Confession: I am not a perfect mom.
More importantly I do not strive to be, nor hope to someday be one. My reasoning is quite simple and perhaps for some a bit too honest.
I was not raised by a ‘perfect’ mom. I was raised by a woman who (as she puts it) “did the best with what she had.” This works for me. I not only accept it, but appreciate the honesty and recognition of imperfection.
The benefit of being loved and fostered by such a person, is that it now gives me the ability to do it freely for my own children. Life after all is not ‘perfect.’ There are numerous bumps, highs and lows in this thing we call life and truthfully I think the ‘imperfections’ are (at times) what make it so exciting.
Recently I noticed that each year I seem to ‘out’ myself on just a few more of my imperfections among my mommy friends. Each and every time I do, somewhere/somehow a confirmation from another mom seems to back me up. This of course results in both a deep sigh on my part and serves as one more bit of bonding between two women trying their darnedest to ‘do the best with what we have.’
A simple example would be recently admitting that I do not always sit at the dinner table with my children at the end of the day. This is most definitely not something I am proud of, but as a working mom with two active kids some nights it’s just not possible. Well, perhaps it is for some and I commend them for that. In our family dynamic however, it’s a trade off.
If we are going to make that three day get away the kids want so much it may mean mommy must spend that time prepping snack bags, luggage and pet arrangements.
Then of course there’s the moment I join the kids at the table only to have my five-year-old exclaim, “Ooohh … mommy you’re eating with us tonight. I’m so happy.”
Yes, this would be an ‘ah-ha moment’ as Oprah calls it, but recognizing I am not perfect I graciously accept the lesson.
Summer seems to be the time when my many imperfections become most apparent. Structure for our family seems to be left within a block of their elementary school about five hours after leaving campus for the last time.
Evening park play dates, breakfast for dinner, bedtimes without baths and yes even forgetting to brush our teeth before lights out all seem to happen during these short two and a half months. Gratefully we have surrounded ourselves with similar families and as mommies we tend to laugh about our summer break craziness rather than lament over it.
Typically speaking I think as parents we strive to create a life for our children better than the one we may have had. This factors into my imperfection argument.
Not to say, I don’t give much of what I do a valiant effort, however I also recognize that I’m leaving just enough room so that some day my children can feel good about how much better they are able to do it than I was. I may not be perfect, but I am giving.
So, for the parents lamenting at the end of an exhausting day over all that they did not do for their children and how they wish they could have done it that much better, I offer you this.
Since May 25, 2012 my children have: spent approximately 7 summer days in their pajamas, had Frozen Yogurt for dinner an equal 7 times, missed a full week of swim lessons (because mommy overbooked), neglected to mail thank you cards (because mommy forgot stamps), have gone to the store with unbrushed hair (even mismatched shoes), and have gone more than 24 hours without a bath.
With all that said, they have not gone a single day since then without at least one heartfelt hug, a handful of kisses and a constant barrage of being told ‘I love you.’ They have been reminded of the endless blessings which make up our life and freely acknowledge the people who make it so. They have enjoyed a handful of memorable adventures, as well as quality time with family and friends.
And yes … they have had their moments of questioning mommy on how we do things, why we feel things and what makes our life what it is.
Ultimately and unmistakably I would have to say our life is the most perfect imperfection I could have ever wished for. As a mom, a daughter and a friend I wish the same for each of you.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.