When I Was The Perfect Mom……
I know what you must be thinking. That I have completely lost my mind thinking I was ever the perfect mom, but you would be wrong.
Once upon a time, I was the perfect mom.
That time however, was BEFORE I HAD KIDS.
Last week my friend Kristin and I were talking about it and said it jokingly about what great parents we were prior to ever having kids ourselves. We made bold “I will never” statements and helped “parent” our friends kids while silently critiquing them. Telling ourselves that one day, we would do it different. We would do it better.
Here were some of my “quality” perfect parenting rules:
1) My kids will never wear character shirts. Character shirts are tacky.
2.) I will never bribe my kids with food so I can shop. That is for lazy moms who don’t know how to handle their children.
3.) I will never use excuses like “boys will be boys” and allow them to play rough.
4.) I will not fill my kids with fast food. I will plan ahead and make a well balanced meal for my family. It isn’t that hard.
5.) “Because I said So” will not be in my vocabulary.
I know I had a lot more, but I am embarrassed enough at my ignorance.
Character shirts? We own a bazillion. My kids love them, and I love my kids. Yes, sometimes I bribe my kids to shop. In fact I will be real with you, I bribe them 9 times out of 10. Maybe it does make me lazy. But it also gets me in and out of Sam’s with my sanity – and I am kind of partial to my sanity. And so is my husband. My boys? I never once taught them that cars say “vroom” or showed them how to wrestle…..they just knew those things. We work on being gentle, but we are still rough and as it turns out, boys will be boys. They are a whole different animal than girl…..emphasis on the animal. Chick – Fil- A is a family favorite. We probably have it once a week in some kind of capacity. Some days the best plans still get messed up and dinner just isn’t getting made. Some days it is that hard. “Because I said So” is not only in my vocabulary, but it’s one of the phrases I use most often. Sometimes there really is no other explanation for why you can’t throw mommy’s blush in the toilet.
The thing is that prior to kids it was really easy to make judgements on how I would parent, and truth be told even now that I have kids of my own I still find myself judging other parents whose parenting looks different than my own. We can say it’s just me, but we all know that would be a lie.
Just last week I was doing my weekly HEB run. It was a Monday night. It was around 9pm. I had stopped at Sonic and gotten myself a Diet Dr. Pepper treat and had my list in hand and was ready to do my weekly damage. Once inside, I noticed a mom with her child who appeared to be around 2 or 3 and was in his pajamas and throwing a fit. I sat there watching the mom. I watched her and as I did, I judged her. I thought to myself “why isn’t that child in bed”. I walked around for a few minutes judging this mother and then out of nowhere it hit me. Not that long ago, I was that mother. I was a single mom working full time and usually late too. Some nights we were in Walmart or HEB at 9pm or later doing our grocery shopping because that was the only time I had to get it done. I was doing the best I could and I guarantee there were other moms judging me at the time. I immediatly felt the need to go and apologize but I didn’t want to look like a total crazy. I did want to go and talk to her though so as our carts crossed paths at the juice boxes, I said hello to the sweet little boy. I told him I liked his pajamas and he began to talk to me. The mom smiled and we chatted for a few seconds. Before she walked away I made it a point to smile at her and look her straight in the eyes and tell her what a sweet boy she had and what a great job she was doing. I think that is something as mothers we don’t do enough of. So what if its a total stranger? It does my heart a world of good when a complete stranger compliments my children or my parenting.
It’s no secret that we are all about encouraging other mamas. Sometimes though even for us, it can be hard not to judge. We are human. It happens. The thing is we have to remember to take a step back and remind ourselves that no two kiddos are the same and we never truly know what someone else is going through and that judging a situation just based off a quick glance in Target isn’t enough insight to pass judgement and get up on your perfect parenting high horse.
What were some of your “I will never” statements you made that you have now had to eat your words on?
Grocery shopping is the worst! I used to see a toddler throwing a tantrum in a shopping cart, and the mom just went about her business completely seeming to ignore the child. I would think, your child is crying out for your love and attention. Can’t you just show them some love? Well, now it’s my children making scenes in the grocery store. Almost every time!!! I can’t just go home and let them calm down before we come back because it’s already lunch time, we have no milk in the house, and if we wait until later, it naptime and tantrums will still happen. So we power through – and bribery usually works!
Eeek! I LOVE this! Please come share this with the Shine Blog Hop on the blog today. More mamas need to your truth. 😉 I used to always say I’d never let my child play with electronics at the table. Uh huh. Maybe we’ll grow out of it, but at restaurants, sometimes that little cell phone is a peace keeper. Love you, mama! I was just thinking to myself the other day what a great mama you are…even meant to text you, but telling you now is as good as ever. 😉
Chelsea @ The Contented Wife says
Oh my, the character shirts. I guess I hadn’t thought much about it and I didn’t necessarily say in my mind that I would NEVER, but I definitely don’t look forward to them. LOL. What is it about them that just turns us off? Oh well, I’m sure my son will be in a character shirt before too long. 🙂 I really loved this post! My boy is only a year old, but I’ve already done many things I swore I would never do. It just happens. One thing I told myself is that my house will still be clean. You can guess how long THAT lasted.
This was just fantastic. I have a rough draft written for a post like this about my misconceptions I had before kids. Yikes. One of my things is that I would think, “My gosh, that lady looks crazy. CALM DOWN. They’re just kids being kids.” And now, I’M that lady sometimes. Oh, how the tables have turned and now I have empathy. Thanks for the laugh.
Just found you ladies from Seven Graces’ Facebook page! New follower!
P.S. I love the 2 Legit 2 Quit
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Ha! This is AWESOME! I once wrote a post about “When I Have Kids, I’ll Never Do THAT!” It’s funny how things shift hey?!
Loved this so much… mama truth!
Thanks for sharing and linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.
Wishing you a lovely weekend.
I think God gave me twins as numbers 4 and 5 in order to humble me. They have done many things I thought my kids would never do and I’ve done many things as a mother I thought I wouldn’t do. It’s fun to laugh at how we used to think though and it helps me to never say never! 🙂 #shinebloghop
I swore my oldest would NEVER watch Barney! Not sure what I had against that big lovable purple dinosaur but he was not gonna make an appearance in my house. My daughter ended up watching him while at a friends house & LOVED him. How could I not let her watch it now in our own house? Turns our Barney was awesome…and educational! Still love him to this day! 🙂
Totally guilty of the judging & I catch myself every time. Thanks for writing this post as it’s definitely a wake up call! 🙂
Before I had kids I swore that my kids would never use pacifiers..fast forward to a mother of three whose children all loved their binkies well into their twos. Same with temper tantrums, I did not understand how mothers could allow their kids to act like that in public; my first two allowed me to hang on to my self righteousness beliefs until my third came along and had ideas of her own. What a wake up call for me! I’ve been doing this mom thing for a long time now (almost 22 years) and I always try to chat with moms of little ones and let them know that I know their struggle.
Sarah Marchant says
Thank you for being real and sharing this post.
Emily Miller says
Oh man! Michelle, the first half of this with the pictures and the confessions gave me a good chuckle! And then you got all sentimental. My emotions were all over the board 🙂 Anyway, great post. I’m not on Facebook anymore and out of nowhere thought, “I should check out Michelle’s blog!” So glad I did! Looking forward to checking this more often during Lucy’s naps. Hope all the Tanners are doing well!