Friday, June 9, 2017

Cool Moms

One day, as I was attempting to shop with my two little ones, I passed, in the parking lot, a mom with her little girl. The girl was maybe 18 months to two years old, and she was dressed in a little dress with her hair pulled back into a tidy pony tail with a bow. She had tights on and was wearing two shoes that matched her dress. Her mother was also wearing a dress, but more like office attire, and heels. She was carrying the little girl and walking toward the store front. She was beautiful. Not too much makeup, but the right amount to enhance her lovely features. She was calm and collected. She looked like the coolest mom I had ever seen.

Meanwhile, I was trying to wrangle my children, who were too big for me to carry gracefully, into the car. Strapping them in, ignoring their cries for food and a drink and their complaints that it was too hot and they couldn't find their shoe. They were in whatever clothes I had pulled out of their drawers in a rush. Lucky to have matching socks. I had packed up the trunk, and put the shopping cart back where it belonged, trying to be a decent citizen. I hadn't showered, eaten, and certainly was not wearing makeup. My hair was unbrushed. I hadn't worn heels in at least a year, and my ankles were no longer able to support myself in anything higher than my flip flops.

In the morning the first thing I thought was, "When can I take a nap?" My second thought was: Today I will be kinder. Today I will not yell. Today I will take a shower. Today I will put on lipstick. Today I will have fun with the kids. Fail, fail, fail, fail, fail.

Today I took a shower, I brushed my hair, I put on lipstick, I went to an appointment, I made certificates for my kids, I studied Spanish for an hour, now I'm writing.

My kids are now six and seven. They have an amazing father who is a professor of anthropology and, so, has taken them to field school to see archaeologists work on their first day of summer vacation.

But I still can't wear heels without serious support. I sometimes don't put on makeup. I never look calm and collected when I am out with my children. I am not always kind and I don't have a lot of days where I don't raise my voice. I have accepted that I will never be that cool mom.

I've also let go of some things. My car will be unwashed. My bathroom will not always be straightened. The kids may wear mismatched socks if they wish - and they wish for this every. single. day.

I feel like I fail mothering on a daily basis. But I also finally feel like I am gaining on parenting. I'm not caught up but I think I might win in the end after all. I have made several changes that allow me to have the time I need to myself, time with my husband, and time with the children. Last night I talked to both of them about their day individually. Win. I read Harry Potter to them. Win. They ate fruit. Win. They told me about their day, believing that I was interested, which I was. Win.

I can only do the best I can do. I am not Cool Working Mom. I don't hate Cool Working Mom. I admire her. But I can't be her. At my worst I am Angry Mom or Crazy Mom. But at my best I am Fun Mom. I am Crafty Mom. Most days I am just Mom. And that's a pretty good mom to be.