Thursday, March 11, 2010

The person I am when no one is looking (and why I'm not that person all the time)

I'm not quite sure where to start here.

It is a beautiful day.  The sun is shining, our crock pot dinner is smelling delicious, both kids are napping.

I should feel great, and in a way a do... but in another way I'm in this annoying, contemplative mood that will not let me believe everything is so wonderful.

A friend of mine called this morning, wanting to walk to the library together (she is also the mother of a toddler and a baby). 

I jumped at the opportunity, wanting to take advantage of the warm weather and any excuse to socialize (it's not that I don't love playing choochoo's with my son and watching endless hours of The Wiggles... oh wait, yes it is).

So we fought with our double stollers, pulled our sons out of the mud, plopped them in their seats, and were off into the sunshine.

Our conversation was as good as the narrow, snow-lined sidewalk and two double strollers would allow.

But when we arrived at the library I felt an almost instant switch from camaraderie to competition.

Whose toddler picked up their messes.  Which one pushed the other and who was throwing play pizza across the room. 

Then I started thinking things I never think when I'm alone.

I started panicking when The Tine said "no."  And he's two years-old.  All he says is no.

I began searching for a glimpse of defiance in her son... just to show that mine wasn't so bad.

I made excuses for my son's tantrums (I even told her I scratched his back putting him in the stroller to explain his wild screaming when we left).

I don't want to be this person.

I want to be honest.

I want to admit that my son is not perfect.

I want to tell her that I don't always follow up on discipline... that I'm not the best mother... that sometimes I know exactly what I should do and I don't do it... that sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing.

That is one of the main reasons I started this blog.

I need to tell things how they really are and stop hiding behind the candy-coated, honest-only-to-the-point-I-start-looking-bad facade I am so comfortable with.

I need this to be a place where I can reveal the imperfections of my life.

People always comment on how calm and patient I am with my kids.

I'm not.

In real life, I'm not.

I need people to see that and I think they need it too.

If I really want to be the best mom I can to my kids (and I really do) then I need for people to see the kind of mom I am now. 

I need the encouragement and help that comes only through complete openness and honesty. 

I also want to reveal those little parenting triumphs... the giggling fits I share with my son before bed, my baby's heartbreaking smile as I sing softly to him, little pleases and thank you's, the eating of green, foreign vegetables...

Most of all I want my children to learn it is okay to screw up.

My son is just learning to catch a ball.  I can see the embarrasment in his eyes when he misses and I have watched him stop playing to avoid failure.

I want him to look at me and see that it is okay to fail.  That people will forgive you and you can forgive yourself... and move on.

My dad coached my high school softball team.  Every time we missed a fly ball or struck out we felt this strange need to apologize.  Every time my dad would tell us not to say sorry, to say we'd try better next time. 

It was cheesy, but true. 

I don't want to spend my life apologizing for my mistakes and I certainly don't want my kids to.  I want to try better next time. 

Or just try at all.


  1. Oh Kim, I have been where you are (and I still kinda am). I used to belong to a Mom's playgroup where I felt like I always had to be on my best behavior. It did feel like a competition at times. At some point, I just got tired of not being able to be completely honest about how tough motherhood is. I mean, let's face it, sometimes it downright sucks. Doesn't mean we don't love our kids, but we are human and we're entitled to have a crappy day.

    So somehow I managed to find a new Mom's playgroup and this group of ladies is wonderful! We can all be honest about our kids, without worries of being judged or made fun of.

    It's hard when you feel like you're always being put on a pedastal and that you have to live up to that. When friends came over to the little twins b-day party and saw the cakes I made, they were like "How did you do all that while watching the kids?". Honestly, I told them, I shipped the kids off to a friend's house one day for a couple hours and then the next day, I pretty much sat them in front of the tv so I could get the cakes done.

    Anyway, sorry to be so long-winded but I totally feel what you're saying here. This is a wonderful post and I hope other moms will read it and feel more comfortable coming out of their shells and admitting that it's okay to make mistakes.

  2. Great post. I think its so easy to get caught up in our own insecurities, especially around other moms, or the seemingly unflappable ideal mom. I don't think anybody measures up. We all have our flaws, our less than stellar moments, unfortunately they're always public, while the sweet victories are just for you. We learn from them. What can you do?

    It's okay to admit being a mom is hard and sometimes we take shortcuts. So what?

    Thanks for stopping by today! I love the blog name, though I hate when my coffee gets cold, it often does. :)

  3. What a breath of fresh air this post is. I think my husband would say your description fits me."honest-only-to-the-point-I-start-looking-bad facade." love your writing.


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