If I was a better mother

If I was a better mother, I’d read every book before my daughter does so I’d know if it was appropriate.
If I was a better mother I’d drink less wine, eat less chocolate.
If I was a better mother, I’d eat less. 
(But not in a disordered way. Just in a way that is a good role model.)
If I was a better mother, I’d cook better meals that my children would eat without complaint.
If I was a better mother, my children would love school and do their homework without complaint.
If I was a better mother, there’d be fewer complaints.

If I was a better mother, I wouldn’t be tired. My children would give me energy.
If I was a better mother, I would never find my children draining.
If I was a better mother, I’d want to spend all my time with my children.
If I was a better mother, my kids would not spend so much time on screens.
(When they are on screens they leave me alone.)
If I was a better mother, I wouldn’t feel the need to be alone.

If I was a better mother, the kitchen would be clean right now.
(The kitchen is not clean right now.)
If I was a better mother, my children would never be sullen.
If I was a better mother, my children would be smart, helpful and cheerful.
If I was a better mother, they’d be perfect because I’d be perfect and everything would be perfect.

If I was a better mother, I’d do everything my mother did well and be better at the things she didn’t do well.
(Mom: You did everything well. You were perfect. Also: I’m sorry.)
(Mom: You weren’t perfect, but I love you anyway. Also: I’m sorry.)
(If I were a better daughter I’d call you more often, but that’s another poem.)

If I was a better mother …
It’s like a lyric in the most annoying earworm.
If I was a better mother, If I was a better mother, If I was a better mother, If I was a better mother … 

If I was a better mother, I wouldn’t be … the mother I am.

The mother I am is tired.
The mother I am is sometimes annoyed.
The mother I am wishes everyone would stop asking me for things.
All. The. Things.
The mother I am loves her children very, very much.
The mother I am …
The mother I am hopes that’s enough. 

Savor the small moments

The small moments are the big moments. Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

One of my favorite books 2018 was How to Be a Happier Parent by KJ Dell’Antonia. One reason I loved it so much was her gentle reminder that, for most of us, the stress and strain we are feeling are part of a life we chose. Her advice is to stop what you are doing from time to time to notice a moment — and ordinary, not-perfect-but-good-enough moment — and remind yourself “Oh yeah, this is it. This is what it’s all about.”

It can be a random Sunday night — sitting at the dining room table, reading the paper, listening to your daughter work out math problems with your husband, helping your son wipe up the juice he spilled on the table. Yup, this is it. It’s not even close to perfect, but it’s pretty darned good.

My 8-year-old is smarter than I am.

Children’s Place may be the seventh circle of Hell. I’m sure had Dante ever gone he’d have written it into The Inferno.

Going there with either kid is painful. Going with both is … much, much more painful.

Me, to Sam: “How about this shirt?”

Sam: “Does it glow in the dark?”

Me: “Yes.” {Okay, I’m lying. I’m totally lying. It’s a shirt he will wear IN THE DAYTIME. Who cares if it glows it  the dark? He’ll never know the truth.}

Sam: “Where’s the sticker?” {Ah! Outsmarted by an 8-year-old. He knows the glow in the dark clothes have stickers on them. He’s clearly smarter than I am.}