I’m not the perfect mom. I’m far from it and in fact, but I’ll agree to “The World’s Okayest Mom”. As I thought about Mother’s Day, it made me reflect on the mom in my life and being a mom.
Once upon a time, I was a kid. I lived with my divorced Dad who was the king of my world, and two siblings. The siblings didn’t do much for me back then but they have grown on me as I matured. HA! Anyway, the king of my world decided to bring this woman into our lives. Her name is Jan.
Jan is fabulous and a bunch of fun. She brought a brightness to our world that we hadn’t had in quite a while. Most of all… she made my Dad pretty damn happy.
Jan never had an issue with stepping up and helping out. She did the wifely duties and while she was there for us, she stayed off to the side and let my dad do the parenting thing. I can honestly say that I viewed her as my father’s wife and as my stepmom. Being so young, I never quite appreciated the role she took on. But as I got older and had kids of my own, my view changed.
I realized that this woman entered into a family of four, ready to give it her all. She was now a wife and a stepmom to three kids. She worked, cooked, cleaned, drove us around and she laughed with us and cheered us on as we grew up. Jan and my dad were partners and they tackled everything together. As for us kids, Jan always listened to us and I’m sure there were MANY times she disagreed with us, but she just let us be us.
It took me quite a long time to call her mom. It was something I was quite cautious about doing. Why? I don’t know but I did finally realize that Jan didn’t have to be blood to be called mom. She did the work that my biological mother wasn’t able to do and I’m grateful. And she did one thing quite well… She loved us. And she’s damn good at it.
I love you Jannie. Thank you for showing me how to be a mom. Thank you for allowing me to grow and be who I thought I needed to be. And thank you for loving me through all the good times, but especially the bad.
The Cool Mom
When I became a mother, I decided I would be the cool mom. And please, don’t even think I’m not because I am and I just can’t help how fabulous I am at it.
I’m that mom that threw themed birthday parties and invited the entire class. Martha Stewart had nothing on me. I put my whole heart into birthdays and always wanted the wow factor for my kids as I wanted them to love every moment and to know that I loved celebrating them. There could be thirty kids running around our yard and I loved that my girls were surrounded by friends.
I’m also that mom that goes to every single event that her kids have. Yes, even the two-hour long choral and band concerts, sitting on metal chairs and looking at the program like I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next, even though I was just counting how many more songs I had to sit through. I’m also the one sitting in the audience mouthing the words to the songs that I listened to them practice for hours. My girls had to learn not to look at me or they would start laughing in the middle of their performance.
Sporting events? I cheer them on from the side and yes, I do a tiny bit of sideline coaching. I try not to, but I can’t help it. When I watch my petite Grace running down the field with the soccer ball, I yell for her to run through that brick wall coming up. When I see Noelle starting to get pissed off by what’s going down on the basketball court, I make eye contact with her so she can refocus. That pisses her off more but it also fuels her drive. Then there are times that they do get hurt.
When I see their body take a hit and they go down, I stand there watching. Not wanting to rush the field even though I feel horribly sick to my stomach. Noelle laid on a soccer field for almost an hour one season as it rained. We waited for the ambulance to show up and it was the most helpless feeling in the world. I received a call that Grace was hit so hard during a soccer game that she spun in the air and landed. They had to carry her off the field and remembered none of it. Grace was over an hour away and I felt momentarily paralyzed. That’s the crappy part of being a parent.
Watching your children go through something that you can’t help, or guide, or fix is one of the worst things. I want to wrap them in bubble wrap and protect them. But that’s not living is it? I want to smack the kids that make comments to them about weight or stupid stuff like that. But that’s something they have to navigate and learn to address.
By the way, I’m the mom that sings at the top of her lungs in the car to embarrass the shit out of her kids as we pull up to school. Yes… I know that’s not cool but it’s part of the parent contract I signed. Well… that’s what I tell them.
You know what else that I think makes me cool? My kids tell me everything. Yup… everything.
There have been conversations that make me want to vomit, scream, or crawl out of my skin, but they happen. It’s important to me that my kids know that I’m completely available for them. That no subject is off limits and I will NEVER be disappointed in them, no matter the choices they make. We may have heavy conversations about something, but I tell them that ultimately, this is their path and to just think about things.
Another big thing that makes me feel like I’m a cool mom? When my girls have friends over and they love to chat with me.
Sitting and talking with those girls, sometimes guys, about what’s going on in their lives is one of the coolest things. The fact that they want to share with me, get feedback and chill for a few moments somehow make me feel that I’m doing something right.
There are days that I get messages from my “second kids” saying “Hi!” or asking for a bit of advice on a bad day. Sometimes they even just check in on me to see how I’m doing. I love them to pieces.
Jocelyn, Bri, Mackenzie, and Phil, your messages and hugs mean so much to me. Jenna, your smile and hugs when you come to stay with us, warms me through and through. Phoenix, your messages asking if I’m feeling okay really brightens my day. Thank you for touching our lives.
The Defining Moment
I have often had moments of “Am I a good mom?” or “Am I doing enough for my kids?” My answer has always been yes. But I will admit it takes me a bit to come to that answer on some days.
Never have I made a move in my life, since becoming a mom, without considering my kids. Not once. Before making major decisions, I always think about my kids and how it might affect them.
My love for my kids is hard to describe. Why? Because I can love them in the easiest moments, but I love them harder in the most difficult moments. I push them outside of their comfort zone so that they can grow and I want them to always remember to dream.
There are days my kids aren’t too happy with me. I remember the first time Noelle looked at me and said: “I hate you!” I looked at her and said “Good! That means I’m doing my job!” Inside I died a bit, but I had to remember they were just angry words from a very young daughter. I know there are days I’m not too cool, or popular with them and I always hope that they will look back one day and totally understand it.
Parenting isn’t easy. Being a single mom, raising three teenage girls is challenging. But I would change NOTHING. Not one single thing. At the end of the day, my girls and their love, is what makes it all worthwhile.
To My Girls
When you finally become a mother, and please, let’s hold off on this for at least 7 years or so. Enjoy the journey.
I want you to take each and every single moment and savor it. Time goes quickly and soon that screaming baby in front of you is flinging food all over the floor. Then that toddler is making mad dashes around the house after they ripped all of their clothing off. And suddenly it’s the first day of school. Before you know it, that little person is graduating.
Remember to be gentle with yourself through the journey. It’s not an easy one.
There are days you will want to run away and lock yourself in a closet for peace. Sometimes you will feel guilty for enjoying time alone. It’s normal. Take your time to gather yourself.
And listen to me really well on this. When your kid does something and you want to strangle them, stop. Just stop and take a deep breath. Remember to have the patience and calmness to get through the situation. And really remember that you made bad choices too. Because believe me, we all have those moments of poor decisions.
But the biggest thing Haley, Noelle and Grace is to love. Love that little human with all of your being. Never let a day go by without saying you love them. You never want them to doubt it for a moment. Just like I hope you three never doubt it for a moment.
You are my loves, you are my heart. You make me the happiest, proudest, and funniest mom I could have ever hoped to be.