Monday, July 12, 2010

How to Not be Mother of the Year

Like all Not-Mothers-of-the-Year, I often buy parenting books to keep my kids out of prison (or at least therapy).

Some of the worst of the lot are the "Make meals fun!" genre, where one is expected to make potato mice or homemade "avocado froggy dip." It's all a little too precious, and a lot too time-consuming for my taste.

Nevertheless, I attempted to step outside my comfort zone, and the result was this:

It's a sun! With enough protein to raise Atkins from the grave!

I presented this to Owen, and he promptly told me that he didn't like peanut butter and my eggs were utterly and completely ruined because I sullied them with pepper.

I said, "Fine. I'll eat it."

He replied, "What am I going to eat?"

I munched on one of the peanut-butter rays and replied, "You can lick the plate when I'm done."

I'll happily confess to all sorts of bad-mother transgressions. Yelling? Check. Cereal bars and popcorn for dinner? Of course! Going inside to "use the restroom" and secretly checking my messages? I'll own that!

This is a little harder to confess, but true nonetheless: at times, I find my children excruciatingly boring.

Today, for example, Owen wanted to play "store." He said, "Mommy, what do you want to buy?"

I looked at him, smiling behind the chair he had fashioned as his counter, and said, "A banana, please."

He frowned."We don't have bananas. What else do you want?"

A stiff drink, I thought, and said, "How about cheese?"

"We don't have cheese. What else do you want?"

I sighed, and looked at my clock. Surely, we had been playing this game for at least an hour. "Why don't you just tell me what you have?"

"We have baseball gloves," he replied.

Naturally. "I'll have a baseball glove, please," I said.

"That'll be twenty thousand million dollars," he said. "Sit down and count it out for me."

At times like this, or when I am reading Digger Man to my youngest for the fifth time in a row, my mind drifts to this place, my blog. I'll play with topics, and stretch sentences in my head as if I'm pulling taffy.

Although I am sitting with or near my children, my mind is floating off on my little cloud of inspiration. I feel connected to the world, to adults, and to the life I once had, because I know that I will be able to write it all down.

On the more tedious of days, this thought keeps me one foot ahead of crazy.

 I bought this corner table for ten bucks at the consignment store.

On impulse, I asked Owen to help me paint it.

The dribbles, the uneven brushstrokes, the globs of grass and dirt mixed in with the paint---GAH!

It took every ounce of my being to not snatch the brush from his hand and finish the job myself.

But together, we did it. It looked like it was done by a blind, one-armed stork, but we did it.

He leaned back in the grass, his knees splattered with paint, and said, "I'm really, really good at painting, Mommy."

"You sure are, honey," I replied, mentally considering how many coats it would take to repair his damage.

After some thought, I decided to leave it.

Yes, it's not perfect.

There are Goldfish crackers for dinner and days where he goes to preschool without underwear.

Yes, there are marks.

There are days of too much TV and too few consequences. 

Yes, there are splotches.

I skip pages in Curious George. I pretend to care about tee-ball and monster trucks. 

And yet, mistakes and all, it stands. It endures. It is beautiful, perhaps more so, in its imperfection.

This is an entry in Mary Mommyologist and Tina @ Life Without Pink's  "Not Mommy of the Year" Contest. Click to read the other amazing entries!

NOT Mom of the Year Award


MiMi said...

I love these posts!!!
I have a really hard time letting the kids do stuff without just doing it.
Like, for example, I was gonna have them do some artwork for the bathroom, but I can't do it. I have to.
And, worst thing, It would look better if they did it I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

'a blind, one-eyed stork"! hahaha! That's priceless. This post was wonderful. Not too sappy, but very heartfelt, and way too funny. Well done!

The Mommyologist said...

Great post!!! I love that you admit to sending him to preschool without underwear, because I've done that a time or two myself. And I've skipped pages in books too, but now he starts to catch on when I do it!!

Thanks so much for entering!

Tracie said...

You are preaching to the choir, my friend. Love this post! Hope you win!

Mel said...

Another great post, so funny and so true! I think it proves that you're actually a pretty good mom. A smart one too - I am going to borrow your lick the plate line the next complaint I get about what's for dinner! I thought your sunshine was cute.

adrienzgirl said...

