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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

Why It's Okay To Be A Mom With The Best Of Intentions

Jenifer DeMattia

Every evening I close my eyes and I meditate. I unwind from the craziness of the day and I simply think positive thoughts about how the next day will go. I will wake up before everyone else. Sip coffee as I write or read something inspirational about how women are all-stars or how amazing it is to be a mother. And then my sweethearts will wake up, “Good morning mommy”. And then we will all eat breakfast together, and laugh as we imitate our favorite animals.

I will be a fun mom, I will eat well, my kids will eat well. They will laugh a lot, we will do a craft, and in between I will get some laundry done. Yes, by the end of tomorrow I will feel accomplished and healthy. Powerful and in control like the all-star that I am. Happy children, errands complete, a somewhat clean house, and a belly full of veggie smoothies.

Set your intentions. You will be a success. Envision you are amazing and amazing you will be. Guided imagery will unlock your mind to unleash the awesomeness inside.

So as I awoke this morning to my 5-year-old spreading my eyes open with his boogey fingers, I saw the sun poking through my blinds, reminding me to seize the day. I could hear the 2-year-old screaming my name, then screaming for milk, then my name again. The older one makes demands for chocolate milk, but I remind myself I am an all-star, put a smile on. “You got this girl”.  I request snuggles from my son before I get his brother. “Oh my God, what’s that smell?” I open my crusty eyes wider to the sight of an Ironman pull-up filled with piss that he took off and placed next to my head.

Breathe.

At breakfast, they both have decided they won’t eat, and the small one flails like a rabid beast as he attempts to rip the straps off of his high chair. I realize quickly there will be no imitating animals. They are animals. And I’m like one of those idiots who think she can live in the wild with the lions. They build sanctuaries for them and you see video of her playing with the lion and think, “that is so beautiful”, until out of nowhere the lion snaps and rips her to shreds. Ok, so it’s a rough start to the day.

I walk in the bathroom to discover that because my son ran out of toilet paper, and decided not to ask for more, he made the best of his situation and used the cardboard toilet paper roll to wipe his butt. And then displayed it like a tower on the back of the toilet seat. I guess we’ll consider that the craft for the day.

The park was fun until the 5-year-old tripped and got dirt all over his pants. He practically bathes in dirt all day long, but on this particular day, the small dirt stain on his pants inspired an epic meltdown, which led to his theatrical debut, where he put on a show so outrageous the crowd couldn’t keep their eyes off him. And his little brother kicked and spewed out gibberish, what I can only assume was a toddler version of cussing me out as I dragged him to the car. The smoothie I prepared at lunch was declared  “disgusting” by the oldest, and gave the little one the shits.

Make more coffee.

The laundry pile I had somehow managed to assemble was dissembled in the blink of an eye by the little one as I was in the bathroom attempting to once again tell his brother that a penis is not a toy, a battle I surely will never win. He eagerly tries to explain he was only putting the fire out. Funny, I was feeling a little steamed. I am convinced they are plotting against me. One distractions while the other one scrambles to destroy something random.

Today it was the plunger. It was my fault for leaving it out. You see, I was teaching my son yet again how to wipe properly so that it doesn’t look like a truck was leaving skid marks in his underwear by the end of the day. Of course he thought that sounded awesome. So the next time he used the toilet he utilized the entire roll of toilet paper to ensure cleanliness. Then he flushed and I can’t even imagine the excitement he felt when he saw the “eruption”, as he called it. Hence the plunger being used, left out, only to be discovered by him and then use as a hat for his younger brother.

During an impromptu bath time I guide myself through imagery to a kid-less beach. As lightening McQueen hits me in the face I snap out of it. For the rest of the afternoon we play and finally they settle and watch an evening cartoon while I prepare an elaborate dinner that I might as well have fed to the floor. And during story time the oldest tells me if he doesn’t get some food he will  “starve to death”. Wow. Just before turning the lights out I realized I had forgotten to brush their teeth. I determined I was willing to risk a trip to the dentist. My son asks for a kiss, but of course the jokes on me. He licked my face instead.

Lights out.

I turn the corner to my room and lay on the bed. Why are my intentions so good and then some days just turn into crap. Literally, thanks to my veggie smoothies, and figuratively. After some serious reflection I realize I do not meditate at night. I am not putting into the universe positive vibes for the next day. The image of me as the perfect mom, with the perfect kids. I am exhausted. It’s not meditating. It’s called dreaming. Maybe I’m not as aware as I thought I was.

But then I think…

My kids did laugh a lot today. And looking back, what took place was pretty damn funny. And I know raising children is hard work, and I did the best I could today. Every day for a child is the opportunity to learn something new, and the same thing holds true for their mom. The funny part is that after I peek in on them sleeping soundly, no doubt having magical dreams of their own, I feel proud of what I’ve done. That within the chaos and the monotony of some days, I did it. And sometimes we have to admit things about ourselves that we don’t want to. My veggie smoothie not only caused the shits, it tasted like shit. I can fold my laundry at night. And I don’t want perfect kids. I think I actually want to be more like them. My boys wake up every morning excited. They are these adorably selfish little creatures who don’t think, “Who can I impress today?” Who can I make happy and meet their expectations? How can I disappoint myself by setting unrealistic expectations then judging myself when everything gets a little crappy? They just want to play. One day my kids will have to worry constantly about pleasing others, doing a good job, meeting everyone’s expectations, all while battling self-doubt. Their teachers, their boss, their peers, and then the whole freaking world. I have been setting my intentions all wrong. My newly instituted meditation practice goes something like this:

“Tomorrow I will start the day just as my children do. I will wake up with the certainty that the new day will be full of adventure, possibilities, and the unknown majesty of what life has to bring. Including the certainty that from time to time, I will no doubt be putting up with other people’s shit”.

You got this girl!