I used to be the perfect mom. My kid was always well-behaved, ate all the right foods, had impeccable manners, stayed close, went to sleep on time without a fight, cleaned up his toys and NEVER acted like a butthead. I ,of course, always left the house put together. Then, I had my first child...
It all started when I was in my twenties and my girlfriends started having children. Those girls... I felt bad for them. Their kids were always causing trouble, the center of attention, misbehaving while we tried to shop, wrecked restaurants while we tried to lunch, ruined our plans by having constant colds... Lucky for me, I was so sure I knew how to be a super mom, so I knew I would NEVER be, "THAT mom with THAT kid."
Clearly, ignorance is bliss, because what a fool I was. I am totally THAT mom, and my kid is totally THAT kid.
I realize now, back in my days of childless ignorance, I had NO CLUE what children were actually like. I had no clue that babies could ONLY communicate through crying. I never imagined that toddlers were actually little humans that needed to constantly test the world in order for it to make sense. I never imagined that 5 and 6-year-olds were so sure they had life all figured out, thanks to the toddler testing phase, they would need to constantly show and tell their wealth of knowledge. I was all wrong about my belief that kids were little programmable robots that did, said and ate, exactly as they were told. Most of all, I had NO clue that parenting would be so hard, take so much patience and be so life changing.
I was so sure I would be this perfect, calm, polished mother, with a perfect, calm, polished child. HA! I am no different than the mothers I used to judge. I have a "lively" kid, I go everywhere in yoga pants and flip-flops, I yell at my kid in the store, I bribe him to be good with cookies, I clean up after him on a daily basis, I feed him pasta and hot dogs four meals in a row, I sometimes don't change him the minute he craps his diaper in the store and rarely do we leave the house on time with everything we need. And that's OK!
The only true crime in all of this was me being a judgmental ass. Parenting is HARD! Super duper hard. And I expect being a child in a world full of mystery, limitations, rules and requirements to eat vegetables over candy is super hard too!
Today, I am proud to be THAT mom, because it means I am a true mom. A mom who is not afraid to do what it takes to have a happy, thriving, well-behaved child; even if that means taking unconventional roads to get there. I am THAT mom who has a messy house and car, cancels plans over fevers, lets my kid push the cart in the grocery, listens to toddler radio in the car, loves playdates, can change a diaper while my kid stands up in the backseat of the car, chases after my kid yelling, COME BACK HERE, OR... regardless of the venue, and sometimes lets my kid wear two different shoes out of the house, even if one is a slipper and the other is a shoe he has outgrown, but still loves. Oh yes, I am totally THAT mom and absolutely love it, because there is no one else in the world I would rather be.