When You Realize You’re “That Mommy”

There are moments in life that truly define you, life-altering moments, like that moment when you find yourself in the walk jog RUN of shame across the public playground because that little boy with the pants and big boy Cars underwear wrapped around his ankles, watering the swingset with his tiny manhood is your child.

Before I was a mom, I had motherhood all planned out. I knew exactly how my children would and would not act. “That mother” with the screaming and flailing child at Wal-Mart, that was not going to be me . . . oh no, my children would be well-mannered, respectful, and obedient at ALL times. They would never dare disobey or *gasp* embarrass me in public! You know how they say to never say never. Let’s just say, that saying has found new meaning in my life.

I was once one of those people without kids who thought she knew everything about being a parent because, of course, I had read every Focus on the Family article I could get my hands on and listened intently in church to every parenting message. And then, after all the intense preparation and reading and planning, my first real live child came along, bringing lots of love and . . . colic into my world. Over the next four years, God would bless me with two more children who would completely change almost everything I knew to be true about parenting. I learned the graceful art of leaving a buggy full of groceries in the middle of the grocery store while I hauled a temper tantrum throwing toddler, whiny preschooler, and crying baby out of the store while feeling the stares of judgmental eyes penetrating right through me. I learned how to will away my OCD just long enough to allow my squirming, fussy, crawling baby to play on the floor of the public playplace, praying away the germs all the while. And yes, I even learned that toilets aren’t the only option for potty-training stubborn three-year-old boys! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I am “that mommy” –the one we all hope we won’t be. But let me share a little secret with you. Being “that mommy” does not make you a bad mommy. It just makes you normal!

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None of us have it all together no matter how pretty and perfect our Instagram or Facebook accounts may look. And I know it comes as a shock (yes, that’s sarcasm you hear), but our kids are just kids. They are learning, exploring, and finding their way in this crazy, mixed-up world and simply need a little guidance from us. There will be days they will push their boundaries and our patience will wear thin. There will be times we want to throw our hands in the air and quit. But with those moments, there will also be tiny, slobbery, baby kisses and a preschooler who says please and thank you without being told and a toddler who cuddles up close to you, whispering, “I love you, Mommy.” These are the moments you cherish, the moments when you realize you are “that mommy” and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

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