By Sandy Ramsey of An Honest Sinner
I question my ability to mother every single day. Some days I get it right. Other days I get it very, very wrong.
It’s easy to announce all the wondrous things I do as a mom, but the truth is, in my mind, there are very few things to shout across the universe about.
I get up at the ass crack of dawn, not because I want a jump on motherhood, but because I want an hour of peace and quiet with my coffee and computer before the wild rumpus of life begins, since I do actually live where the wild things are.
The boys…oh, the boys! They will fight in that way that boys do. One has no filter or boundaries while the other is going through some big changes that make his temper volatile. I don’t stand between them like the zebra-striped referee anymore because it makes me tired. I shrug and walk away. Let them work it out. If someone hits the floor, well…they hit the floor.
I no longer make up fun and age appropriate words when I need to release my inner bitch, especially in the car. Alternatives such as ‘fudge,’ ‘cheese and rice,’ ‘shitake mushrooms,’ and ‘son of a biscuit’ — why are they all food-y?? – just don’t have the same soothing effect on my damaged psyche as the more lively words. I don’t incorporate them into every sentence, but they do make it in from time to time and, yes, my kids are around.
Fuck, shit, and son of a bitch release an amount of tension even Xanax can’t touch.
You can quote me.
I don’t always feel like making lunches, so my kids are forced to eat the shitty school lunch. They live to tell about it, and tell about it they do, to which I respond heartily and without so much as a grin that it didn’t kill them.
Dinner is pretty much the same. I hate to cook, but I wake with the best of intentions every day…going to the grocery story, buying all the organic and good-for-them things, but more often than is probably “motherhood correct,” they get chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese — the processed Velveeta kind.
Oh! And let me not leave out Hamburger Helper.
Long ago, I quit trying to be the mom who gives the greatest and most creative gifts for teacher appreciation week. I do manage to bake Pillsbury pull-apart cookies and put them in a pretty recycled Birchbox ,and my go-to gift is a Starbucks gift card. Not creative, but it gets the job done.
I’m not above telling them that I’m going to sit down and write or catch up on reading or nap and that unless they are bleeding, and pretty badly, they should think twice before stepping into my personal space.
I tell my homeschooled daughter to skip the schedule some days and take her shopping. I’m a shitty learning coach on the days my Kohl’s cash is going to expire.
When I am in the throes of anxiety and can’t catch my breath, I go to my twelve-year-old daughter and hold her hand. Some say that’s a lot of pressure to put on a twelve-year-old. I say you don’t know her.
I yell, I slam doors, I threaten to throw their crap in the yard or run it over with my car if they don’t pick it up. If they don’t bother to tell me they don’t have clean socks or underwear for school, I tell them to take it out of the hamper and turn it inside out. That’s their bad.
My kids know I love them. I tell them every single day, more than once. More than twice.
I show up. To all the things. Always. I am now and will always be their biggest (and loudest) fan.
They know without a doubt I would turn the world upside down for them and then lay down my own life if it came down to it.
They know me well enough and, better yet, respect me enough to give me the time I need to deal with being human. Most of the time anyway.
My daughter sees me in all my imperfect, insane glory, and sometimes she comes to me, just to hold my hand for five minutes because she knows, even when I try to hide it, that my mind is spinning and my heart is pounding; she knows just from the look on my face or the tone of my voice. She realizes I am not a super-human. Just a regular one dealing with life and some of the less pretty stuff that comes with it.
They eat just as much healthy food as they do garbage and are all growing and glowing to show for it. The proof is in the penciled marks on their bedroom door frames. Did I mention they love Hamburger Helper?
The boys haven’t killed each other yet, and I’ve only seen a couple of marks. I grew up in the days of far less paranoia and fist fought my brother until he outgrew me by a foot and I knew I could no longer win. I’m still here, and I’m fairly sure they will be too.
My daughter is finishing her honors courses with all A’s and a B this school year. Retail therapy is obviously a fantastic tool.
The teachers may not say, but sometimes do, that the cookies and Starbucks cards? They are the best gifts ever.
As for the words, they are just words, expressive and colorful. If they are going to say them one day, it will be with or without my help. Mostly, they just ignore me.
I’m not a perfect mom. I don’t need to be.
My kids love me just the way I am…flaws, bad cooking, anxiety, curse words and all. I am their rose with many thorns.
I am a good enough mom.
They wouldn’t trade me for all the chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese in the world.
About Sandy Ramsey
Sandy is a writer. She is also a wife and a mother, a daughter and a friend. At the end of the day if she can lay her head on the pillow and feel that she has done her best and everyone is still alive then it is has been a good day. She is the voice of An Honest Sinner, where she writes about her addiction and other character flaws as well as the things that make her life unexpectedly amazing. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.