Sunday, March 15, 2009

Confessions of a Real Mom

You know what? I am fed up. I am tired. Ladies, we are all guilty of what I am about to write and it is time for it to stop.

What has gotten me all riled up, ruffled my feathers and helped me onto my soapbox? The comparing of ourselves to each other, the judgments we put forth onto each other...the super-erroneous belief that any one of us truly "has it all together."

I am laying it all on the line, here. I DO NOT have it all together and frankly I am ashamed for all previous attempts to appear as such. Any time I have behaved out of the fear of the rolling eyes of others, made choices because of how pious or holy I might be seen, hidden the dark secrets of the pursuit of self, well, I express my deepest apologies. I stand in defiance of the social pressure and the ridiculous codes that are unspoken but well-understood by wives and moms. We allow the grade of passing to be nothing but 100%, and why? I declare today, I will not do it any more.

So ladies, here's to the time I allowed my kids to watch the "Transformers Movie," ignorant of the fact that it was rated PG13. Not only did my two oldest watch it, so did 5 other little boys who were spending the night as guests of my oldest, most of whom have not been back to our house. As a direct result of this movie, I was asked by my children while riding in the car home from school what "Master-bathing" was. In my innocence, I thought they had seen a Re-Bath truck. You know the company, the one that can reglaze, reglamorize your bathroom? Oh, but no, after the third time of hearing the word, "Master-Bathing" it dawned on me. My voice went up about 3 octaves and I nearly lost control of the car. Imagine my delight upon hearing the answer to my panic-muttered question, "Where did you hear that word?" Sadie repeated, verbatum the four lines prior to and the four lines post the "word in question." Ethan blurted out...It was in Transformers, Mom, you know, the movie you let us watch at the sleepover? If you really want to know how bad this movie is, click here for the parental guide that I most definitely should have read. I am horrified.

While I am at it, here are some more confessions...Here's to unwanted facial hair and the battle it takes to have it removed. Here's to starving myself a day here or there to maintain a ridiculous weight that I didn't even have in high school. Here's to insane contemplations of getting cosmetic procedures at 37 that didn't exist 10 years ago.

Here's to the time I accidentally left my middle child at home ALONE for at least 30 minutes when she was only 3 years old. She survived. I survived. But it was terrible.

I buy clothes at Wal-Mart, wash my face with regular bath soap about 75% of the time and eat a hot dog, loaded, with fries and a Diet Cheerwine every Tuesday at the Dog House on Main Street. I use harsh chemicals to clean my house because I love the smell and haven't invested the time or money into shopping organic.

I try to recycle but every once in a while just chuck the bag at the main dumpster at the dump. And, I have used the dumpsters at High Point's largest church for my bags of refuse when I realized that the trash dump was closed and I had a car load of stink. Because of regular trash dump runs, I had a mouse living in my van, make that thriving in my van, for over a week. My van is filthy, littered with fast food nibbles and stained in varying shades of muck that I don't even want to know its origins.

I claim to be active on doctor's forms and insurance forms, but I never exercise. Even though my back surgeon gave me the green light to go skiing, I still use my back surgery for many excuses to get out of moving anything remotely heavy or for doing any yard work. Basically, I am lying.

I have been "working" on the same bible study for over a year now, despite the "glowing reviews" that I give to other people about it. It is good, I just haven't finished it. In fact, I have led numerous bible studies, counseled and mentored ladies, but have yet to read the entire bible. Sure, I strongly desire to read all of it, but haven't. I have about 5 scriptures memorized and repeatedly use them with as much authority as I can muster.

I don't volunteer at my kid's school very often and think that is just fine. And, frankly, I don't particularly like watching other people's kids, though the older they get, it is easier.

Pets and plants have a very low survival rate in our house. The stories coming from the house of horrors are disturbing, I'll admit it. Cats, dogs, hermit crabs, love birds...none are immune.

My kids have sat in front of the television ALL afternoon watching junk that should have never been produced under the umbrella of children's television. Additional abominations include their repeated references from infomercials, like "peel and press crown molding," the "snuggly," the mini hamburger "sliders" maker. They have a strange affection for Billy Mayes and complain that he yells through the tv. And, we have interesting conversations that center around the difference between Nationwide, State Farm and how you can save 15% on Geico Insurance. All courtesy of their television viewing.

