I have been a mom for 14 years. I should have the hang of it by now, shouldn’t I? As I sit in a hockey rink while my kids are at practice, I am eavesdropping on the other moms around me. One mom is making Pot Roast for dinner! Another is talking about the many crafts she purchased at Michael’s to keep the family busy during the upcoming snowstorm, as she knits speedily. Older mom in the corner is planning her husband’s surprise birthday party at the club. They share stories of their lives that seem luxurious and so well-ordered to me.
I am wracking my brain trying to figure out how to make 50 dollars last five days for a family of four.
I am unshowered and have been wearing the same outfit for 2 days. I made microwave mac and cheese for dinner and most of it is still sitting uneaten on the kitchen table. For a minute, I feel less than. The insecure part of me is filled with jealousy and I jump to judgements about these moms fed by my deepest insecurities. I think, well if I had money I would make pot roast, too. If I had your husband, I would throw a fancy party, too.
Then I remember these thoughts are simply that: my own insecurities. I refocus and remember that I am happy, blessed and truly love my life. Truth be told, if I stumbled upon a handsome millionaire today, there is no way I am suddenly going to become a pot-roast making mom. I will always be a mac and cheese mom. I am 98% cool with that idea. I am doing the best I can, and have learned to embrace my strengths and work on some of my weaknesses. Other weakness, I have accepted as a very imperfect part of me that keeps me unique.
So, as I rudely listen to these strangers, I know we have two things in common: we are moms and we are human. Being human comes with imperfections, just as it comes with talents and strengths. The dinner thing, eh, it’s not my bailiwick, but playing Head’s UP- I got that down. I cannot, and probably will never, knit a sweater, but I can sing all of the songs to Disney’s Frozen by memory.
Although I doubt that anyone ever looks at me and silently says, wow she has her shit together, in the random event that this has indeed happened, here is a peek at my domestic shortcomings because, well, sometimes we need a reminder that no one is perfect. I take shortcuts, and do what works for me. I am slowly starting to accept that I am doing an amazingly okay job, shortcuts and all.
• I am that mom. The one the teachers probably talk about in the faculty room because the lunches she packs her kids are merely a potpourri of random snacks and donuts. I just have not discovered a healthy lunch that my kids will actually eat and stay full from for the entire day. I used to throw in watermelon, grapes, and yogurt just to look good but they would always be there at 4 p.m. smelling up the lunch boxes!
• I stopped cleaning out my purse. Once it gets really, messy, like so messy that I can’t find my wallet, I just throw it and everything in it (minus my wallet) in a gas station garbage can and buy a new purse. I have never missed an old purse or the mess in it.
• My son is a constant talker. He does not stop. Ever. I can escape mid-conversation to go to the bathroom, take my sweet-ass time, and return to, “So, like I was saying, at school today, Mrs. O’Conner asked me to be the line leader and.…” I finally learned the safe, blanket responses like really? That’ s nice. Oh Good. What happened next? I love him so much, but sometimes, I need to think and let my mind wander, so I nod and say oh wow, but I don’t have a clue what I am wow-ing.
• I suck at cleaning. I shuffle things around and wipe things down. Sometimes I even vacuum. I feel like I clean 10 times a day, but nothing is ever actually CLEAN! I am often guilty of leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight and I often add one dirty dish to a dishwasher full of clean dishes and re-run it. A load of just washed laundry can sit in my washing machine for days before making it into the dryer, hence requiring a whole new cycle to clean that awful smell from the clothes.
• I am a really, lazy shaver. I only shave when absolutely necessary. I will shave the area in between where my boots reach just below my knee and the area on my thigh where my skirt falls. And I only shave in the front. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
• I lie about poop. A lot. I lie and tell my kids I am dropping their favorite brown emoji in the toilet, but really, I am just catching up on texts, social media, and my blog stats. It is the easiest sure-fire way to get me time. I don’t regret it and I don’t plan to stop. There are big lies and there are necessary lies. We all know what type of lie this is.
Hey, I could go on and on. Sharing my imperfections keeps me humble and helps me to remember that we are all beautiful, and we are all flawed. We are all working hard to raise our kids to be the future and we all contribute in our own unique way. Embrace it, cherish it, and own it, imperfections, quirks and all. Fourteen years of mothering has helped me to appreciate that we moms are all amazing. Amazing and far from perfect.
I am Mac and Cheese Mom, here me roar!
Suzanne Hayes is a freelance writer, whose work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Toady’s Parent, and Kveller. She writes about her role as a single mom to 3 kids and stumbled writing as a way to calm her overactive and sometimes, crazy mind. Follow her blog at www.sobermomweb.wordpress.com