I don't know if I have ever sent my kids off to school without underwear or not. That's how sad I am.

This was brilliant! As always! :D

clearness said...

This is a great post and I found myself on several occasions nodding my head in agreement.

Beth Zimmerman said...

I loved this post and I think you must be a GREAT mom! And I wander off mentally to my blog sometimes too. But I don't have little kids to blame it on!

Shell said...

I love this post! :)

Cheeseboy said...

Dang,I just commented on someone elses blog that I would support them in their quest. But after reading this, I am kinda leaning toward supporting you.

Except that I think you really are a GREAT mom for all the reasons you think you are not a great mom.

blueviolet said...

I adore your honesty and your go with the flow attitude!

shortmama said...

You are so honest! And we all feel that way sometimes...or most days!

One Cluttered Brain said...

Dang! You win girl!
I cracked up on the first post, mostly because that is so my kids...
And I eat the food..
And they lick the plates...
Love it!
I am so glad U entered. Now I don't know who to vote for.
Oh wait, Can I vote since I'm in the contest as well?
Who knows?
But I loved your post!

Ms. Moon said...

I used to tell my children that I played when I was a child and that now that I was an adult, I no longer played.
So there.
And they are all grown up and don't hate me. I think.

Life Without Pink said...

I admit too I find it boring entertaining my kids all day. Probably because of the simple fact that I get everything ready and then 5 minutes later they want to do something else, ugh!

Thanks for linking up!

Brittney said...

LMAO!! i totally laughed out loud about the lick the plate comment!! I think a lot like you I do the same things when playing with my son!! glad im not alone

Coby said...

You. Are. Hilarious. Just for letting Owen help you paint and NOT painting over it...that cancels out all the other Not Mother of the Year moments! ;-) (Although those are pretty darn funny, and I've had plenty of them myself)

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! Definitely had me giggling. I painted some shelves with my kids once. And it has pieces of grass stuck in the paint too!

Erin said...

You had me at "a stiff drink!"


this is the best contest ever. i love everyone's entries!

and your sun? is a helluva lot better than I could do and my kids wouldn't have eaten it, either! lol

Minivan Lover said...

I got mad at Parker yesterday because he was not doing the crab craft correctly at the library. It is now hanging on our fridge. I love it.

Amber Page Writes said...

You've got my vote. And that's a good thing, I promise!

June said...

I would respond the same way to "What am I going to eat?"

Going to vote!

The Empress said...

I am having so much fun reading these posts. Finally, some real stuff out there, I love it.

Anonymous said...

You get the reward for restraint for giving him the freedom "to be. . ." the painter! I struggle with that sometimes, too!

I have never skipped a page of a book - because I was too scared they'd catch me - so kudos for the courage!

Sitting doing almost nothing is so tedius! My brain starts crackling! So I knit - all kinds of things, itty bitty knitty things - and then I calm down!

I thought you did a lovely job!

Mungee's Ma said...

You know, I think a lot of the boredom I've experienced over the last year has masqueraded as depression. Thank you for admitting that hanging out with children is sometimes boring. Especially more so when they can't talk yet.

An Imperfect New Momma said...

Love this post! :o)

Cat said...

This post is perfect- you have an amazing way of putting words to feelings.

LB said...

As always, you are hilarious. I cannot believe you let him help you paint! My son is always begging to paint with me, but I tell him "no" b/c I don't want paint on his clothes and every other thing that's not moving in the 40 mile radius!

Kat @ said...

You SKIP PAGES? You think your kid is boring? C'mon...

I've found my match! I'm soo happy to find your blog thru this contest.

I'll continue to read you, for sure!

Jen said...

Ohhh, you know how *I* feel about parenting most days! LOL Not.Their.Playmate. ; ) I have been known to turn my brain off in an act of self-preservation, have TOLD my kids I wanted that stiff drink, and flat-out refuse to read to them sometimes because I'm tired and want that stiff drink. I have less guilt about that last one since now they both devour books on their own. I am not Mom of the Year, nor do I want to be. I don't want the pressure.
Jen at Laughing at Chaos