Not what I pictured

I’m not the mother I thought I’d be.

I don’t enjoy getting my hands dirty or sticky, so I’m not really interested in fingerpainting or playing with Play-doh and I don’t want to spend all day coloring.

Too much of my thinking is overrun by have-tos. I have to do the laundry, I have to cook dinner, I have to clean up from dinner. When I do sit down and snuggle and get down on the floor with them, I’m never sorry. But the have-tos don’t go away. They loom bigger and bigger and I’m overwhelmed.

I had a romantic notion of what being a mother would be. I thought about the snuggles and the kisses and the children in cute outfits, behaving in church, being polite and pleasant in stores.

I didn’t think of the grubby hands, the crayons on the walls, the sunscreen in the hair, the endless nagging and begging for anything and everything, the junk food crushed on the kitchen floor, the missing pens, and having to hide the scissors. I didn’t think of the graphing calculator that I really need that would suddenly go missing because of a curious four-year-old — and my husband WARNED me that she’d disappear with it but I didn’t listen… I didn’t think of the vegetables that will rot in the fridge because suddenly no one will eat green things except for me. I didn’t think of the flooded laundry room and the stained carpet and the piles and piles of nasty laundry. I didn’t think of the fights about what to wear to school, about what to watch on television, about brushing hair. I didn’t think of frantic searches for one missing ballet slipper or the banning of all things fruit juice after several times too many of mopping the kitchen floor. I didn’t think of a lot of things.

Before I had kids, I had this idyllic picture in my head about what kind of a parent I would be: always attentive, always loving, always calm, always caught up with the mundane parts of life so that I could treasure every second with my children. After all, I could juggle a full-time job and a house and a theatre rehearsal schedule with ease — how much harder could it be? And I judged people who weren’t the kind of perfect parent that I would be.

I feel like I need to apologize to a whole lot of people.

5 thoughts on “Not what I pictured”

  1. (((hugs)))

    It happens. “The grass is always greener” and whatnot. I feel the EXACT same way you do, and my journey hasn’t even begun. Even worse, I figured that because I had a stepchild that I WAS already a mother. It’s not the same. AT. ALL.

    But you have two very lovely girls, so you’ve done a lot right.

  2. Oh, Elaine. I will be right behind you in line. I feel especially overwhelmed with a boy now. He is “all boy” and I thought people just did not know how to parent when they’d say – “Boys are different, wait and see” or “She’s acting like this because she’s tired…”
    Now I know. Forgive me world.
    I wouldn’t trade it for anything though – I know you wouldn’t either.

  3. I’m just about 100% positive that every parent out there feels this way, whether they admit it or not. I was so conceited in my belief that I would be the perfect Mommy. After all, I had been a nanny, studied child development, created pre-school curriculum, taught music to kids, was loved and adored by pretty much every kid that came my way… then my own kids came into the world, and I never felt so ill prepared an incompetent in my entire life! My biggest fault was judging Moms that COULD stay home, but chose to go to work instead. I cannot even tell you how much I would LOVE to have a job right now that would pay me to work, and get me out of the house on a regular basis! Being a stay at home mom is not in my blood.

  4. Yep, we all think one way and it tends to turn out another. A good friend clued me in back before I had kids to NEVER use the phrase “my child will never….” SHe told me to say “I hope my child (never) doesn;t do that. But to never say they never will as then they would

    I think this is a great post and all future Mom’s should read it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *