Friday, April 17, 2009

Perfect imperfections.

Several years ago, I was at a family gathering on a hot summer day. I had been sitting on a porch railing, laughing and talking with my Aunt. When I jumped down from my perch, I landed with a slight "OOF!" and noticing that my jean shorts were just a wee bit too short and a wee bit too snug around my middle, I pulled at them uncomfortably, trying to stretch them back into position.

"Did something shrink in the dryer?" she asked with a smile and a wink.

I smiled back. "No, just gained a few pounds, that's all."

"I was just trying to give you an --"

I cut her off. "I know, I know." I smiled and walked away.

I don't sugarcoat things. I tell it like it is.

I don't see any reason to apologize for things that nearly everybody does.

This includes admitting that I'm not a perfect parent.

I sometimes lose my patience when really maybe I should be noticing just how smart my kids are in their quest to ask eleventy-two questions about an ambulance (that passed 10 minutes ago), and that, yes, they're right -- its siren sounds JUST LIKE a car alarm. I just wish they didn't feel the need to provide just so many examples of that siren.

If they're wearing sweats and a t-shirt for the day, I sometimes happily suggest that they're already in "cozies" and maybe they just might want to sleep in those clothes, too.

Some Saturday mornings I hype the kids up about from-the-can cinnamon rolls while I make them and that's all I serve for breakfast. Its good for you cuz I baked it, dammit.

Other nights we have PB&J for dinner. And I don't apologize for it.

Oprah dedicated an entire show a week or so ago (the "Dooce" episode) to the embracing the real truths of motherhood. Moms from across the country admitted to all sorts of things, from peeing in a diaper while on a long road trip (I so would have blogged that) to the amount of time it took them to love their babies after they were born.

I know this it may not come so easily to everyone, but why are we so afraid to admit these things?

NO ONE is perfect.

NO ONE has all the answers.

Why can't we just laugh about our downfalls along the way?

Cuz you know what? When my kids are making irritating noises in the backseat, I know that I can "out-siren" them both. It makes them stop dead in their tracks and giggle.

I have just a wee bit less laundry some days -- it makes up for the days they insist on taking pair after pair of socks off their feet and stuffing them God knows where (probably so that they can be "found" later while playing Dirty Jobs), but, eh...whatever. The laundry will never be caught up anyhow.

I can tell by the way they fight over who gets to stand on the kitchen stool that making those sweet rolls with Momma is pretty much the highlight of their week. (Whoever doesn't get the stool gets to sit directly in front of the stove and watch them cook. I am a genius, no?)

And if you give them raisins (which you've somehow convinced them are really candy and that they only get if they're really really good) and milk with PB&J, then dude, you hit like all the food groups and you didn't have to cook a damn thing.

I sometimes sit and think about all the ways my parents screwed up as I was growing up -- some of them were pretty darn major ways, in fact -- and I still turned out to be a fully functioning member of society. I own a home, I have a job, I'm pretty darn near well balanced. (Most days.)

The minor gaffs from day to day will most likely go unnoticed.

There's no way you'll really know until they're fully grown, of course, but I'm sure your kids will notice your attitude along the way.

goggle boy
Some days you've just got to let them dress themselves.

Now - come clean. What did YOU do this week that may not have been perfect?

I promise to only laugh out of love.

Go over to Carrie's place for more wicked awesome photos with a story behind them!


cat said...

I just found you at Candid Carries and will return - I loved this post. You might enjoy a post I have scheduled in about 6 hours time - about our post baby bodies. Very very honest, tell it like it is. Greetings from South Africa.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Love this post. You are so right about no one wanting to admit they are not perfect moms. What did I do this week? I hid the mess when my mom came over to babysit and prayed she didn't open our bedroom door. I fed the kids PB & J twice for dinner. I let the kids belly flop onto the couch because they were having a blast and leaving me alone for several minutes. The list could go on and on.

Kim said...

geez.. it is more what I do that is correct in the parenting world..ha.

I also do the .. oh you can sleep in those clothes trick.. so much easier sometimes.. ha

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Here's what I did...

For all my blogging about how OK I am with the fact that my 18-month-old daughter refuses to walk, when my college roommate planned to come to town, I decided not to bring my daughter to our visit. You know why? Because my friend's daughter is several months younger and walking...and I was embarassed.

