For every good deed I do as a parent, it seems there is an equal inadequacy that makes me feel like a failure (similar to Newton’s 3rd Law). It’s so easy to get caught up comparing ourselves to other parents, that it sometimes feels only natural to question your own parenting skills and wonder how it can look so easy for others. In that spirit, I’ve been thinking lately about why I am not “Mother of the Year” material, and not likely to ever be…
1- I can’t stand stinky, sweaty boys lying around on my furniture. N will come in with neighborhood kids who have all been outside playing basketball or fishing for hours and they will sprawl out on my couch. Perhaps it’s like OCD kicking in but I immediately want to sweep them off my furniture and hit it with the Febreeze. Does this not bother other parents???
2- I love kids, I truly do, but I love them more in moderation. Kids (who are not my own) who are here so often they feel comfortable walking in my bedroom to ask me questions, who know what snacks we keep stocked in our pantry, or the ones who think my living room is a gym, are probably here too much. I’ve found myself wanting to make a STOP/GO sign to affix to the front door to let kids know if my kids can play, and whether or not it’s okay to knock and ask. I’ll sit and play games with them, make them all lunch/snacks, and even watch movies with them – in MODERATION.
3- I don’t like meeting other parents that I have nothing in common with. I know, that’s a kind of dumb statement because how do I know I have nothing in common with them if I’ve never met them? Well, take this for example – E met a girl at school last year who was mean to her half the year, friends with her the rest. E begged me and begged me to meet her mom so she could have a play-date with her. Throughout the school year she told me how this girl’s mom got the crap beat out of her by her boyfriend and went thru rehab (which I then had to explain to my then 9-year-old what rehab is). We’re a military family subject to a different set of rules, so to speak. Not to mention, I don’t want or need anybody’s relationship drama. I did meet this lady at the end-of-the-school-year party and while we were both nice enough to each other, most of our time spent next to each other was in silence (because we have nothing in common). My kids really want me to be “best friends” with their friends’ parents, but they don’t realize that it doesn’t always work that way.
4- I don’t support the PTA/PTO or any Fundraisers. Not because I am against raising money for my kids’ schools but in the case of the PTA/PTO, I tried one year and the women were mean and very cliquey. It was not at all like the friendly atmosphere I had envisioned. Where we live now I don’t typically support the fundraisers for 2 reasons
- We aren’t from here so our “circle” is just us. We don’t really know anybody (unless it is parents whose kids are also selling the same stuff) so I think it’s crappy that these fundraisers have special prizes for the kids who sell XX items. Yeah, that’s great – explain that to my kid who can only sell like 9 when everybody else is selling over 100.
- Secondly, I don’t agree with what the fundraisers are for. You want to raise money to buy microwaves so kids like my daughter, who can’t eat the lunch at school because it has gluten, can warm up her lunch, I’m in. But if you want to raise money so a teacher can get an iPad for her classroom, I’m out. I don’t think that is a necessity, especially in a state (Oklahoma) where the budget is so lacking that they are cutting some schools down to 4 day weeks, getting rid of teachers, and talking about closing some schools.
5- I treat my kids differently. Try as I might, my kids are so very different and I have to tailor my parenting to each. I’m no expert (clearly), but I think this is frowned upon. N is like me – introverted, sensitive, a little more quiet (unless his sugar is high), and appreciates being by himself. E is literally the exactly opposite – she has to go, go, go, is somewhat outgoing, usually can’t stop talking, and is incapable of being alone. When I’m mad at N for something, I know I don’t need to harp on him and beat the issue to death. He’s sensitive and will see that I am disappointed and he will feel bad. E, on the other hand – I’ll get mad at her and she couldn’t care less. But if I put her in timeout by herself somewhere, she will feel the repercussions because she hates to be alone. Some in my circle think I favor N and am easier on him. Not true, I think it’s just easier for me to discipline him because he’s so much like me.
But the biggest reason I am not winning “Mother of the Year” anytime soon is….I FORGOT EASTER!
6- We are not a religious family. N and I are baptized Catholic, Hubbs and E are not. For many reasons I don’t really follow my Catholic faith anymore and prior to moving to Oklahoma we attended a non-denominational church in Utah that we really liked (that we will hopefully go back to). Anyway, the reason this is important is because as my family was reminding me that I suck because I forgot Easter, I asked them why do they think we even celebrate Easter, and only N really had a close answer. E wants to know, and it is my fault for not continuing with our reading of the Bible that we were doing, or taking her to kids church (another reason I suck), but she was just irritated that I forgot Easter because she was looking forward to a new toy. This is kinda how the conversation went (on Saturday, the day prior to Easter) while we were en route to a friend’s house for dinner:
*Note that expletives will be denoted with ________
Hubbs, speaking quietly: “So, did you get some candy for Easter?”
Me: “Why, when’s Easter? Oh ________, is it this weekend?”
Hubbs: “Are you ________ me? It’s tomorrow!”
Me: “Seriously? __________. You didn’t pick up any candy?”
Hubbs: “You’re the CEO, I thought you were getting the candy?”
Me: “Why would I get the candy? I ________ forgot it was Easter this weekend.”
N (from the backseat): “Mom, did you seriously forget Easter?”
E to N: “Mom didn’t forget Easter, she’s getting me a toy from the Easter Bunny!”
And so it went… we did rush to Target and got some last-minute Easter candy and a kit to color eggs, which ended up being fun because we hadn’t colored eggs in forever. And I planned a last-minute Easter egg hunt with some coins, nails (to confuse them), and pieces of paper with things like “vacuum out mom’s car,” and “go to the driving range with dad” printed on them inside. It actually ended up being a great day. The Easter Bunny can suck it.
So there you have it, the top 5 (with a bonus #6) reasons why I will probably never win “Mother of the Year.” Anybody else just skating by?