When they were younger, I let my kids stay in diapers long after they should have been changed, let them eat stuff dropped on the floor, and lied to them about dates for birthday parties that they were not going to attend. My kids occasionally go to bed and to school without their teeth brushed or hair combed. Every morning I give thought to allowing the kids to skip school and for all of us to just sleep in. If not for the fact that we carpool, I might just do it, too. This school year, I struggled with serious, serious pride issues because my oldest got his first B this year, eliminating him from the much publicized all-A honor roll for the 2nd quarter. Pathetic.

I don't like doing crafts with my kids. There, I said it. The idea of created permanent works of collectible art is very utopian. But, in fact, the mess, the chaos and the end results are never worth the effort in my mind. I do it solely out of peer pressure.

I have regifted, parked illegally and not put my shopping cart back into the corral. I rarely separate my lights and darks while doing laundry and feign ignorance when my husband complains that all his undershirts are dingy. I have read only two complete novels in the last year.

I have yelled at, screamed at and berated my children. I have had days where I hated being a mother, hated my children and plotted my get away plan.

Projects? Do I have half-finished projects? There is a set of unfinished chairs in our basement that I have "promised" to polyurethane since before Jay and I even met. Our financial files are a mess despite the purchase of a new filing system in the last couple of months. I have three long years and growing of photos waiting to be archived. I have a room full of scrapbooking supplies which no human could ever possibly consume. Yet, I continue to pick-up a roll of ribbon on sale or a pack of the latest paper designs.

My second to the last spiritual gift, according to every assessment I have ever taken, is mercy. Therefore, if my child comes to me, multiple times with the same issue, chances are, I am tuning him/her out. I just don't have it to give. Most likely, I exhibit the same behavior to the adults in my life.

I sometimes listen to non-Christian music, drink a beer or two on the weekends and enjoy a night out on the town. We have "skipped" church a couple of times in the last several months and I don't think that changes my status with God. I am tired of running that performance race as well. God knows my heart. I talk to Him every day. He knows I love Him.

I ask, where is our confidence, ladies? Just what is the ruler by which we measure ourselves? There are going to be successful days and days of massive failure. But averaging it out, I think I am doing the best I can with what I know. I will strive to improve, gain a little more insight, but always with that knowledge that I will never achieve perfection. I will never again measure my success in my home by the yardstick from another home.

Whew! I feel a lot better. Here's your chance. Get it all out. Post it in the comments section, anonymously if you want. And never, never again feel the guilt of your actions because you didn't do what Miss So-and-so did.

18 comments:

Angela said...

I feel soooo much better now. I thought I was the only one who doesn't have my life anywhere close to all together. Confession is good for the soul.

debi said...

I LOVED THIS POST!!!!! AM STILL SMILING!!! (with my crooked teeth that i don't care if they look straight or not!) :) I TOOK A NAP AND FORGOT THE DOG OUTSIDE. HE GOT OUT AND I THOUGHT RUN OVER BEFORE OUR TRIP. HAPPILY MARC HAD JUST PUT HIM IN THE CAR TO PICK UP THE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WAS NEVER HAPPIER TO HEAR THE SOUND OF HIS JINGLY COLLAR

Under the Raisner Roof... said...

Another great post! Funny Funny Funny! I think alot of us share those same feelings. It's just nice to hear it from someone else! Amy

jenniferkk said...

I laughed hysterically throughout this post. I'm right there with you, baby. When Mary Louise was about 15 mos. old, Jeffrey was 3. I was outside talking to another mother and watching him play while ML wandered off. A while later, I realized she was gone when I exclaimed, "I forgot I had two children!"
Don't forget...in 2nd grade, you washed your hair with Coast soap. :-)

tona said...

I loved this! I laughed the whole time I was reading it. I've been struggling with this issue for years. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. When Caleb was 2 yrs old, he walked up to me and handed me a dead mouse. My cat had brought it in through the cat door and given it to him. After scrubbing him down with anti-bacterial wipes, anti-baterial hand soap and then scrubbing him in the tub for 30 minutes, I finally decided he was clean enough.

Jennifer Lechner said...

Amen sister! Here's mine:
There is a fine line between my night clothing and my day clothing. Sometimes I don't know where that line is.

I recently told my daughter we were out of Lucky Charms. I lied. I just wanted the last bowl.

While I miss my little man, it was a relief to have him visit Grammy for a week.

Jewels said...

Kelsey makes me sin. It's the sin of envy. Not pretty, but here we go.

She writes...more often than I get to. And, often, better than I can.


She's a better mom than I am. If I had to do Dr. Suess' costumes for my children I would:
A) buy them
b) persuade someone else to make them
c)keep my child home for the day, under the pretext that the good Dr. is "worldly"

And, finally, I envy Kelsey Doumalin most because.....

she has a stinking gorgeous scrapbooking room that rivals Michaels AND Hobby Lobby and I only got to go there once.

