The Participation Medal (Motherhood Edition)

Hello, my name is Erin, and I’m a pretty good mom.

Not like the gold standard, probably, but definitely more good than bad. I try, at least. I’m never not trying.

My kids are typically clean, fed, and reasonably well behaved (the older one, at least). I volunteer at their schools, help the older one with her homework, and drive them both to a plethora of dance and sports classes, which I watch with genuine enthusiasm. I raise my voice more often than I’d like, but not so much that they’re going to need therapy to get over their childhoods. They’ve never been neglected or hit, and they receive constant love, boundaries and affection.

I don’t feed them organic produce that I grew in my own garden, but they get fresh fruit and veggies every day. At least, I put fresh fruit and veggies in front of them, and it USUALLY gets eaten. Close enough.

They also eat a lot of Timbits. I don’t NOT help them finish the box. I mean, I paid for them.

We have a decent bedtime routine, and they get baths every couple of days, and I usually remember to trim their nails before they develop full-on claws. Except sometimes I forget about the nails until the younger one gets mad enough to stab me with his toddler-claws, and then I remember, and trim them. So, you know, it gets done.

I don’t know what essential oils are, or why they’re a big deal, and I don’t care. My kids seem unaffected by this, to date. Oh, and they’re vaccinated. Like, to the max.

My kids wear a lot of hand-me-downs, and I’m not ashamed. Because they look great, and free clothes are fucking awesome. HAND-ME-DOWNS 4-EVA.

They also sometimes wear unnecessary, overpriced shoes that are 97% glitter because that’s also awesome, and I am teaching them that #TREATYOSELF is an acceptable reason to buy pretty, shiny things, in moderation.

I answer ten thousand questions a day. Literally ten thousand. Every single day. About where the wind stops, what colours mix to make purple, where electricity comes from, why vegetables are plants, what plastic is, what happens to dead bodies, what does nocturnal mean, how old the cat is, what animal bacon was, and why they can’t have more Timbits. I put genuine effort into my answers.

In the afternoon, I put on cartoons and sit down and read the news on my phone, and check Facebook, and answer emails, and text my friends. While TV rots their brains, I do this. Like a jerk.

I bake with them and do (super basic, not at all Pinterest-worthy) crafts, and even play with play-dough. I hate play-dough. It smells gross and feels weird. But I do it anyway.

I happily read stories and sing songs and play board games for hours, but I zone out when they want to play house or hide and seek or whatever elaborate imaginary-play thing they’re into at the moment. And then I feel horribly guilty, of course, because it seems like it should be so natural – pretending to be the doctor or the teacher or whatever they’ve assigned me – but I suck at it. I get distracted and bored, and then feel like a shitty mom, because who gets bored playing with their adorable, amazing children? But I’d rather watch them play house than be the pretend-mom in their game. I have real-mom shit to deal with. All the time.

My husband is really good at imaginary play.

I keep trying, and judging myself, and wondering if it’s ever enough. Do they need more attention? More freedom? More discipline? Less Timbits?

My kids are heartbreakingly beautiful. They’re incredible. I love them so much my heart could explode.

The older one is a bright, loving, funny, sweet child who occasionally gets weird and baby-talks in public because she’s very shy. Last week, someone asked her a question and she panicked, licked my hand, and then laughed.

The younger one is an incredibly smart, outgoing, hilarious, emotionally intense child who is prone to angry outbursts and sometimes, hitting people. He could rule the world or end up in jail. I’m hoping it’s not the latter.

Both of them are going to grow up to be incredible, though very different, adults.

I’ve heard that if you consistently wonder if you’re a good enough mom, you probably are, because you care.

I like that a lot, because by this theory, I am awesome.

Or at least pretty good.

 

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