As parents we like to believe that our children see us as perfect adults who have all the answers. And while they are young, we may actually have them fooled…but it’s fleeting. As they get older (and mouthier), they start calling us out on those deep dark secrets that we’ve hidden for so many years.
Recently I found my 12-year old and his friend watching a movie that, well, let’s just say had grossed out even me. He said, “Don’t worry Mom, I won’t tell anyone. You know I’ve seen worse.” And in a way, it was true. At that moment I realized it was time to come clean about my own dirty parenting secrets, so here goes.
- Even though I roll my eyes when the kids demand to listen to their Top 40 Pop radio in MY car, there are a few of them that I actually like. No, LOVE. As in, when-I’m-in-the-car-by-myself-I-crank-the-volume kind of love. “Troublemaker” by Olly Murs and Flo Rida comes to mind, as does “Blurred Lines.” And when it’s just Ben and me in the car, we jam to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.” The non-edited-for-radio version. Don’t judge.
- This is a terrible one but since I’m baring all: I hate pushing kids on swings. I realize that this ranks me like, one tiny rung above Joan Crawford, but for me it is the most mind-numbing activity and the fact that children can do it for hours on end makes it all the more painful. I see all those happy Moms, smiling and pushing, smiling and pushing…and on the surface I try to keep up appearances but on the inside I’d swear my teeth actually itch. I’m not proud.
- I hate broccoli. I mean, I had Ben and Georgia fooled for years…or rather, I had become very adept at distraction and sleight of hand whenever they would notice that they were eating it and I was not. I have tried my whole life to like it as I know it’s SO good for you and of course I want to lead by example, but the truth of the matter is that I simply cannot stand it. I can stomach broccoli if it’s buried deep inside a quiche or drowning in melted cheese but really, I would eat wood chips if they were prepared that way.
- During the summer, we often count trips to the swimming pool as bathing. I really try to have them take a shower or bathe at least every other day but sometimes there is so much going on between camp and work and baseball and neighborhood friends that by the time they saunter on home, it’s dark and I’m tired and, well…they’re sort of clean. All hail, chlorine!
- I’ve mentioned the age-inappropriate movie that Ben was watching, but there’s more. The older kids watch “Big Brother,” which is SO dumb that you can almost hear your IQ dropping during the course of an episode. Georgia and Ben have seen “Jaws” and love it (at least they have great taste but still, it’s terrifying). And one time I smiled as Georgia and Quinn were snuggled up under a blanket, looking so cute watching TV, only to realize that they were watching “The Hunger Games.” Quinn is 3 1/2. Needless to say, that was flipped off immediately but still? Oh, Mother of the Year.
- Despite my complaining, I’ve grown to love Elvis the dog. Sure, he still poops on the dining room rug now and then and always has a crusty tail (because he drools in his crate and then rolls in it) and did I mention that he suffers from separation anxiety? Despite it all, that mangy mutt has found a place in my heart. Of course, now it’s a dirty corner of my heart that smells like dog but still, there it is. Ugh.
So while I realize that I am far from perfect, I ask you honestly, what parent is? Maybe the kids will see that I don’t judge other Moms because people in glass houses don’t throw stones and therefore acceptance is what is paramount. Yeah, that’s the grand teaching that I’ll impart upon them…not that it’s okay to dress up like a pickle while you swim through vinegar on national television in hopes of winning $500,000. It’s really all about acceptance.
That’s my gift to my children. And to my fellow imperfect parents. Ya’lls are welcome.