“3! 2! 1!”
I’d love to say that preceded “blast-off” and a new game of airplane we invented. But alas, no. It was me, at the top of my lungs, to my son, 6, who was procrastinating eating once again. As dinner became later and later, and bedtime became later and later, we moms realized he’d pulled one over on us, again. We might be a little slow on the uptake at times, but we’re on to him, and it’s time to eat, “NOW!”
He runs with a furry to the dinner table, and I am embarrassed and ashamed, getting ready to make an apology for screaming, again.
Before children, I had all the answers. I was trained as a clinical social worker and spent the first many years of my career working directly with children. These weren’t typical “easy” kids either. These kids were struggling with pasts or impairments that made their tough behaviors make sense. You can probably already see the many flaws in my thinking, as simply being a child is enough to make tough behavior make sense.
Enter children, and immediately I realized that I know NOTHING. It’s an important lesson to learn, and I was (gratefully) humbled learning it. Humble pie is also not served once at our table, but often daily, and sometimes there are leftovers to consume as a snack before bed.
My point is simply this: I am an imperfect mother. I struggle with my decisions and my choices daily. I also take my “job” parenting very seriously. I want to raise confident, able, gentle, kind, passionate and determined little spirits who forever keep their sense of playfulness and wonder.
My children are bi-racial. My daughter has special needs. They are being raised by inter-racial lesbian moms. Under perfect circumstances, parenting is hard, and so is being a child. With our diverse household, challenges are at every turn: a new rigid pattern emerges in our little girl; we have to discuss racism with our children; we have to explain, once again, that we can, indeed, both be their moms.
In our life we’ve been very blessed to have imperfect friends who see our strengths as well as our flaws, and cherish us anyway. I do hope we honor them by returning the favor. I hope to help other moms feel at home in their struggles and vulnerabilities as working moms. We do so much, and we often don’t have enough of the best of us left to feel we’ve been “good enough” in any arena. Yet each morning we find our courage, often buried at the bottom of a tall mug of coffee, to venture forward once more. We again make the best choices we can make in the service of our children’s futures. We are enough. Our kids will see our effort (when they have children of their own) and forgive us for screaming. They will remember dancing in the living room, cuddle time, and that we forever believed they were capable of all they dared to dream.