom. Not what they need to fix or forget to do or think that the lady in front of them at carpool does better, but what they do well all on their very own. I think for me it is that I do recognize every day that I am not a perfect mother or wife or housekeeper. My living room rug is currently host to enough dog hair to cover another good sized dog and there is laundry on the bedroom floor that has been there for at least a day or two. I'm not sure what we're having for dinner and it may very well come out of the freezer. But I love my daughter. I love being her mother. She makes me laugh every single day. And what I am good at is allowing myself to fall short of perfect so that I can find joy in those fleeting moments. I’ve found that for me to be a happy, and therefore I think a “better” mother, it's more important to me to BE together than to HAVE IT together.

Happy Mother’s Day, mamas. You’re all awesome.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

a likely story

If I write another blog entry about how I'm going to be better about writing more consistent blog entries, I'm going to be annoyed with myself. So suffice it to say that I really have no excuse other than my long queue on Hulu and a strong desire for afternoon naps. I would say that I also suffer from a lack of interesting things to blog about lately, but some of my most favorite bloggers post nearly every day and always seem to make themselves seem interesting, funny, thoughtful, or all of the above. Plus I have pretty much the most adorable genius baby (eek... I guess I should say toddler... that little stinker will be EIGHTEEN MONTHS old next week) ever in life, so writing about her alone should provide blog fodder for all eternity. I guess I just need to start looking at life through blog-colored glasses. Or just take a healthy dose of ego and assume that everyone finds my life fascinating.

Today I got to be a single mom for a day since Joe went to Augusta for his cousin's med school hooding (YAY Kate!). MAD PROPS to all the single mamas out there. On days when I don't leave home early to teach Joe doesn't usually come home until 5:30ish anyway, but those few hours of having both of us home to share parenting duties is such a joy, not to mention a relief. I just like having someone else there to make decisions, even if it's just what to make Laine for dinner. It's also much harder to be a single CAR-LESS mom, but Laine and I rocked it out today and filled our afternoon with an impromptu playdate with one of her many gentleman callers, a walk to the park (on top of my hour and a half at the gym this morning... wham bam thank you MA'AM... and you bet your fanny I'm bragging on my walrus-y pregnant self), peanut butter and "chocolate" (nutella) for dinner, and a late bedtime because Mommy is a sucker for "again" when it comes to lullabies. I like days when I feel like I am on top of my mommy game, because I know our little world is about to be rocked in approximately 4 months time. Sometimes that seems like an eternity, but on days like this when I did most things right and got some exercise and took a nap and I can sink onto the couch exhausted and satisfied with a quietly sleeping toddler and a sink empty of dishes at 7:30 ready to watch some American Idol... I think 4 months might be just long enough.