Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Evolution of a Mom

Have you ever thought about your journey as a parent?  How you got to the place where you are?  How different it is than you imagined when you planted the seed of being a mom into your head?

As I type, Casey is asleep.  Spelling words completed, Halloween finished - Luna Lovegood costume a success, Griffyndor T-Shirt laid out for the next day.  Travis is in the basement, playing X-box,   hooting into his microphone to his friend in Chicago as his Football Team alternately scores and sucks.  At times I want to yank the thing out of the wall.

I just watched the Season 2 finale of Sons of Anarchy, which I would have never known about had I not had a Son of my own.  I realize now there would have been a lot of things I wouldn't have known about had I decided against having children.

When you get right down to it, there was really no decision at all. At least not one that I carried to fruition.  When we planned a pregnancy, I miscarried. Every time I got pregnant and actually made it to delivery, they had decided to have me.  At the most inconvenient times of my life, no less.  Twice.  What is that they say; "Man plans, God laughs"?  Well she had a side splitting time with me, no doubt.  

I suppose if I would have been a little a lot more careful with the alcohol consumption + diaphragm use formula,  my pregnancy convenience factor would have been more favorable.  But it was what it was, and I got my babies.  One that was six weeks old when I started nursing school, and one eight years later that came after I busted my ass to lose 75 pounds and had come to terms with having an only child.  There's Karma, as only I would get it.

These children changed our lives, as all children do.  We embraced the brave new world of 5 minute just do it sex, driving aimlessly around the neighborhood to quiet a screaming baby, catching barf in our bare hands, and the realization that restaurants with 2 year olds are never, ever a good idea.

I slept on the floor next to the crib praying to the Laughing At Me God not to let my girl be brain damaged from seizures.  I held a sobbing Travis in my arms in post op while he declared that   having his adenoids out was "not fun at all and why did everyone lie to me and say this would be fun?"  I held fish burials and cleaned fish tanks that I didn't want and intervened when Travis and his twin buddies tried to dig up the poor dead cat because we buried him with a baseball that they now needed to play with.

I fought the good fight.

Yet, I am not a perfect mommy.  Just ask the Stepford mommies at the elementary school Casey attends.  The ones who pull into "their" parking spot ten minutes early, get out and walk their kids into school with shoes on,  their hair done and make up intact, busting with eagerness to suck up to the teacher.  When I pull up at one minute to the bell, I have yanked a hat on my head and my make up is on, baby. Because it's the stuff I didn't wash off from the night before.  Alice Cooper has nothing on me at 8am on a Tuesday.

I avoid PTA, PTO whatever the hell you call it now like the plague.  I don't head fundraisers and go to mommy coffee clatch.  I don't do Girl Scouts/Brownies/Bluebirds. I am the one telling my kid to return the candle/cookie dough/wrapping paper/cheap ass whatever they are trying to sell that year forms the day after she brings them home.  I get carsick on buses so field trips are not my thing.

Does that make me a bad person?

Nah.  Know why?

I learned.  I learned from the trial child, Travis.  The one I killed myself doing all that crap for.  The one who looked at me blankly when I posed the question:  "Do you remember when I volunteered for that committee in 2nd grade and you had that amazing party and we bought the teacher the best gift ever?"  "Do you remember the reindeer cookies I made and the sweet little Halloween goodie bags we gave to your first grade class"?

Yeah. Not. So. Much.

When I first pondered becoming a mom, when the "you're so pregnant" stick had two lines and I alternated wanting to puke with puking, when the formerly flat stomach began swelling and stretchmarking and filling with feet that kicked my bladder, I had some grand delusions.  My baby would sleep. I would put it in the jogging stroller and off we would go - every day getting our exercise.  I was going to be the room mommy.  The hot mommy.  The cookie baking, car pool driving, organized,  healthy snack mommy.  I was going to work, parent, keep my house clean, keep my husband happy and wear my size 10 jeans to my kid's first birthday party.

Silly, silly, Kim.  Duck as the fist of reality heads right at your face.

Please pause now, and flip your dial over to the Actuality Channel. 

Here is Mom Kim, staying up until 2am to assemble the 4th Grade Arctic Wolf diorama she forgot after she threw the reminder note out in a fit of clutter reduction.  Here she is breathless, running out of the house in a nightshirt because she set the alarm for 8pm instead of 8am.  Watch as Kim parades through the house with a garbage bag full of Legos that she threw out in a fit of rage when one lodged between her 2nd and 3rd toe.  Observe as she "swears she hasn't seen" the too tight Harry Potter T-shirt that gets worse every washing. See her struggle not to cry when she has nothing that fits to wear to the Christmas Concert (or the Graduation, or the Swim Banquet.)  Tune in as she heads to Meijer at 3am to look for Monster High Dolls with the drunks and Middle Eastern population.

Hear Kim scream "WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT FROM MEEEEEEE?" to the infant that has been crying for six hours straight.  See her stomp outside in her nightgown and boots at 4am to throw down with the neighbor who is shoveling snow under screaming baby's window.  Observe as she leaves a dog biscuit under the pillow of the boy who tried to trick the tooth fairy by leaving the dog's lost tooth there.  And on, and on, and on.

On paper, I kind of suck at Momming.

But really, what are the moments you remember about your mom?  Is it dioramas or Monster High Dolls that broke 10 minutes after you got them?  Is it what she was wearing when she took you to school, or the fact that you got there safely?  What did you get your 3rd grade teacher for a holiday gift?  Did you think your mom was pretty?  Do you remember when she screamed at you when you had colic?

I think not. And mercifully, beautifully, my kids put a different spin on what makes a good Mom.

My kids go crazy when I announce that it's meatloaf and apple pie night.  My kids wear Chuck Taylors because I do.  They listen to great music because I exposed them to it.  They have a million pictures of the things they have done because I took them and made them albums.  My kids were taught hand made cards are best, so they make cards that alternately make me laugh and cry because they are so hilariously spot on.  I contribute to things at school under the radar because it's inner joy, not recognition, that I crave.  My kids are clean and loved and immunized and don't smell like cigarette smoke.  My house doesn't look like an episode of "Hoarders". Their friends like to come to our home, and they are (almost) always welcome. And while my kids sometimes make me want to tear my hair out, they know I would go to the ends of the Earth for them.

Travis appreciates that I worked two double shifts to buy the Xbox he screams at his friends on.  Casey smiled in the realization that no one in the school had a cooler, more original costume than Luna Lovegood. She is told she is beautiful, strong and sweet because we pray she stays that way. They attend guitar, swimming, baseball, dance and vocal lessons because I took the time to find them and sign them up.  They hug and kiss us and tell us they love us because it was told to them a million times, from the minute they came into the world.  They laugh, because they were raised with humor and taught the value of self deprecation. They are happy, because they appreciate life.

On paper, or maybe to the model mommies, I may suck.  But in the real world I am not so bad, after all.  Because I can take it when God laughs.


Birgit Kerr said...

Amen to imperfectly perfect mommies!! :)
Love reading your posts! Mostly because I nod (as in agree not sleep) all the way through!

Cori said...

Excellent Kim. I keep thinking I can and will be a better Mommy and then I think I'm doing a good job. I'm not perfect but I don't think they are judging me the way I judge me. I yell at them and they still love me. Lord knows I thought I was not going to make it through 11 months of colic that the Dr's said would end around 3 months then 6 then 9. It made me feel like shit when I couldn't get my little girl to stop crying no matter. Isn't that what we are supposed to do?

Love ya Kim!