Once upon a time, I was a new and idealistic mother of a beautiful boy. His nursery was perfect. He had a little toy box with stimulating and developmental items, a shelf with nursery rhymes and Baby Einstein books and a section of Spanish books for children (I was going to teach him other languages, obviously). And playing in the background at all times was a soothing baby massage CD. I doted on him; took him to my grandparents’ retirement home twice a week so all the residents could love on him also. I practiced attachment parenting and never raised my voice.
I was the perfect mom and I was sure everyone else agreed.
That sweet boy will be 18 in a month. He is followed by 6 siblings, down to the almost 4 year old baby of the family. And unfortunately, with each baby, I became a little less perfect.
Now I do not like perfect moms at all. They make us well-meaning and imperfect mothers look terrible. And our kids notice.
My 11 year old daughter has a friend down the street. She goes to the girl’s house every day and together they ride bikes. Then they play at her house and her mom invites them on hikes and dinner picnics by the lake. The girl does not come here because, as I’ve hypothesized, there’s a lot of us; we’re loud, and we don’t have picnics. Or maybe because when she first met me, I had a margarita in hand and she was scandalized. Or maybe because after the name introduction, there was a measuring contest of “whose hubby has the more impressive business title.”
Either way, annoying.
For my daughter’s birthday party, we invited her friends to the movies. But these parents couldn’t be satisfied to drop their child in exchange for two hours of freedom. Nooo…. they brought their other daughter and then stocked up on candy and popcorn from the concession stand and passed it around.
It gave me fiendish pleasure to see that she had popcorn stuck to her butt later. I’m terrible, I know.
For Valentine’s Day, the kids had to bring cards and then something to hold their cards in from other classmates. The night before the Valentine’s party, I ran to Walgreen’s and scooped up what cards were leftover. The kids then addressed them and stuffed them into their paper bags, crudely decorated with scribbled pink and purple hearts. The perfect parents? Well, a few weeks before, I had heard that my daughter’s friend’s mother had begun helping her children make card boxes. She had found some old, wooden treasure boxes and together they sanded, painted and decorated. Their cards were not made of paper and bought at Walgreen’s, but rather, handcrafted from material that folded like a book and fastened with Velcro. Each classmate’s name was then embroidered beautifully onto the inside “page” of material.
My daughter just got back from a field trip from… wait for it… Disneyland. Three days in California and Disneyland. I don’t know about you, but we went to museums when I was in school. Last night, while reheating leftovers, I asked her about the trip. She went on and on about how much fun she had.
“Was (enter kid’s mom’s name) there?” I interrupted.
“Yes, she was a chaperone. And she bought me tacos!”
Ugh. I grumbled and put another dish in the microwave.
“Of course she did!” I said, obviously annoyed that I was bested again.
“Well…” she began boldly, “you could’ve been a chaperone, too!”
Seriously, am I the only one who finds this annoying? All these perfect Pinterest mommies making the rest of us look worse than mediocre with their tireless devotion to their children? Where’s the justice?!