I’m about to get real.
Well, I think I’m always real…but realer.
Wait, that’s not a word. More real.
I have two kids. 18 and almost 14.
I became a mom at 21. At that moment being a mom became the most important thing I would ever do.
My husband and I had to build a relationship while being parents. It wasn’t easy. But love, commitment and hard work prevailed.
I didn’t always put him first. The kids most often came first. My logic was that he could take care of himself. At least he should be able to. He was a grown man after all.
I grew up in a female dominated household. Where the women ruled the roost.
He grew up in a male dominated household where the one female (mom) was outvoted and overruled.
When I first met her, I felt bad for her. Like why the bleep would she put up with that?
Then I grew wise in my “old” age and I learned that we make our relationships work for us. And they are happy and love each other too. I mean you don’t make it 40+ years without all that love. It wasn’t better or worse. Just different.
I eventually came to realize that working on our relationship was a priority. After all, our kids will grow up and take care of themselves one day and we will be left staring at one another wondering what in the heck to do.
I try to put him first more often (but I’m still a work in progress). And I’m learning to put myself first once in while too.
But back to the story. My kids needed me. And I had a long uphill battle to be the “perfect” mom. Most days I felt like I was royally screwing up. But I love them deeply. And went with my gut on every tough parenting moment from potty training and no you can’t say the f-word to simply teaching them how to be good humans. We did our best navigating the muddy waters and trying to balance the joy, sadness, laughter, meltdowns, friendships, homework, and everything else in between.
On top of that the poor kids have a mom who is a teacher. They’ve always come to school with me. They’ve always heard the teacher talk. There have only been two years in my 14 year career where my kids (at least one of them) wasn’t attending school where their mom was teaching.
On top of them just being there with me, my daughter had me for her math teacher for part of 5th grade. And I was my son’s 6th grade science teacher.
As I stand on the precipice of this era of my life, I’m inclined to pause and reflect.
At the end of this school year, my daughter graduates high school and my son will leave middle school behind.
In the fall, our daughter will move out of our home and into a dorm to begin her college experience. Our son will take his first steps into high school and begin the final leg of his K-12 journey.
And no longer will I have my kids at school with me. Never again. Those days are nearing their end faster than I am prepared.
That’s a lot to bear for a mom who has literally devoted the last 18 and a half years to being a mom.
I’m so proud of them. They are good humans. They are intelligent and talented. They are both wise asses with a great sense of humor. It’s this character trait that brings me the relief that they will be okay out in that lovely, yet sometimes harsh world. They are both stubborn and determined and oh so very opinionated. And they are kind.
So that brings me to my point. My expectation of being the “perfect” mom has been exhausting.
Did I help them enough? Did I let them fail enough? Did I build their confidence, yet teach them to be humble enough?
Two significant moments occurred this week that spawned the long rambles of this post.
One. My daughter said this about me on Facebook:
“This is my mom. This woman inspires me in so many ways. She’s hard-working, caring, adventurous, and a leader. She has a passion for science and teaching young minds. And her love for knowledge and learning new things is so inspiring. The things she does everyday in and out of the classroom are incredible.
You’ve shown me how to be a strong, independent woman and how to take on this world by storm. You also show me how to love and put others first. But most importantly, you taught me to always be myself and to be confident in what I do. I couldn’t have a better role model to look up to. Thank you for always supporting me and being by my side while still being the coolest, most amazing woman ever. I love you!❤️ #internationalWomensDay”
I cried. How in the world do I deserve this? I messed up a lot. And made countless mistakes. But my husband and I must have done something right. This beautiful post came from our girl. The one we raised. My cup runneth over.
Two. My son had a major school project to complete. And we worked on it together. Several people have teased, “How long did it take before your mom just shoved you out of the way and took over”.
Okay, so I get that his papers are cut perfectly straight and glued on in perfect organization. And that’s not a typical 8th grade boy trait. But that boy worked hard on all the pictures and captions way before I ever got involved. Oh, I may have edited the heck out of his grammar before he printed them. Okay wait, he printed them and as I was cutting them, I found countless typos. So we fixed them and I made him reprint them.
Hey, I’m an honest soul.
But he was the determined one to glue his backgrounds on straight (no I didn’t threaten him). They did inherit some of my OCD. And then yes, I layed them all out. Because my type A personality could not handle crooked edges.
I look at it this way. We worked side by side sharing the work. It was fun bonding. And maybe I did more than my share. But we worked together. TOGETHER.
Maybe I should have let him work on his own. I don’t think he would have failed, but maybe the papers would have been less straight. Okay they definitely would have been less straight.
And maybe I did helicopter my way down to the dollar store during my planning to buy a table cover because the kid forgot that detail until 6:30 am on the day of presentations. I rescued him.
I’ve rescued my kids a lot. I hope that rather than teach them that mom will always fix their problems, that I’ve taught them to help people when they need it.
Only time will tell.
And I shall continue this parenting adventure using my instincts to guide me.
And I will forever be thankful for my husband.
He’s really good at talking me off the ledge and telling me when I’m overdoing it or stressing about the wrong things. He’s my balance.
We make a good team.