Doodle is my world, if you haven’t figured that one out by now. I’m completely smitten, absolutely obsessed, in so many ways completely and utterly in love with this guy. I want the very best for him in all of his life. I come to terms regularly, however, with the fact that I am in no way the mother he deserves. I’m lazy, I’m selfish, and I just don’t know a whole helluva a lot of what it takes to be a good mother.
My little man deserves a mother who, among many other things:
· wakes up with him at 8 in the morning when he first gets up rather than closing all of the doors and curtains and fibbing to him about it still being a little bit dark outside and trying to beg him to go back to sleep for just a little longer.
· gives him fresh fruits and veggies with his home-cooked meals rather than a bowl of dry cereal, a plate of microwaved chicken nuggets, or a cheap turkey and cheese sandwich with the occasional side of canned green beans or mandarin oranges if I happen to remember them.
· builds Legos with him rather than telling him to go play by himself or turning on a cartoon to get him to leave me alone and sitting on the couch checking facebook or the bloggy world in peace.
· has the energy to go outside and swing and slide with him or take him to the park to meet new friends rather than keeping him inside by himself on far too many nice days.
· puts him in nice clean clothes every morning rather than keeping him in his pajamas until he has an accident and needs to change his pants or until we have to leave the house to run some errands.
· does arts and crafts with him more than once every few weeks rather than getting flustered by his lack of help or making whatever we’re working on less than perfect and feeling as though the time had been a stressful waste.
· takes him to the children’s library to borrow books and play with other kiddos rather than shoeing him over to his own bookshelf of 20-ish books that he’s already read dozens of times before.
· keeps his home vacuumed and sanitized regularly rather than mostly relying on the dog to clean up the floor and waiting until I want to get around to wiping down the counters and dining room table.
· cuddles him more often when he’s sick and whiney rather than trying to get him to still play on his own, go to bed just like normal, do everything just like we always do, and not really focusing on how miserable he probably is.
I know that these are areas that I need to work on or that I do sometimes and slip others. I know that no matter how many times I actively try to incorporate some of these into my day-to-day, some of them will just never come naturally. I know that many of these things would help structure his little life better and help him learn and grow more.
I also know that no one is perfect. And I know that I do a helluva good job with what I do get right, no matter how rare that may be. I’m not here trying to get your sympathy. I’m not looking for comments like “you’re a good mom,” or “stop picking on yourself so much.” That’s not what I’m trying to say here.
I feel like parents are regularly made to feel bad about their shortcomings. Someone is always a better mommy or daddy than they are. Other mommies weren’t upset when they found out they were pregnant, they cook healthy organic family meals every night, or they make all sorts of games and learning activites for their kids; other daddies come home every night for dinner, they do family game night or movie night with pizza, or they take care of baths and nighttime routines; other families can afford yearly vacations, they have family around to watch the kids while the mom and dad enjoy a night out every other Thursday, or they own a beautiful home with a fenced yard, a pool, a garden, and a dog that doesn’t jump on visitors. Other parents – other families – are just better at this or that.
We’re so compelled to compare ourselves to these other people. Sometimes they’re real people we know and love, sometimes they’re strangers who we’ve met through the internet, and sometimes they’re just an idea we have, this mythical person who does everything “right” and we pick ourselves apart for everything we’re doing “wrong”.
I’ll say it right here and very proudly, there are a lot of things I do wrong. But that’s ok. I do everything I possibly can for my Doodle (and my husband, for that matter), but I can only work to the best of my ability, I can only do what is in my capacity. I don’t want to sit around thinking someone does it better than me, because they’re not doing my “it” and they’re not working off of my abilities and circumstances.
So I’m not the mother he deserves. But you know what? I’m the only one I want him to have. I’m the only mom who’s going to love him the way I want him to be loved, the only mom who knows just where to tickle him to get him to almost stop breathing with laughter, the only mom who knows just how to hold him when he’s not feeling well or he’s just bonked his head on the table or he just wants to cuddle. I’m his mom, and that makes me the best mom in the world from where I’m sitting.
I want every parent who loves their kids as strongly as they think they do to feel the same way. I want them all to understand their faults, but to not be discouraged by what they think other parents are or what they think they should be.
You’re the only mom or dad who loves your kids with the same passion as you, the only one who loves your kids the way you want them to be loved. No matter how much someone else does whatever they do right, they’ll never do what you do better than you. And for that, you are everything your kids deserve. And I am everything my Doodle deserves.