I have no business being a mother.
It’s something I think about a lot. I keep coming back to that: I don’t know how to be a mom.
I wasn’t “born to be a mom” like so many of my friends.
It’s not in my makeup, not who I am.
So I figured I may as well, on the holiday I feel least deserving of praise, make myself a list.
And I did.
1. I don’t know what to do with a child for more than 20 minutes at a time. You’re almost six years old. That’s a lot of 20-minute sections. But I can’t do it. It’s like I have an internal timer. You can have my complete, undivided attention for 19.5 minutes and then I WILL look at my phone or go pee or start cleaning up or change the cat litter or sneak into my closet to eat a piece of the Halloween candy from last year that I made you sacrifice to the Great Pumpkin.
2. I made you sacrifice all but 5 pcs of your Halloween candy to the Great pumpkin. For your health.
3. And then I ate it.
4. I keep fruit and nuts in my bedroom so when you wake up before I do I don’t have to get out of bed to feed you.
5. I told you that eating apples in bed for breakfast is kind of like a mini birthday. And that only special kids get breakfast in bed.
6. Sometimes I yell at you. I’ve tried the rubber band thing and the five ring thing. I still yell.
7. I yell.
8. I get really freaked out by poop. If you move even an inch while I wipe your bottom I’m probably gonna scream.
9. I scream.
10. I give you the vaccum and let you do outer space experiments by sucking spiders into the vortex.
11. I don’t kill my own spiders.
12. I told you spiders are poisonous.
13. Even the tiny ones.
14. I hand you whatever I can find in the car to keep you busy. I don’t care about the mess. Here’s an ice scraper and a cup holder-shaped box of Kleenex. A sun visor. Three packs of gum. Anything. Here kid, go crazy.
15. I rarely clean up messes right away. I save them up. So I can have my own version of the Olympics every weekend. Like the “oh crap it’s filthy and if DHS comes I’m totally losing my parental rights so hurryyyyyyy. Fasterrrrrrrrr.”
16. I have pulled up your comforter and laid you down on top of it rather than changing your sheets. I only change bedtime sheets if there’s pee. Or vomit. Or poop. Anything else has to wait for morning.
17. I take pictures of you in your underwear. And diapers. And on the toilet. You have zero privacy.
18. I take pictures of you sleeping. I’m like the stalker that wouldn’t quit.
19. I let you do dangerous things because I think you should have adventures.
20. I let you do dangerous things because I believe you should learn from your own mistakes.
21. I let you do dangerous things because I’m checking Facebook.
22. Or the blog.
23. Or thinking about how mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.
24. Or I freak out because you’re doing something dangerous. (Which means poison or knives, basically. Or anything in my room.)
25. I told you that if you eat boogers you would get germs and get sick. Now every time you pick a booger you think you’re going to die.
26. I haven’t figured out how to convince you that you won’t die without also endorsing eating boogers. So I told you to hurry and eat fruit and drink water to wash the germs out of your mouth.
27. I manipulate you into eating fruit and drinking water.
28. I use this as a way to get rid of the extra fruit I overbuy. Because I inevitably buy pears and apples. From SAMs. On the same day.
29. I put my cauliflower on your plate. Every time. I mean, I have good intentions. But I can’t cauliflower.
30. I tell you that you’re too tired for another story.
31. If you cry then I use it as proof you’re tired. Which may actually be correct. Or not.
32. I know the ingredients in play d’oh. Because I’ve checked it after you ate it. And saw “non-toxic.” So I still give you play d’oh. And you sill eat it.
33. I told you that on rainy days you’re not allowed to be loud.
34. I may have told you it said that in the bible. You don’t understand coveting asses yet anyway. Rainy day quiet should totally have been there instead.
35. Sometimes I hear you in the morning and I cover my head with the covers because I just can’t “mom” or “adult.”
“Hiding Momma” is one of your favorite “games.”
36. When you were a baby, sometimes I would nurse you just to keep you still so I could close my eyes for a minute. That’s right. I manipulated you with my boobs. So I could sleep.
37. Once, when you were a baby and I was changing your diaper, I started talking to someone and you rolled off onto the floor.
38. When you were a baby and you’d be awake every two hours, I used to recite my favorite movie lines to you because I couldn’t think of anything else to say. And I was tired. So your founding neuronal synapses were triggered by scripts from Underworld and Lord of the Rings and You’ve Got Mail and Sense and Sensibility. Which explains a lot, actually.
39. When you were a baby, the very first time I ever cut your finger nails, I cut your finger. You bled. You screamed. I did that. I still think of it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I cut your nails.
40. There are so many mess ups I can’t list them all.
41. I’ve messed up every day since you were born.
42. I’ve messed up in every way I possibly could since you were born.
43. Sometimes I mess up in the same way over and over for awhile before I figure out I’m messing up.
44. I often feel overwhelmed by being your mom.
45. I often feel overwhelmed by you.
46. I’ve apologized to you almost every day of your life.
47. Every single day since you were born, I’ve been aware of my imperfections as a human. Of my selfishness. Of my laziness. And every day since you were born I’ve changed something about myself. Because I love you. I love you more than myself. And I want to be your mom and I want to be the kind of mom you will be proud of and look up to and love, not just because I’m your mom, but because I’m the mom you would choose.
You see, I wasn’t supposed to be a mom.
48. I’m not made of mom-stuff.
49. I’m a mess up of a single mom who just happens to love you so much that I can’t even imagine all the ways I don’t deserve to raise you.
50. I wasn’t born to be a mom. You are making me into a mom.
And I let you teach me every day how to be because without you, I have no idea.
And every one of those lessons are cherished.
And with every flaw I find in myself I cherish your flaws even more.
The more I understand myself, the more I understand you.
And that journey is kind of turning me into the best mom ever.
And happy Mothers Day, Sweetie.
I love you.
I have no business being a mother.