I am the best bad parent. Because I admit it. I’m currently lounging outside my toddlers bedroom door after putting him down for bed, listening to my 4 year old play xbox downstairs while I’m up here mostly naked, poking around in my phone. What kind of mom would admit that? Me.
I just nursed Atticus until he was sleepy, then lay (lie? laid? layed?) him down. He whined a little, so I posted myself outside his bedroom to make sure he is ok with me not being there. Because I love him, and don’t want to make bedtime hard for him. Trent is downstairs but within clear hearing distance, playing a kid-friendly game (Disney Infinity) for a little bit before bedtime. He’s talking to the characters and also about me. I bet if someone walked in here it would look like I’m pretty lazy… and I sure am, but I’m also a pro at balancing pleasing my kids and giving myself a little post-work break.
I had a conversation with two currently-childless friends recently. They talked about not being sure about their desires to have kids, and I sympathized. I was there once. Then I had some, and I can’t imagine my life without them. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Surprisingly, they both told me I’ve influenced them positively in their consideration. I was baffled… I see myself as a hot mess. I’m always behind at work, I cry a lot, one of my kids is a nervous wreck like me, I spoil my kids, my house is a mess, I’m unhealthy, and I can’t keep up with housework or finances.
But I love my kids. And my friends pointed out to me that priorities are different and don’t make you a bad person, and that enjoying my kids and being myself makes me a good parent.
My house might be messy, but it’s filled with memories of good times, my lovable husband, kids and dogs, and the things we all enjoy together. I might have crap all over the place, but I’m too busy making memories with my kids to notice most of the time. I would love a clean house, but I would be really sorry if I missed a good photo opportunity of my kids because I took too long cleaning the background behind them first.
I might sit around lazily on my couch sometimes between work and bedtime, but I’d be a nutcase if I didn’t do it a little. For example, today after work I played with my kids in the children’s area at the library. Afterwards we went to Starbucks for some refreshments (for them too, I promise) and I surprised Trent by letting him pick out a new Disney Infinity character. When we got home I took care of some things, then put Atticus to bed, and am currently taking a quick break before heading down to interact with Trent. I feel guilty that I’m not always 100% present, but what parent is? My time with him in just a few minutes is going to be quality, like my nursing and cuddling time was with Atticus. I refuse to let me desire to have some alone time make me impatient or short with my kids. So I’ll help myself to both alone time and quality kid time.
I once read a blog post about two words the writer said they would never again say to their kids. “Hurry up.” It talked about how kids stop and enjoy the little things, and maybe we shouldn’t be in such a rush through our lives all the time; maybe we can take a cue from children. When I’m running late for work sometimes and trying to get the kids to daycare before I head in for a busy day, I’ve found myself telling Trent “hurry up, I don’t have all morning,” while urging him into his car seat. But I try to take a step back. He pokes along the stepping stones in the yard, pointing out interesting rocks or squatting to pick a a dandelion for me. Instead of hurrying him along I try to chill. It means I’m late to work (all the time, really a lot), but I love the little extra moments we have, and he’s teaching me to be more patient. Just the other day he picked a white, fluffy dandelion. I told him to make a wish and blow the feathery seeds away. He thought for a second and said “I wish I had one thousand mommies.” At first I was a little sad at the potential competition, and I asked him after the seeds had scattered if he wanted lots of different mommies. He said no, lots of me. It’s awesome to know how much he loves me, and hopefully it means I’m doing something right.
To know that I’ve made some people more strongly consider having kids is one of the most flattering things I’ve ever heard.
Now, excuse me, but I have some Disney Infinity to play with my son.