*This article is a 3 minute read
Blogging about parenthood is largely aspirational, not fiction. Recently a mom praised me for "Doing it all!" I smiled faintly but secretly thought she only knew a quarter of the story. You know the side you put on social media, your good side. It's the equivalent of a pose, where you suck in your gut, turn sideways with your hand gently placed on your hip, and appear svelte.
Behind the facade of a Chico's outfit, I'm just another mom trying to keep it together!
Bombs Away! Here's a List of Times I Bombed As A Mom
I once put shampoo on my child's skin thinking it was SPF before sending him off to an outdoor summer camp in ninety-degree heat.
I gave my child a Truly alcoholic beverage thinking it was sparkling water. It was new on the market and displayed at a popular fast casual restaurant. Thankfully he took a sip and spit it out.
My child has never seen snow. He begged me to drive him to Julian a day after heavy mountain snowfall. I bought a sled, packed up the car with winter gear, and the dog and off we went. As we approached Julian the temperature got hotter and hotter. My son blurted out, "Mom where's the snow? I'm sweating!" My skin was burning, all of the snow had melted. We decided to make the best of it and go for a hike, but every trail we encountered forbid dogs, and didn't have parking. I drove home defeated. We bought a Julian apple pie at Vons.
There were countless emails and fliers during his early school years that I couldn't find the time to read, I just skimmed through. We missed indoor camping day. How could I have forgotten his blanket, animal plushie, P.J.'s and flashlight? What kind of mother was I? Perhaps a real one!
Moms Stop Beating Yourself Up!
Recently a friend told me about a charity she started benefiting at risk youth. I praised her generosity, and she stopped me. "No, I could have done so much more." "What do you mean?" I asked. "You're helping kids, you're a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and entrepreneur isn't that enough?"
If You're Getting It Right 90% Of The Time, Give Yourself An A!
My own mother did it all. I remember she would iron our clothes at 5 AM, make our breakfast, lunches, and put dinner in the slow cooker before going to work. She boarded the train from Queens to Manhattan at 6:45 AM, walked crosstown to her office, worked eight hours on her feet, boarded the train again, probably not even getting a seat. She then walked fifteen blocks from the train station to our home where she came home to dirty dishes, hungry kids, and unfinished homework. After cleaning the kitchen, she would soak in the tub, have dessert and watch The Ten O'clock News followed by Merv Griffin. She did it for decades! She made sure we were educated, well mannered, and physically healthy.
I used to pick on my mom, now I hold her record to the highest esteem. Her holidays were perfection, her insight into camps and enrichment bar none, but maybe instead of comparing myself to the positive recollections I hold dear, perhaps I should instead acknowledge how I benefited from having a dedicated mother, and my child will only gain from this gift as well.
Say Goodbye To Mom Guilt
I've seen too many posts on Facebook where women say they could be doing more for their families. I don't know about you, but as a former marathon runner, being a mom feels like a daily 26.2. So, should we all be running ultra marathons? I think not!
The inspiration for this article is the late Eliza Fletcher who was tragically murdered while jogging at 4:30 AM in Memphis Tennessee. She was a mother of two lovely boys, a wife, Kindergarten teacher, and runner. The online news articles linked her Instagram account to their stories as they frequently do these days. I clicked it open to see a lovely mom at the dining room table with her two boys smiling. The post read, "Today I'm going to be grateful and not think about all the things I should have done." I thought it was so poignant. She was expressing gratitude, and not focusing on the internal to do list we all shepherd. She didn't know it would be her last post. I didn't know Eliza, but I know many women like her including myself. Don't beat yourself up. Give yourself a realistic high five, and high five the other moms in your life this Mother's day and beyond.