Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day...and I'm Sorry

Mother's Day is the perfect time for my public apology to all mothers who came before me.

I used to look at so many of the mothers around me--friends, relatives, strangers--with judgment. I didn't usually judge out loud. It was just a lot of noise in my head.

What do you mean you can't find time to take a shower???!!! Why is it that childbirth means you stop giving a crap about how you look? Glance in a mirror and you'd see the spit-up on your shoulder and the mismatched socks!

Do you really think anyone wants to hear about your child's bodily functions? What the hell? Do you walk out of the bathroom and tell the world what you flushed down the toilet? So why would we care what was in your kid's diaper???

When you start reading Goodnight Moon does that mean you can't skim a newspaper or listen to NPR once in a while? How can you shut out what's going on in the world and not seem to miss it? Does pregnancy kill brain cells?

What do you mean, you haven't seen a movie in 2 years? Have you ever heard of a little something called a babysitter?

You're serving chicken nuggets for dinner??!! Seriously?

Hey! Chill out! I am never, ever going to yell at my kids like that! Do you really expect that "I'm counting to three" is going to get your little brat to listen to you? Proper discipline can't be that hard.

You're nursing again??!! Does that baby have a tapeworm?

As this confession/apology demonstrates, I didn't have a ton of respect for the institution of motherhood. I know that I didn't respect mine. In my view, she was a patsy, a sucker, a loser. She married at 19, had four kids before she turned 25, and put up with a boatload of crap from my dad. I think if she had been born at a later time in history, she may not have had children. I guess I should be glad her generation didn't have that many choices. They got married and, if you were Catholic, you risked pregnancy any time you got lucky. Because she was wrapped too tight, married to an alcoholic, and wired weirdly, she was not exactly mother-of-the-year.

Even with my less-than-maternal mother, I always knew I wanted to have children. I was pretty sure I didn't want to get married but once I figured out how babies were made, I realized that wasn't necessarily an obstacle.

But I digress. I was apologizing, not blaming my mother.

Right up until the midwife said, "I can see the head!" almost nine years ago andI pushed 9 lb. 14 oz, Ruby out (sans pain medication), I really thought I was going to be different. I believed that I was going to be better than all those moms I judged.

I' m better than my mom...most days. But, then again, the bar isn't really too high there. I yell...sometimes loudly, but I usually apologize and pray/meditate to do better next time. I count to three, sometimes repeatedly, but I usually follow through with the threatened consequences. I have made frozen chicken nuggets for dinner but my children also eat hummus and Zane likes shrimp.

On the personal grooming scale, I'm a dismal failure. On more than one occasion, I've gone to work with unwashed hair and a safety pin holding up a hem. I believe that Febreze is a gift from God and that it saves loads of money in dry cleaning. When I've run out of underwear, I've either gone commando or bought more. The same goes for the kids. (Did you know that you can pick up a prescription, buy milk, and stock up on underwear in the same trip to the drug store?)

I regularly bore my single, childless work colleagues with kid anecdotes simply because I can't help myself when they do something really cool/funny/amazing/horrific. I try to keep up with the news but I believe, of all the films that have been nominated for an Oscar in the last decade, I've seen 4...and three of those were on DVD.

I nursed both of my kids on demand until they were about a year old and I wrote an entire essay about my son's nocturnal peeing habits in this blog.

I am a mom. I celebrates that blessing today with my children. I am not perfect but I am what I am (said Popeye the Sailor Man). I make mistakes, lots of them, but I try whenever possible, to not repeat the same ones over and over again.

I'm tired. It's late. Happy non-judgmental Mother's Day.

P.S. I just read one of my favorite blogger's Mother's Day post and wanted to share it. She is my new shero and I envy her ability to link politics and motherhood so seamlessly.

1 comment:

  1. ...and some moms have traveled half way round the world for a chance to collect those really cool/funny/amazing/horrific stories.
    the day before mothers day i was cleaning vomit out of my son's hair and missing my mother. on mother's day i received two beautifully written original poems from my russian "babies" and all was right with the world.happy mother's day