There.

Whew.

Feel better.

Need a cigarette

If I smoked.

jenniferkk said...

One more...
Last night, Mary Louise was sick and threw up all over the floor (remember Phillip?). Anyway, since she is 11 years old, I fussed at her for not getting to the trash can/bathroom fast enough. Felt bad afterwards when I remembered she is blind as a bat without her glasses on...especially in the dark. Did I really expect her to stop the hurl, put on her glasses, and find the trashcan in the dark before continuing?
Confession is good for the soul.
How about NEVER volunteering at your children's school?
Plants die in my care too. My husband has the green thumb or else our house would be without.
My children have never seen glitter in my house. Crafts only exist in school. If you want to use paint, you must go outside.
And at what point are the hair and teeth of your children no longer your responsibility? If I say "brush your teeth and hair" everyday, when do I eventually think they should do this out of habit? Yet I am continually having to remind someone. Do I have to verbalize breathing, blinking, and walking? Then why aren't the others coming naturally?

Melissa and Karl said...

I've been late to pick up my kids because I spent too much time in Target.

I can't run a 5k or even a mile.

I go to Chickfila and eat a chicken biscuit after I've just spent an hour at the gym. I can down a whole box of Thin Mints in one sitting.

My kids play marathon Wii sessions and I let them.

I take out the "good stuff" for myself when they get any kind of candy--birthday parties, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, whatever.

When I buy a card for someone (birthday, anniversary, thank you, etc.) I can never remember if I actually mail it--so I bet at least half the time they never get them.

My house is always a wreck except for twice a year--Spring and Fall Market, upon which I stuff everything I don't know what do to with in an unused bedroom.

My 3 year old is currently asleep in her car seat in my car parked in the garage. I can't see or hear her.

And ths is just the tip of the iceberg! I also can't spell a lick. Something happened around 8th grade that destroyed that part in my brain!

jenniferkk said...

Melissa, you and I need to meet!

I can’t run more than one lap around a track. There are short-distance runners and long-distance runners. Don’t feel bad…short distance can mean a variety of things!

Isn’t Halloween another word for “Go out and get some candy for Mom and Dad”? I thought every parent did this! The Easter Bunny only brings the candy Mom and Dad like anyway.

Rule of thumb: Never wake a sleeping child…whether in a car out of sight or not. Good job, Melissa!

I know what happened to your brain in 8th grade. By this time pretty much every girl has started her period. Your brain cells beginning to travel to your uterus. When you got pregnant years later, they formed the placenta. When you delivered the baby, out came the placenta too and there went the brain cells. More babies equals more brain cells being delivered right out of your body. Don’t take this as scientific fact…just my theory :-)

I do not pay full-price for children's clothing and usually buy second-hand clothes for them.

My children practically live off of peanut butter and jelly, Easy Mac, and popcorn chicken.

My children can recite numerous commercials and quote episodes from Nick and Disney Channel and I’m not proud of this. My response is always asking them to recite a random Bible verse (“That’s great. Now tell me what Matthew 28:19 says?”).

I do not make them wear helmets when riding toys with wheels.

My "getaway" plan has been thoughts of committing myself to Butner or driving alone and wrecking the car. Put “Vacation Getaway” on my tombstone.

Sometimes (or all the time) in the summer I send all three children outside to play and I lock the doors behind them.

I have served my husband and I panini frozen dinners for supper one time. I got out the square griddle to make it look like I made it from scratch. He never said a word...bless his heart.

I buy very cheap makeup because I’m just going to wash it off that night. Some days aren’t even worth putting on make-up.

As a matter of fact (and I swore I’d never do this), I run errands without make-up on sometimes. I don’t care. If I waited until I was all prettied-up before going out, I’d never leave the house.

Once in a blue moon (I'm serious) I clean my showers and tubs like they should be cleaned.

When I was told both my older children need braces (or an appliance of some sort) at the same time and was told the price I literally could not quit thinking about the price. I considered alternatives to the orthodontist's suggestions until my husband finally talked some sense into me ("we're doing whatever it takes, whatever the cost, you need to trust them").

I mean, really, am I a wife and a mother?

jenferrell said...

OK girl, you might have to write a book on this subject. Clearly you have struck a highly sensitive nerve in all of us!

kelly said...