I'm so ashamed to even admit that - it's wrong on so many levels. Because my daughter is smart, funny, sweet, beautiful and oh yeah, a miracle in the first place! Who the heck cares is she doesn't walk yet?!

I did. And I'm sorry.

And you're so right - we're not perfect, so let's not pretend we are. Good post, Colleen.

LceeL said...

Actually, I got into a heated discussion, last night, with #1 Son about certain physical properties of the universe and how I think they're interpreted wrongly by the scientific establishment. And it turned into one of those oneupmanship contests that young men enjoy so much. And old men, too, apparently.

Karen said...

Wonderful post...

Looking at it now, from the perspective of having grown up children, I have to laugh back to the days, when one of kids would say that they would do it differently, when they were a parent...

Now I see them doing the same things that I did :-)

I think they noticed :-)

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

When I was 14 I taught myself how to whistle VERY loudly. You know, the fingers in the mouth whistle? So now when the kids aren't listening and I don't feel like yelling I whistle. Yes, it hurts my ears but it sure gets their attention!

PB&J for dinner: check.
Sleep in "comfies": check.
Watch TV more than an hour a day: check.

And the list goes on....

Anonymous said...

O sweet gawd, where do you want me to start? I have been in serious need of a parental intervention lately.

Marni's Organized Mess said...

I'm the same way. ;-)

Penny said...

I am totally in love with this entry! I do not know where to begin. Oh how about with the fact that it's 1PM & my 15 yr old daughter is still sleeping. My husband would be complaining that she is still sleeping, but he's at work. It's quiet & I am enjoying every minute of it while I can! :D

Denise said...

This week I let my kids wear their pajamas all day on Monday, I ate 1/2 of their Easter candy on Tuesday, I bribed my daughter w/ a new movie to get her pictures taken at school on Wednesday, I forgot to even give them breakfast on Thursday, and today I listened to my son scream in his crib for 1/2 hour because, darn it, he NEEDS to take a nap! (or is it that I needed him to take a nap? ... eh, same thing)

Linda said...

...and not perfect grandparents, too!
Last Sunday being Easter and all-and even knowing that the grands had bellies full of candy when they arrived, I let them eat as much candy as they wanted out of the baskets I had for them. When Ella announced that she hadn't had "any n & m's, I let her have those too. And then ice cream...(sshhh)We made sure they brushed their teeth before we took them home....

Rachel said...


and i love you.

Mama Smurf said...

Oh man I love this post. I've missed you!

I saw that Oprah episode and have the book "I'd Trade My Husband In For A Housekeeper" on my book store wish list...It's not available on my Kindle.

I really struggle with this topic because, like you, I recognize my imperfections and do not appologize for them. I live in an extremely pretentious neighborhood full of Stepford wives...they talk about each other so I'm SURE they talk about me.

But the funny thing is? The most "perfect" of them all? I called her house just a couple days ago and her daughter answered the phone...her daughter put the phone down and went to get her mom and while the phone was down and before the mom knew I was on the phone she was totally yelling at and berating her daughter in the background for not speaking loud enough.

Moral of the story? Even the "perfect" ones aren't perfect. They just pretend to be and judge other parents to boost their own ego.



Karen MEG said...

Well, I gave my kid too much yogurt and cheese, and no fruit, vegetables or fibre whatsoever... uh, do the math.

Fun, wow :)!

A Mom Anonymous said...

I recently found your blog and want to say Thanks! for this post! Oh I have so many I can't admit all of them here. I too have tried to let go and admit the "non-perfections" more often. Here's a good one though - Friday was my hubby's birthday and we planned to have friends over in the evening to celebrate. My kids were still in their jammies at 5 pm. uh huh - ALL day without a toothbrush or hairbrush in sight. WTH, I don't care! It's ONE day! They were groomed before anyone arrived. And this spring break they have played more video games than not played. Oh well.

Pat said...

OMG-I LOVE that photo of your son. SO blackmail-worthy for down the road.... As for parenting mistakes this week...hmm. I guess I could admit to spending far too much time on the computer and not enough time listening to Kendall. My house is a mess and here I sit. Guilty as charged.