Parenting and family, served with a shot of vodka
Most days, I’d like to think I’m a decent parent. My kids are clean and fed, have a reasonable amount of manners for their ages, and we get out and enjoy all the things that our area has to offer.
But let’s be frank: Children don’t come with a manual, and as a parent, you just have to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Some days, you feel like Claire Huxtable, and other days, Peggy Bundy.
I try not to dwell on my shortcomings, because, hell, ain’t nobody got time for that. But, in life and in parenting, there’s always room for improvement. I was reminded of this the other night, as No. 1 on the below list unfolded in my dining room. So, I decided to start with that, and then think of other areas in which I could improve.
1. I do not know how to make a decent paper airplane.
Last night, my five-year-old son wanted me to show him how to make a paper airplane. He had this joy and curiousity in his eyes, which were sparkling at the thought of sending a paper plane sailing through open skies of our living room. I did my best, but the shoddy little aircraft flew about four inches, then made a 90 degree turn straight into the floor. About five times in a row.
I’m sure there’s a You Tube video I can consult, but in the meantime, I went with Plan B: “Go ask your dad, buddy.”
2. I sometimes cannot retain simple information for one minute.
Being at the beck and call of littles all day can be a mind eraser. For instance, I will often ask my kids what they want to drink with their meals. I then will walk 15 steps back to the kitchen, amid a symphony of squealing, laughing, crying, arguing, dance parties — whatever combination of events is happening that day — and arrive at the refrigerator. I will open it, look inside, and realize I have No. Effing. Idea. what anyone just said to me 45 seconds prior. So, I will pour myself a glass of wine instead, because I can always remember what I want with my dinner.
3. My kids know the word dam(n), and not the kind that beavers make.
Since becoming a mother, I think of myself as a recovering potty mouth. I was never offended by cuss words, and working in newspapers for a long time, I think I eventually became immune. The majority of newspaper people I’ve worked with enjoy swearing. In fact, I used to have this Dilbert comic hanging in my cubicle.
Anyway, for the most part, I cut out that
shit stuff upon having kids. They will pick up enough offensive language at school, so I don’t need to be part of the problem.
Now, I say things like, “Heavens to Mergatroid!” and “Holy smokes!” If you have known me for a long time, you’re laughing your
ass bottom off right now, thinking who the hell in the world is this f***ing terrific person?
That said, I haven’t been able to let go of damn. Because when you step on a Hot Wheel or Lego with bare feet, and it digs into the soft, fleshy part of your arch? DAMN! When you’re in the middle of making brownies and realize you don’t have enough vegetable oil, and tears of disappointment are spraying straight out of your child’s eyes? DAMN! When you accidentally drop a huge Pyrex dish on the kitchen floor and it shatters everywhere, while everyone, including the dog, is barefoot in the kitchen? DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!
Thankfully, a dam IS also something that beavers make. So, I may be able to play it off for a few more years. “Oh sorry, kids, all this broken glass piled up here just made me think of a beaver dam! All these toys scattered on the floor? Beaver dam!”
4. I am not a Pinterest mom.
I’m not so sure this is a failure on my part. It’s more that I refuse to go there. Honestly, I’m just trying to keep my head above water around here, people. I have often compared juggling kids’ schedules, my lovely husband’s ever-changing work schedule, squeezing in my own work, and stuff like … uh … showering, to being like a game of Tetris. And it is.
My children will never know the delight of Handcrafted Pumpkin Soap by Mom or see me toiling away on a monogrammed table runner to use at Thanksgiving dinner. I do not have the time or patience to create a cupcake pompon garland, or sew my dog a Harry Potter Gryffindor uniform for Halloween.
Munchkins, I will feed you, play with you, and teach you to read, and the difference between their, they’re and there. I throw a helluva afternoon dance party, too. But that’s where my skills end.
I’m sure Pinterest is all kinds of awesome for loads of people, and if you are one of them, I applaud you. But it makes me feel all rage-y inside. Maybe one day, I can tiptoe into this world.
5. I’m a hoarder.
But I do have a really hard time parting with my kids’ artwork. I’ve read awesome ideas for curating this stuff, and have tried really hard to employ those ideas. But when it comes time to actually release the cast-offs into the trash can, I feel a huge pang of guilt.
I’ve gotta get over this somehow. Because, really, some things are more special than others. This, below, should be saved. A crappy paper airplane should not.
Surely, I’m not alone here, am I? What areas of your parenting life need some work?