Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Mom Next Door Said "Freakin"


I'm a young mom. I had my third child just after my 21st birthday. Because of my age, I tend to doubt my parenting abilities. I know I've made plenty of mistakes, and thanks to a combination of DNA and my inability to cope with normal situations, I'm fairly certain my children will need massive amounts of therapy later in life. But I do my best, I try to follow my heart and go with my instincts. Still, some days it just doesn't feel enough.

I see all these other moms who have it all together. Their children are well behaved, always nicely dressed, and their house is forever spotless. I gave up long ago trying to be that perfect mother, it's just not going to happen. But it doesn't stop me from wondering how they mange to do it. My neighbor is a prime example of this. She has twins about my oldest son's age, and an adorable 3 year old. They are so well behaved! The first week we moved here, the oldest boy came over and introduced himself, then asked if my son could come play. He had impeccable manners, and I just couldn't get over it. The 3 year old will play outside and never cross the invisible line of his property. They have several dogs and a busy lifestyle and their house is where all the neighborhood children seem to flock to. I watch in awe from my front porch as this mother handles it all so gracefully.

Why can't that be me?

So today, I sneaked out to the porch for a little quiet time. I could hear my children inside arguing, playing, doing anything but the chores they were assigned. I watched this mother across the street as she cleaned out her garage. She was purging everything in sight, the kids were helping, the dogs were quietly watching. I envied her. I have a hard time purging, and an even harder time getting my family to help. And I can't think of a single time my dog has ever sat outside, quietly observing the action.

Then it happened. She sent her son in for a marker as she continued to work. He came back several times asking where to look, what kind she wanted, why did he have to do it....he was sounding more and more like my own children. Clearly, she had enough of it.

"Just bring me a freakin marker!" she shouted from the driveway. My jaw hit the floor. This perfect mother whom I had admired from a distance for the past three years suddenly sounded just like me! She became frustrated at her child and she lost it for a moment! It was the most glorious thing I'd ever witnessed!

Perhaps she wasn't the perfect mother I thought she was. Perhaps she was just just like the rest of us, doing her best and occasionally losing it a bit. Perhaps I wasn't alone. Perhaps we are all battling this job of motherhood the only way we know how.

She went back to work, laughing with her children, none the wiser of my silent revelation across the street. But I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. The weight of all those perfect TV moms. The weight of a permanently clean house. The weight of perfect children.

I don't know about you, but I think my children are pretty darn perfect just the way they are. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if I dusted the ceiling fans or washed all the windows. What my children will remember is what we played together, how we laughed together, and the time spent cuddling together. I don't have to always have it together. My children are happy, healthy, well fed and cared for. And above all else, they are loved more than they will ever know.

So thank you, neighbor lady, for yelling "freakin" in a moment of weakness. It made my failures and moments of weakness seem so much more normal.


Do you ever feel like the worst mom ever? Do you envy those moms who have it all together? Could you possibly BE one of those moms? Or are you just another unperfect family like the rest of us?