I was entertaining and cheerful. I was a pro at containing tantrums or bad attitudes. I put all other mothers to shame.
Having my own kids was a wake up call. The wonderful women around me gently and softly told me it would be challenging and tiring but I would find the greatest reward from it.
For the first couple of years I thought they lied.
It was not challenging. It was impossible. It was not simply tiring. It was energy sapping, to the bone draining and impossible to feel coherent for long stretches of time.
I understand that a new mother does not want to be gripped with fear for what life will be like with a newborn and then toddler and then preschooler... That is definitely not my intent here. If you are the kind of woman who gets skittish and uncomfortable with direct honesty... STOP READING.
Inevitably, whether our mothers encourage it or not, every girl has an image of what she will be like.
She will be the perfect business woman, or the perfect teacher, or the perfect wife, and (scary) the perfect mother.
I spent years going to mom groups and church and the park telling myself that the other children had just charming mothers. They had a grace for the meltdowns and cooked dinner every night from scratch, and best of all they were meek and mild mannered.
I have been very, very blessed to get to know some of these women. I hold them in (realistic) high esteem, and admire their naked truth about mothering and the perils it brings.
See I have often thought that my children would be better off with a kind, soft spoken mother. I am anything but soft spoken and while I can be kind I am not prone to sitting at my kitchen table engaging in craft time or baking cookies with my kids.
I have been a loud individual from a young age. I guess I should have seen the warning signs about my temperament when I poked holes in my sister's water baby because she wouldn't let me use it to pretend I had twins.
For example: this morning I got up and got the kiddos berries and yogurt and began to make an omelet for The Hubby. Coffee was on, almond milk was poured, Auum oils had been taken.
I was super mom. That was until The Princess LAUNCHED her bowl of yogurt ALL OVER THE STICKIN' KITCHEN! And so I did what I do best, I yelled at the wrong child. The Prince got an earful for his brilliance in seeing that I "OBVIOUSLY NEEDED THIS RIGHT NOW!!!" (Insert tears and The Hubby quickly pointing out my mistake and my glaring at The Princess for being such a bratty little girl.)
If I was the mother that exists in my head I would have gently said that it was okay, I have no problem getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing blueberry stain off the maple coloured flooring. I would have let The Prince take his Iron Man to school the first time he asked instead of making him take Daddy's name tag (the show and tell was for the letter N, not the letter I) and I would be heading to the park with The Princess right now to run around smiling for the next 48 minutes.
But I have a mouth that often forgets it is connected to a (somewhat) working brain, and I have arms and legs that move too fast for the perfect mother puppeteer to catch up.
While I would like to believe that I am constantly running towards the prize of balanced parenting, some days I am just too tired to run. So I sit in my PJ's, drink coffee and read magazines while Franklin attends to my children. And on the rare days where I get a whole six hours of sleep and wake up feeling brave enough to tackle errands and playgrounds, make dinner from scratch and rock the white glue and googly eyes at the kitchen table, well those are the days I pray the children remember.
In the meantime I am going to stop the cyclical lie that every other mother is a better mother than me. I figure God made me this way and though I will forever be a work in progress, I am not going to sit around trying to rewrite the blueprint.
And anyone who has an issue with it can take it up with The Big Man Himself.
(Also, I am actually kind of proud of The Princess and her baby carrying skills. She's already learning that perfection bombs.)
I am failing at Lent too.
I have decided that since I am low in determination theses days I was okay to take a break from the lack of bread and dairy.
I also ended up at Myrtle's house on Wednesday morning with a few women I think are fabulous . Myrtle put out a delectible spread of cheese and chocolate croissants and french bread and fruit and my willpower was told to take a stroll around the block. Well, it forgot to come back for the last two days but I'm pretty sure I hear it knocking on the front door so maybe I'll let it hang out a while longer before entirely banishing it.