You guys, I have no idea what I’m doing.
It’s crazy, right? As moms, aren’t we supposed to have the nurture and development chip hardwired within us? Shouldn’t I be confident in every decision I make for my children, every form of encouragement, discipline, and caretaking? I have two kids who depend on me to live. To live! I’m not just feeding a pet lizard for a few months. I’m responsible for two children who think and act and behave completely different from me. And I have no freaking clue what I’m doing.
I mean, discipline? I’m not a spanker. I mean, I don’t think I’m a spanker. But sometimes I wonder if I should become one because my three-year-old doesn’t listen to anything I say. So I’ll repeat myself a hundred times until my blood rate spikes and my head is pumping and I want to start throwing things. And my one year old… oh man. When I tell him “no” to a popsicle at 9 in the morning he’ll start hitting me. I mean, literally smacking me in the face. But he’s one year old! He doesn’t understand discipline yet, right? And why am I even asking you this question… I should know these answers because I’m a mom. So do you know what I do? I gently set him down and listen to him scream, while tears well up in my eyes and I toy with the idea of calling my mom. MY mom. SMH.
Self-sufficiency is a real hoot too. My kids are supposed to start learning how to dress themselves and clean up after their own messes. But when I take my kids to the museum with backward shirts and mismatched socks, you would think CPS needed to get involved. “His shirt’s on backward,” says sanctimommy #5 by the time I’ve been at the museum an hour. “Oh! Look at that, Captain Obvious” I mumble to myself. Do you want my kids to be resourceful or look put together, society? Because those are two very different things and I’m getting mixed signals here.
And I know it’s important for my kids to clean up after their messes. But I also want to arrive at an event at a reasonable hour. Just once. Especially if there’s going to be other adults there who talk to me like I’m a person and not a walking snack dispenser. So, yea, sometimes I help with the cleanup process. And sometimes I pretend I forgot the rules altogether and clean something up that would have taken hours and screaming and tears, because I just don’t have the mental energy. I simply cannot do it that day.
This week I got a message from my son’s pre-school teacher. She is concerned with his behavior. My son is three years old, have I already screwed him up so bad that he has behavior issues? I mean, do I suck at this parenting thing THAT BAD? Holy moly, I thought these were the messages I wouldn’t have to worry about until middle school, and now I’m wondering if my gravestone will caption “Mommy fail from the very beginning… Like, three years old.”
But I’m trying, y’all. I really am. I’m reading this book on how to talk so my kids will listen, and it comes with scripts. SCRIPTS… on what to say for each individual circumstance. Is this how we need to be raising kids right? Did I not memorize the scripts early enough? And is that the secret for my mom friends whose kids aren’t getting letters from teachers about their three-year-old’s behavior? Perhaps everyone’s been reading these parenting books and memorizing the verbiage without my knowledge.
I’m a mom with no freaking clue. I thought if I loved my kids unconditionally, everything would just work out. But the nuances of behavior, character, discipline, and development all play these astonishing roles that keep me awake at night pondering the “choose your own adventure game” where every ending seems ill-fated. I’m scared, I’m clueless, and I have nightmares about court rulings with the words “unfit mother” tossed back and forth.
Am I alone here? I look around, I scroll Facebook and everyone else seems to look pretty put together. I see kids with their shirts on correctly, I see moms smiling like they’ve never gotten concerned letters from teachers. I wonder if everyone else is sleeping soundly at night. Is it true? Are you all sleeping well, feeling confident and like you know what you’re doing? And if so, please send me your script. It’s time to start memorizing shit.