The Mom Guilt Train
My husband usually has at least one day he works late a week, and my daughter and I have designated those nights our “happy girls night”. Mostly to mask my tiredness and have fun while we both miss daddy. Usually we do something special or fun, but this night we only had books and a minnie mouse movie borrowed from the library to occupy us. I made a healthy dinner of spaghetti squash and marinara sauce I had been saving for happy girls night because my husband claims he is allergic to squash (just like he is allergic to milk without chocolate in it).
Without tasting it, Sweet Lou said she didn’t like it (she had eaten it plenty of times before and loved it). After many persuasive tactics, I convinced her to eat a couple of small bites, knowing we were planning on popcorn and the movie later. Through tears and a near vomit experience, we made it through dinner.
I plugged the air popper in, and after a couple of seconds it caught on fire.
Thank you Lord that I was standing right next to it and unplugged it right away. A little more black smoke billowed out, and then nothing. When I was done being shocked, I did the most responsible thing.
I threw that air popper in the garbage (cooled off), and packed us in the car to get milkshakes and tater tots.
By God’s grace, I am learning to recognize when the mom guilt train starts gaining steam. And steam was starting to billow out like smoke out of an air popper. Last week I managed not only to fail miserably at a healthy meal and perfectly buttered popcorn, I also locked my daughter and I out of the house and walked two miles to get the key (bundled up in a stroller, on a blessedly slightly sunny day, with no threat of frostbite). Oh, and last week she announced at the top of her voice all the way across the pediatrician’s lobby to someone we know “I HAVE A RASH”.
So yeah. You could say the mom guilt train was ready to go. BUT. That day I caught that blasted thing before it even left the station.
I thought about the fact that as a family we have been memorizing catechisms that shape our faith and hearts, and my daughter knows them all better than we do.
I thought of the healthy meals my daughter does eat every day.
I thought of the number of books we read every day, and the deep conversations we have, and the silly adventure we had in the backyard earlier that day trying to swing on the playset in the snow and ice.
Mamas, don’t judge yourself by your lack of perfection, because your kid isn’t. And that’s who you’re doing it for. Dare to see yourself as your child does.
My mom wasn’t a perfect model of motherhood to us growing up, but I’ll be darned if I could give you a list of how. I just know she wasn’t perfect because NOBODY is. But I can tell you my favorite dinners she cooked. I could tell you the fun and silly and hard things we did. I could tell you about conversations that shaped me. I could tell you about the time she carried an owl pellet we found home all the way from the bus stop (1/2 a mile) and dissected it with us and the neighbor kids. Or the way she fought for me when I was desperately sick in the hospital. Or when she slept with me through the night in college when my boyfriend and I broke up.
You have imperfections mama, but you have more. More love, more sacrifice, more greatness.
And someday your kid will remember the milkshakes instead of the spaghetti squash. Or the fact that you put the fire out. Or that you got to listen to Disney stories and walk to grandma's school on a crisp sunny day. They might not even remember the part about the keys being locked inside. Hopefully.