I’m so excited to start a feature on Right Hand Mom called In the Trenches: Stories of Real Right Hand Moms. Sure, there are plenty of my own missteps and foibles to share here. Lord knows I screw up enough to fill ten blogs! But, I thought it would be great fun to hear from some of the other fantastic moms I know around these interwebs. I can assure you, I am the parent that I am today because I learn every day from the village that surrounds me. So, take from these posts what you will-a tip, a lesson or just a reassurance that we’re all flawed and crazy no matter (or maybe because of) how hard we try.
Our first Guest Poster is one of my favorite people on earth. When you dream of a friend, you are dreaming of this girl. Loyal to the end, laugh out loud hilarious and someone who accepts you for all that you are-good, bad and ugly. The only flaw this One Sided Momma may have is that she is totally unaware of her awesomeness. Enjoy her as much as I do!
I’m a capable woman who drives long distances by myself, sticks to budgets, and shops at the Dollar Tree for toiletries. I make dinner magically appear with chicken breasts, spaghetti sauce, and Adele on in the background, just like the next girl. I navigate the vet’s office with a sick dog, a healthy one along “for company,” and two children jumping rope with their leashes. I can even fake a smiley text update to my husband who is on travel in sunny San Diego all week.
I can do all of these things, but one place I cannot rise above is cursing around my children.
Every single night I promise myself not to throw around the A word, the D word, and mercy forbid the unforgivable F word the next day. But morning arrives and I am unchanged. Exhausta-Mom surfaces from the bedsheets and begins to lope though the relentless Marathon of Mommy Trials all over again. Same issues, different day to lose my mind over melted crayons on the console.
Where is my empirical knowledge? Why weren’t these issues sorted and solved yesterday? You’d think they would be. You’d think I’d ace this exam the bazillionth time around, but no. Abby still uses her G flat shriek to get her way. Grayson still crams his jammies behind the bathroom door. Andy still looks forward to family dinner when he gets home even though we really do prefer Raisin Bran and vitamins when he’s gone. These problems don’t vanish in the night.
In fact, quite the opposite happens.
The problems gremlin out. They rest, grow and multiply in cellular makeup to become stronger, faster, and more deft than ever before. They outsmart me before I even get out of bed in the morning. They meet me at O’Dark Thirty with morning breath, Pop Tart demands, and Doc McStuffins requests – the mermaid number, on repeat, until I dream of stuffed walruses with the chicken pox.
Eventually, I throw back my covers, open the blinds to see what kind of clothes need to be wrangled on Abigail, who will end up wearing a fairy costume anyway. With lots of pretty lipstick.
The first inflammatory remark comes whilst stepping in dog puke on the carpet, next to a clean pile of laundry folded just last night. “Shii….”
“Mommy! The Mommy Jar, you have to put a quarter in the Mommy Jar!”
“Oh HELL no. What is this shii…”
“Mommmmyyyy, that is TWO bad words! Two monies! Clean your potty mouth.”
I’ve tried all the tricks: Counting to ten (Mississippi Ten!), leaving the room for a mommy time-out, throwing in some earplugs and so on but nothing seems to cure me. I’m a bona fide cusser.
My kids are right, I do need to clean my potty mouth but how when it’s all I have left? Wine is getting expensive. Therapy is so time consuming. Yoga is in a studio where nary a babysitter does roam. Cussing is like a sweet salve to my charred soul; numbing the barbs of selflessness and altruism by the syllable.
What kind of example am I setting for my little ones if they hear mommy cursing like an irreverent basement dweller? Parents should be instilling patience and self-respect, not G-dammits when they burn the rice.
So yes, I am going to clean up my act. This marathon will end. My children will eventually move out of my grille and into their own lives of dance recitals and soccer class. The problems pressed on pause right now will fast forward to new real-life issues that make me long for spilled sippy cup milk on my night stand.
I understand this intellectually and yet that Mommy Jar is filling up faster than I care to admit.
At least my verbal transgressions are awarding them new toys. I’m sure that’s exactly the message a responsible parent should be sending.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.