My parents had just left town. It was time for my next prenatal visit. Fortunately, my two older children were at school. So, I only had two children in tow. Now, I’ve taken all four of them places and done just fine, so only having two should’ve been no problem. Well, it wasn’t. No, actually it was. But, had these been my first two children, this visit would have been horribly devastating, completely humiliating and I would have hung my head so low as a Mom, it would’ve taken a crane to lift it back up.
Buuuut, this time, I was magnificent. You might totally disagree. But I think I was nothing short of brilliant. Why? Because I had the know with all to pull out my phone and capture the awesomeness that was taking place. Whereas years prior, I would have wanted nothing more than to erase such a memory.
New Mommy listen close. I love you. I really do. I love the sparkles and twinkle in your eyes. You are completely adorable to me. Now please, do not misunderstand my tone; I am not patronizing you, I really mean all of that. I was just like you. And, in many ways we are still similar. I still teared up at every ultrasound, seeing this beautiful miracle of God happening inside me. I often wondered and asked, “Why me Lord? I am a wretch of a person. How can You be SO good to me?” I still loved washing new baby clothes in Dreft. And I too, waited excited and anxious to meet this new little life.
But, with all those sweet similarities; there was one thing that I hope we differ in. I was as judgmental as they come. I would see children crying, thrashing and having COMPLETE meltdowns at the grocery store…and I would look at the Mom–and she was COMPLETELY oblivious to the thrashing maniac that was in her cart. I almost wanted to ask the Mom if I could lay my hands on her child and pray for her kid—for clearly they were possessed. I am glad I didn’t, or that Mom most likely would’ve laid her hands on me…and not in prayer.
Now, I get it! How many times I have had that kid in my cart, and you know what? I keep my eyes focused on my task at hand –get what we need, and get out. Keep your head down, ignore the noise and the stares; get the milk, the eggs, the cereal—no, not the cereal, we can live without that for a day or two. And, I completely disregard the possessed child in my cart. Because chances are; this is one of those times where I know there is NOTHING that can be done to console my kid. They need to be disciplined and put in line. But, I also need food; and we are here now, so we are getting said food. Sometimes I wish I could have a digital sign that flashed what I was thinking, “I am sorry Publix shoppers, my child is having a meltdown; but I need food, so you are going to have to deal with it for few more minutes. But, have no fear! I will be addressing this issue at home. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your trip here at Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.”
Oh, there are so many things my child would never do; watch more than a half an hour of television, eat crap food, get their way from whining, and be awarded candy for obedience. They would never hit, speak disrespectfully to me—or anyone for that matter. And I, as a Mom would never yell, never be sarcastic, never look like a haggard mess out of the house, lose my temper, especially with a two-year old, um, no never. I am an adult after all. They are two. Please, I got this. I am sorry all you Moms who can’t control your children. So sorry.
I wish I was kidding. I’m not. I actually thought ALL of those things. But, as God would have it, my first-born helped in removing the scales from my oh so covered eyes. And my fourth child, Lucy added the exclamation point!
My Hannah. My strong-willed child. Actually, I like to refer to her as “passionate.” That sounds better, yes, passionate. Woe to the Mom who has a Samuel or Bethany like child first. You might just think you are the best Mom ever and look down your nose at every Mom who has an unruly kid. My only son, Samuel and my third child, Bethany are the types of kids that you sometimes want to ask “Um, hi, I am your Mom, and if you need any parenting, I’ll be over here.” Seriously, they are just something special. Thank God, I didn’t have them first. I probably would’ve had my first parenting book written before they were three.
And everything was going according to plan, until Hannah turned two. I can actually recall a conversation Petersen and I had regarding parenting. It was something along the lines of “If we do everything right, follow the suggestions of all these parenting books, discipline our kids, etc., they are not going to have all those “kid issues” other kids have, like the terrible two’s with tantrums and all…” Oh, how we laugh about that conversation now.
I don’t say this to make you feel bad about judging like we did. I want you to know I welcome it. I really do. And, I won’t waste my breath like so many did to me…telling me, “just wait, just wait until they turn two. You’ll think twice about wanting so many kids.” I want you to enjoy ignorant bliss. Truly. Look at all us crazy Moms with crying, thrashing kids and look away, embarrassed for us, thinking to yourself, “whew, I feel bad for that lady! My kid will never do that!” And, then rub your sweet pregnant belly or look back at your sweet UNDER TWO year old child and look at us with pity. And, I will give you the biggest, most sincere smile. Enjoy it. Enjoy your baby, enjoy looking on at us with sweet pity. Because one day, you too will laugh at yourself. I promise.
So, as I sat at the doctor’s office that day with Bethany and Lucy in a very tight waiting room; Lucy lost it. And, it was over a life-changing event of course. She wanted to look at my phone and I said no. The NERVE!!! So, being another “passionate” child like Hannah, she screamed. I mean SCREAMED–like her leg had just been amputated with no anesthesia. I am convinced the ENTIRE building heard my child. And what did I do? I made her sit down in time-out; right there in the waiting room. And, did she sit sweetly in time-out? Ah, no. She layed herself on the floor crying, completely distraught. The two pregnant moms in there with me felt so uncomfortable, I felt bad for them. They had judgment and pity written all over their faces. They couldn’t look at me, let alone make eye contact. I wanted to say “It’s ok, judge away. Really. I get it. I did it too. I am totally ok with it. Now, excuse me while I take pictures of my kid and text them to my husband. He has a stressful job you know, and this will make him laugh.” No doubt they thought I was totally cruel.
There comes a point as a Mom, when you just let go and surrender to the truth about children and about who you are as a Mom; finally comfortable in your own skin. I pray it doesn’t take you as long as it took me. They are human; therefore they are imperfect. They will have melt downs over the DUMBEST things, they will embarrass you, throw up on you, poop on you, spit up on every nice top you have – sparing only the tops that you don’t care about. And you, you will lose your cool faster than you ever thought possible, you will cry and want to quit more often than you’d like to admit. You will wonder if you have caused permanent damage to your child’s well being from things you’ve said in anger and you’ll question your decisions about almost everything.
But, you know what? You are perfect. You were the perfect Mom before you became pregnant; you are the perfect Mom while raising an unruly toddler or a passionate youth. You are the perfect Mom when you blow it again and yell at your kid. And you are the perfect Mom when you go to your child in love and apologize; they get it. They see it. They know. Only you can love your child as fiercely as you do. Only you can make boo-boos or owies feel better with just a kiss, only you can say I love you to your child in a glance, and they know what you are saying. Only your voice will do at bedtime, even if you can’t sing—like me, it is your voice they want. You are the one they will search for at performances; and nothing will fill your heart like watching your child’s face BEAM when they finally spot you, Mom.
So, as we end this week, which was a bit trying for me, and head into the weekend, remember that God made you— specifically you for your child. And no matter how many times you *think* you’ve blown it. You haven’t. I haven’t. You, we, are perfect. Perfect parents? No. Perfect for our children? Yes. So, bring on the judgment new Mommy’s, I am totally ok with it. I still think you are precious.