When asked about what I hope my baby thinks about my parenting, the simple answer is, “That I’m the most awesome mom of all time.” I mean, obviously, right? Would any of us not want our kids to think that? But when you get down to it and really think about that question, it’s not quite that simple. Sure, yes, I want my son to feel like he won the parent lottery (the same way I feel like I won the sweetest-baby-ever lottery), but I also want him to know that his mother is a human being. I want him to know that there’s work involved and it's not always easy and that I will make (and have made) so many mistakes. I want him to know that his dad and I are trying to adequately prepare him to deal with whatever life throws his way, and that I’m doing my best to make that happen. Most importantly, I want my son to know that my biggest priority is that he knows he is loved and that his parents believe in him and support him always.
And, you know, that he looks absolutely adorable in the overalls I insist he wears.
Seriously though, our son is reaching that age where he copies everything his dad and I do. So, not only am I not cognizant of what I’m doing for him and with him and to him, but pretty much everything I do in front of him or near him, as well. He’s too young for a phone, but I swear he’s recording me sometimes because I can’t believe he retains some of this stuff he hears and sees. So, now that I know just how carefully he’s watching and how much he's retaining, I’ve come to a few conclusions about what I hope he's thinking about his mother and the way I have decided (and attempt) to parent.
"My Mom Loves Me"
Of course you knew this would be included. Last time I checked, letting our kids know that we love them is pretty much a core tenant of parenthood and our ultimate goal.
"My Mom Isn't Perfect"
Perfection is boring and overrated and pretty damn impossible to actually achieve. If I was anything close to perfect (which I'm definitely not), what would that teach my son? I'd rather him see and understand and completely comprehend that his mom is human. My son will always know that his mom messes up and makes mistakes, but she's learning and she's always willing to keep trying.
"My Mom Is Working Hard"
Speaking of mistakes, I'd like my son know that it takes effort to get past them and learn from them and overcome them. Is it cheesy to admit that I often find myself thinking, "What would I want him to see his mom do?" as opposed to, "what do I want to do?" Often, the answer requires some serious bootstrapping, but I guess that's what I signed up for, right?
"My Mom Appreciates The Arts. I Love How She's Introduced Me To Great Singers Of The Past."
You're welcome, son. Someday I will have a bunch of Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion CDs to hand to you, if CD players are still a thing when you're older.
"My Mom Cares About Nutrition. She Microwaves The Best Chicken Nuggets For Me."
And I pour the best cups of Goldfish crackers, too. It's a gift, really. One I'm sure I will be passing on to my son to so, you know, he's the most welcome.
"My Mom is Stylish. I Love How She Always Wears Sweatpants."
Someday, the powers that control the fashion industry are going to recognize just what a wonder elastic waste bands are and they'll be all-the-rage and it won't be socially unacceptable to wear them on dinner dates or important meetings. Until then, I will continue my one-woman crusade to be the change I want to see in the world, by wearing mom clothes, like yoga pants, all the time.
"I Don't Know Why She Cares So Much About What's In My Nose"
Because how else can I describe it to your doctor when I call (for the twentieth time), silly? If I don't pay attention, who will? Boogers mean things, kid. Boogers mean things.
"My Mom Should Be Famous. Her Singing Is Amazing."
You're only saying that because you're two years old, but I'll take it. I mean, anyone who's ever heard real singing knows that my career as a professional singer is, you know, not a thing. However, my singing is nothing if not enthusiastic, so I'm glad you appreciate it, kid.
"I Know She Loves How I Climb On her Face At 5:50 Every Morning"
Not going to lie, the aggressive face snuggles are a distant relative of cuddling, so I actually don't mind them. I mean, the early wake-up sucks, but the cuddles? Yeah, those aren't terrible.
"I Love How Safety Conscious My Mom is, And I Appreciate How She Cuts My Foods Into Small Bites And Screams Before I Reach For Sharp Things"
Thanks, for noticing, son. BRB, need to go work on my baby-proofing game.