Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Before I Was a Mom, I Was the Best Mom.
Before I was a Mom, I was the best Mom. Do you know what I mean? I remember a girlfriend of mine, she would tell me stories about the antics of her children- once one cut the other's hair, a big brown chunk missing from the back. Another time she found both in the kitchen covered in flour, the chicken set out for for dinner thrown on the floor. And even though this was one of my dearest friends, I would think to myself (in the way, way back of my mind- the icky, judgmental place) why were they alone for so long? Long enough to cut the other's hair, at least. Why were there scissors around, able to be grabbed by little hands? Why were they in the kitchen without you? Why were they climbing on the chairs to get to the counter to reach for the food? I thought these things, and although I never thought she was a bad mother (never ever), in my mind I would always wonder the hows and more so, the whys. Because lord knows when I became a mom, I would never, ever, ever let those things happen on my watch.
So now, here we are. My kids often play by themselves in the playroom, while I cook dinner or use the bathroom, or just sit on the couch away from them and take a moment to be by myself. We have a kids' craft closet within Henry's reach, with a pair of safety scissors inside. Safe, sure. But sharp enough to cut hair during those minutes I'm away from them? You betcha. And the other day, when I was putting groceries away, Charlie managed to climb on top of the kids' table to the counter, where he sat for a moment before I noticed he was there. Certainly enough time to grab flour or raw chicken or whatever else could have been in reach.
Point is, it's sure easy to judge when we're not in it.
I thought about this the other day when I saw an old photo of myself, holding my friend's little one. It's so funny how the years fly by- I can still remember being so young and wondering what it would be like to be a parent, and now I'm a mom of two. I recall talking to Hank- this is what we'll be like when we have kids, this is how it will go. And of course, it's nothing like we imagined!
As I type this, my oldest is at school and my youngest is napping. The hum of the baby monitor next to me is a reminder to finish up quickly so I can move onto work emails before naptime is over. Once Charlie is awake we'll eat lunch and go get Henry, then our afternoon will be a whirlwind of activity until it's time to make dinner. I'm in it. I'm doing it. And of course, all of the things I said I'd never do, well here we are, doing most of them. Parenting is crazy like that, it kind of forces you to take a long look at yourself and the way you do things, and constantly question it all- is this for the best? Is this working? It's been four years now, and the longer I do it, the more I realize that a big dose of kindness and understanding goes a long way, for both myself and for the parents around me, doing their thing too. So a hug to you, mama, and a hug for me. And a hug for my 22-year old self as well, and a tiny reminder in her ear to be kind, because before she knows it, she'll be right here too.