Loved it, Kelsey!!!!!! Loved, loved, loved it!!! Okay, since we are confessing...my favorite activity...putting the seat back in my running Honda in the driveway...with my Christian talk radio on...resting because I never sleep long enough at night...for at least an hour after the kids get home from school...while they ransack the house and/or watch so-called children's television that results in my girls swaying their hips and asking "don't you want to kiss me?" and "do you think I am hot?" Talk about guilt but I love the rest...in my car... where there are no crumbs or dishes or mounds of dirty laundry or pee on the toilet seat... to clean!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honesty Kels. We all have the horrifying moments that we can later laugh about.
Thanks for being so transparent so that the rest of us can let go of trying to be perfect.
You're GREAT!

LaurE said...

I am sooo amazed at how much I have in common with other people. I- like Kelly sit in my Vehicle-sometimes Honda and sometimes Family van and listen to Christian radio. I sit there as well and relax while the boys go in the house. I usually have a rule that they can't watch TV until homework is done but they always have it on when I have my sit in the van days. All the while my 2 yr old daughter is raising her voice " I ready get out mommy!" I took the kids to the Museum of Natural History in Raleigh yesterday because I couldn't bring myself to check them in late since they were already tardy one day last week. So we took a field trip yesterday. That is rare but when time changes, yes we have issues! We got a mile down the road and I realized we didn't have the stroller for my 2 yr old girl. I hate turning around so I said-we'll be ok! I told my son-" Didn't I tell you to put the stroller at the door?" He says-" No you only said take it out." I tried to calm myself realizing it was my fault. My husband had wanted me to take them to school but I didn't- I felt guilty at first but he said he understood after thinking about it more and it was something I rarely do- let them go out of town instead of go to school. This is what brought me to the sight actually because I am tired of public school! My daughter is vegged out on PBS now eating panini and icee and juice. I have homework that is due that I have had two weeks to complete for my Community College coursework and it is due tommorrow! We are always late for church and procrastinate about everything- there- that's all for now! I feel a little better! This is cool-I think I'll write my to do list now. Ohhh- and it just took my atleast 15 minutes or even 20 just to get my blogg uploaded- see- I guess we are all human.

jenferrell said...

Kelsey, maybe this is an answer to your ponderings on a previous blog about why all mother's seem to be on some kind of anti-depressant. Maybe all we need is to just be REAL!

Heather said...

Nothing like putting it all out there, Kelsey! Ha ha. I have been preaching that gospel for a while. I agree that we need to stop pretending that we are perfect because NONE OF US ARE! We pick and choose the things that are important to us. (chemicals cleaners--cringe/ TV all afternoon--what do you think my kids are doing right now?!..Wash your face with regular soap--sister you deserve better!) My friend emailed me this article today. You'll enjoy it. I always say that we have to speak about such issues AND we have to listen. Bravo!
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article5919880.ece

Katie McDonald said...

It's comforting knowing that "you could have read my mind". Those are some of the exact feelings I have everyday. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one b/c you can feel that way. That's what keeps us lying to ourselves of the GREAT moms and wives we really are. To confirm, I believe you are doing the best you can with what you know b/c you have Christ on your side. I will continue to pray for you and your family, Kelsey. Thank you for sharing your blog with ALL OF US! YOU ARE A BLESSING!

Katie McD.

Linda said...

Hey all you NC girls, this one is from Iowa! We do the same pathetic things miles away. I was out running errands one day and got a phone call asking me if I forgot it was an early out from school. Oops - at least I had taught my kids to go to the neighbors if mom isn't home when the school bus drops them off. I've been out shopping standing in line to buy new clothes, looking at my watch, knowing my kids would beat me home from school (I just couldn't not buy the cute clothes!) and yet I still just stand there waiting in line to buy my new clothes. I hardly ever cook. I have about 5 recipes - mac & cheese, french toast, spaghetti, taco casserole, and tuna casserole. I HATE to volunteer at school. I sign up for crap and then complain all year long about why in the world I volunteered for it - next year I won't. But, isn't that what I said last year??? My kitchen floors are disgusting - a clan of mice could eat off them on a regular basis - my kids drop so many crumbs and I pretend I don't see them. I never share the last bite of food - I'm not near that generous. I love to scrapbook so sometimes I make my kids do stuff just so I can get pictures taken. I figure in the end it really benefits them - they get to do more stuff. I totally waste time on Facebook, reading emails, etc. I've let my children watch a ton of PG-13 movies - they're only 7 & 11 - just because I can't stand to watch another G or PG movie with them. They play electronics all the time - Wii, Game Boy, DS, etc. Wow, this is freeing. I could relate to so many that Kelsey wrote - sometimes question if she's my long-lost twin.