Monday, November 01, 2004

Mother of the Year, I Am Not

I have come to the bitter conclusion that I am not cut out for this mom stuff. I am too young. I am too selfish. And I don’t know what the hell I am doing. How does one just know how to be a mom? How does one go from having hopes and wishes and plans for the evening to watching "The Wiggles," reading Poky Little Puppy, wiping bottoms and figuring out how in the heck to make the headstrong three year-old listen just for once without having to revert to counting or threatening?

The last is the worst, actually. I never envisioned becoming the parent of such a headstrong, willful, independent little girl. In my imagination, “perfect parenthood” never comprised of fights over boots vs. sneakers or fits resulting from my decision to purchase the toothpaste that both had more and cost less than Brother Bear toothpaste. Instead I pictured perfect family dinners, quiet reading times, trips to the park, “yes, momma,” “or course, momma,” and nary a tear in sight, excepting those of joy, of course. Yeah, right. Reality check. I never make dinner anymore. In family of two, what would be the point? My idea of a meal is a salad or popcorn. Hers is nuggets, or PBJ.

How do I get her to eat her vegetables? How do I get her to stop saying “I’m hungry” even though I just fed her a month’s worth of groceries? How do I get her to go into her room and stay there until she is graduated, married and with a three year-old of her own? I am sick of bathing someone else, sick of wiping someone else, sick of cleaning someone else’s messes – the same messes I just cleaned an hour ago and an hour before that.I would much rather read a book, write a book or play the piano. I’m sorry but that is the truth. I don’t know how to rear the perfect child, so the one I have is turning into a brat and I haven’t the faintest idea how to stem that transformation, no idea at all. I don’t feed her candy. I don’t feed her cookies; heck, I don’t even give her crackers. I don’t cave when she wants me to buy this versus that. Still, I get the fits and the naughtiness and the sly, little looks that say, “I don’t want to do a thing you want me to, and I am going to have fun watching you try to get me to do it.” I’ve had it up to here with this nonsense.
I can’t wait until the time of the week comes for her to go to daddy’s house for a wondrous two-day, three-night vacation for me. True, it never falls on the weekend, but that is okay. I can do whatever I want for those short hours of our separation. Granted, I miss her and call nonstop to see how she is doing, but I wouldn’t give up that break for much. I love sleeping in later, foregoing making the PBJ lunch and leaving just 5 minutes before work time.

So last night, when I went to visit my mom, the departure was especially heinous. She didn’t want to leave grandma’s house. I reached for her sweatshirt and practically begged her to come put it on. Her response was to jump into grandma’s arms and hold herself tightly to my mother as she peered at me out of the corner of her eye, willing me to just leave her alone. In that moment, I saw my three year-old self safe in the arms of my mother and longed to morph into that bygone child so I could relive my life knowing everything I know now with the hopes that things would somehow turn out better. I would try harder. I would be a better person. I would pay more attention to the things my mother taught me and never, ever would I disobey or chastise her.

Since that is so unfortunately not a realistic option, I shall instead grow in patience and dinnertime prowess as well as ruefully subscribe to a parenting magazine of some sort, because there has got to be some answers somewhere.

Someone has to know what they are doing right?

- Crazy/Hip Blog-Mamas +