This morning, after I actually told my son to wipe his snotty nose on his shirt sleeve, I realized that I may suck as a parent. I’m almost certain moms and dads (especially moms) from generations past would shake their heads in mass disapproval at some of the crap I have done and will continue to do to my kids:
When we’re in public, I look at other kids and silently see how my own measure up: “Brady isn’t as tall as that boy, but his eyes are definitely bluer!” “That little girl’s hair is so much cuter than Ella’s, but my gal’s smile is so much brighter!” Why do I do this? I don’t know. I even annoy myself with it.
For fun, we burp each others’ names. Gross? Yes. Entertaining? Hell yes.
I use fear to force my kids to do what they don’t want to do. Brady has an irrational fear of stink bugs so if he refuses to come in the house at lunch time, I just tell him, “Good luck–I’ve seen a few of those stink bugs flying around your sandbox.” He’s on my heels in .3 seconds.
Just the other day, someone asked me if I had picked out the kids’ Easter outfits, and I found myself scrambling to answer, pretending I care about clothes like a proper mother: “Oh, yeah! Adorable!!!” I lied, and then made a mental note that the kids should not wear their PJs to church on Easter Sunday.
I insist on keeping my old clothes that no longer fit. They are currently smashed into a closet that is supposed to be for Ella’s stuff. The fact that I refuse to get rid of these things and that they are taking up space meant for my daughter makes me selfish. The fact that I believe I will one day shove myself into the jeans I wore as a high school senior makes me pathetic.
There are nights when we put Brady to bed in the clothes he wore, played in, and sweat in all day. Whew. Feels good to get that off my chest.
Ella no longer fits in her infant car seat carrier, so I researched convertible and 3-in-1 car seats until I was blue in the face. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that my child would not have the “best” seat because it was so friggin’ expensive. Ella is now chillaxing in a car seat that didn’t make the top 3 on The Car Seats Parents Who ReallyLove Their Children Buy list. She and Brady are, however, in 5-star safety rated matching boy and girl seats, and they look pretty adorable so I should at least get points for that.
I admit it: there are times that I wistfully reminisce about the days before I became a parent. Happy Hour. Saturday afternoon naps. A smaller waistline. Ahhh the good ol’ days. But then my daughter gives me an open-mouthed, sloppy kiss or my son tells me I’m his favorite buddy, and I am reminded that Happy Hours resulted in Horrible Hangovers, I’ll sleep enough when I’m dead, and Spanx are my friend. So, yeah, maybe I’m not that crappy of a parent after all. I’ll let Brady and Ella be the judge of that. Them and all of those other parents who are undoubtedly sizing up my kids just like I size up theirs in the cereal aisle of Giant Eagle.