You know, the mom that procrastinates planning the birthday party of her almost five year old for so long that he asks her on MONDAY night where his party will be on Saturday.
I’m the mom who dyes Easter eggs on Saturday night, if at all.
I’m the mom who forgot to buy treats for her seven year old to take to school for his birthday until the last minute, and had to make a late night run for Twinkies.
I’ve not always been this way. When I had only one child, I planned elaborate birthday parities with decorations and favors and homemade cakes. When I had two kids, I pulled off much of the same. Four kids must be my tipping point.
I’m fairly certain that I am still an adequate mother. My kids are loved beyond measure, fed and clothed, and well behaved.
What I’m wondering is whether the mark of a good mother is themed birthday parties and perfectly frosted cupcakes for school celebrations; coordinated Easter outfits (which I also used to do, but I’m certain the almost 13 year old would bristle at), and a well decorated home that changes with the seasons; cute foods on holidays; and decorator bedrooms. Because if this is what I have to be…I’m a complete, utter, total failure. This is what the magazines tell me I should be. Oh, and let’s not forget that I should be endlessly creative and apparently never sleep so that I can come up with new, fun ideas to do with my kids tomorrow so that they do not need to rely on video games and Legos for entertainment.
So why do we, as mothers, look to these outside “professionals” to tell us how to mother? What makes these magazine editors and so-called parenting experts any better than those of us down here in the trenches, getting our hands dirty, walking around with bleach stains on our sleeves and going to the grocery store with one pant leg accidentally tucked into a sweat sock? Why do we torture ourselves so?
Because, you know what moms? You have a tough job. You have a job description that gets tougher as the years progress. You work for little bosses who will never give you as high marks on your quarterly review as you think, you KNOW, that you deserve. But, at the end of the race, maybe, just maybe, you will have shaped a little human that can go off and do something even better than you ever were able to do. Of course, you may also shape someone who still lives under your roof and complains about the meals that you cook at age 40. Either way, they are your kids, and in the end, you have as much control over them as you had on deciding which day that they would be born.
I take comfort in the fact that while I am an imperfect parent, raised by imperfect parents, and raising imperfect kids, I have a Heavenly Father who is perfect, and who sees me as absolutely perfect because of the perfect sacrifice of His one and only Son. And that makes me feel a whole lot better. I pray that it can do the same for you.