Since becoming a mother, I have grown.
I mean, I haven’t grown UP, per se, nor have I really become a better person, truthfully. But, I have learned a thing or two about a thing or two.
Several months ago, I came to terms with the kind of mother I really was, regardless of the kind of mother I might hope or wish to be. And in the time since, I have found great humor in re-learning over and over (sometimes the hard way) who I really was.
However, I find myself still wondering how to reconcile who I am versus who I think the world wants all of us moms to be.
Before having kids, I worried that I would make a lousy mother because I never really liked to play in the yard, get dirty, crawl on the floor, make baby talk, design handprint turkey paintings or use Play Doh.
It turns out that I still don’t like any of those things. I mean, have you ever SMELLED Play Doh? Jesus.
But, I really feel as though I will rock at tailgating for varsity football games, hosting sleepovers, chaperoning dances and giving advice to wayward teenagers whose own moms aren’t cool enough to tell about experiments with Zima and Jolly Ranchers or about brewing girl feuds on Instagram.
I don’t know why the Universe didn’t just allow me to give birth to 14-year olds. I don’t know what to do with my children until that point. Right now they are running around the room using a remote control and an old telephone to “zap” one another in some sort of faux galactic war. I don’t really know how to take part in this. But, they seem fine without me taking part in it at all. Some piece of my heart, though, tells me that I am supposed to pick up that hairbrush over there, tell them that it is the ultimate celestial laser launch rocket that was invented to destroy the galactic war once and for all, run after my tiny fighting space pirates, and declare my interstellar victory as we all fall, laughing, into a pile of pillows and stuffed bears. I could pretend, but in the end, this is just not who I am at my core.
So, I wonder if I am supposed to fake it. Or if I am supposed to just go ahead and be me. I want to be the awesome fun mom who dresses in a superhero cape or mentions building a snowman before the kids do. But, I wonder if this is contrary to what I have been teaching my children about how to be honest about themselves.
The lessons I teach my children about being true to themselves, I believe, is one of the most critical lessons I can give them. Am I supposed to follow my own advice or do a “better” job at being “better” with kids? And, what does that really mean, anyway?
I know that no matter what I do, my children will eventually end up blaming me for something in some therapy session years down the road. That’s what we all end up doing, anyway, right? But, I would like to think that I did everything I could to send the right messages, be the right example and provide the best childhood for them that I could.
Until then, I am going to go find my youngest kid some rainboots so that we can all go for a walk and splash in puddles. I will probably whine on the inside that I am cold and dirty and cranky. But, the kids will have smiles. And, tomorrow, I can figure out whether I need to learn how to make Christmas ornaments out of pipe cleaners and Cheerios or not.