My oldest son just turned 4 and you know how every parent is like “cherish every minute, it goes by so fast.” Uh. No. It. Doesn’t. These years have reminded me of when I used to work at a shitty deli and I’d look up at the clock, sure that my shift was almost over and only 10 min had gone by. It’s been the longest 4 years of my life…
So, on the week of my first-born’s 4th birthday, I’m celebrating that I’m finally learning how to be a bad mom.
I taught my son the word “fuck” the other day. He was annoying me. I yelled fuck. He looked at me and smiled right into my eyes and said, “fuck” back. Then he giggled.
Now he sings it around the house “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fucky, fucky-fuck” and he yells from the top of the stairs “where’s my fucking soother?”
I flip-flop between extreme shame and hysterical laughter. The moms on Facebook say this is a normal phase and his preschool teacher told me how sorry she was the other boys at school taught him the word. I accepted her apology.
My husband does the majority of the parenting. I work. I have friends. I’m a leader in my community….blah blah… I spent my first night alone with them a few weeks ago and I woke up to my son peeing on the carpet. “What are you doing?” I whisper-screamed and he responded, “you never put a diaper on my mommy, so I’m peeing of the floor diaper.”
Touché son. Touché.
I’m getting ok with this:
One week ago my second child projectile vomited all over the car and we still haven’t found a moment to clean it up. Every time we go for a drive the kids scream, “it stinks in here, I’m going to puke on the puke.” Thank God(dess) it’s spring and we can drive with the windows rolled down.
At 4 pm every day I come home and lie in bed with a stone on my chest and just focus on my breath. If I don’t do this for 15 minutes I become a monster. Not exaggerating. Like the clouds pass over the moon and the beast is unleashed and I can’t stop till I get blood. Ask my husband.
I’m never going to lose the baby weight and I’ve stopped caring. Every cell in my body has changed and I need the extra room now.
We asked him the other day “what does Daddy to for a living?” and he said “Daddy fixes things” “Well, what does Mommy do for a living?” “mommy is sad” he said.
This crushes me. That already he knows…and it’s true.
I’m sad that my mom is still dead.
I’m sad that I don’t smoke pot anymore.
I’m sad that I’ve weaned myself off the highly addictive anti-anxiety medication my doctor overprescribed me/and I happily kept taking – and now I have to actually feel my feelings.
I’m sad that my best friend has cancer.
I’m sad that there are children in the world that don’t have moms or dads to be sad.
“It’s okay to be sad,” I say to him. “And it’s okay to be angry, and happy and scared, all feelings are ok.”
But I don’t want him to know me as only that. So I take him to the beach and we throw rocks at the seagulls and I let him eat as much dirt as he wants and he says “your beautiful momma” so of course, he gets an ice cream cone.
He’s a smart one.
I went out last night to do a benefit show I told him “I’ll be home to tuck you in” and I wasn’t. He woke up in the morning and said “mama, you said you were gonna tuck me in, where were you?” and it hit me in the chest. Every single word I say. And thing I do. Every single breath I take, he is watching and it matters.
And I thought about why I went out to do the show; to support a cause I believe in (but also to be recognized and affirmed that I’m a human, I’m funny and I’ve still got it, but also (this is the freaky part) so I can keep one foot out the family door. And so when he looked at me and asked me why I had broken my promise to be home by bedtime I realized, I’ve been protecting myself from his love. I go to an audience of strangers to be clapped for but my son…and his open heart…and longing to be snuggled into bed.
I can’t even.
I can hardly hold the heart-cracking love he offers me. This is what’s been hardest for me to learn as a mom- to accept his unconditional, absolutely pure love. It’s foreign to me, to be wanted and loved simply as a warm body to curl up into.
And sometimes it makes me want to run screaming for the hills…”I don’t deserve you. I don’t deserve this. I’m not good enough yet…”
“I’m so sorry honey” I said “I’m so really, really sorry and thank you for telling me and I promise I’ll be home when I say I’ll be home and you know what, when I came home, I curled into bed with you even though you were sleeping and didn’t notice I was there- I was there. But next time – even if it means leaving the stage mid-sentence, I’ll do what I say. I promise.”
“Ok mama. Can I sit on your lap?”
I’m learning, slowly, to be a bad mom. It’s tough. There’s so much pressure out there to be so good at this crazy ass shit. But I’m trying my best, one day at a time. One breathe at a time. To be myself, and let him see that, and for him to know that mama isn’t perfect, she never will be.
…And that’s a totally normal, to be expected, really good thing.