Being a mom means being a role model. Kids are like sponges, so they soak up everything they hear and see us do. They want to try anything they see us try, say what we say, and do what we do. That's as huge an honor as it is a responsibility, which is why it's such a relief when our kids are off doing their own thing. In those moments we can exhale for a second and indulge in all the weird things every mom does when her kid isn't looking.
Let's face it: there's no such thing as the perfect mom. However, that doesn't mean we don't want to maintain at least a little of that façade for and in front of our kids. So we do all we can to be fully present as our best, most put-together and kid-perfect selves when they're paying attention. And when they're not? Then we handle our other business, like settling Facebook arguments once and for all, expressing what we really think of all the other people we have to share the road with, and taking the batteries out of that one toy that just wont shut up.
Yeah, the following little things are weird, but at least we're all in this weirdness together. Solidarity, mamas. You've earned the random little victory dance you do after your kid actually eats the food you served them (even though it touched other food on their plate) or took less than 20 minutes to let you brush their teeth.
Sneak Junk Food
Now, I am doing my best to be a body positive mama. Strictly speaking, I don't think there are "bad foods," because I don't believe in moralizing food. But are there foods I don't feel like sharing with my kid? Hell yeah.
I was so sad the day my now-toddler learned to recognize the smell of fries and asked for them. Ditto for cupcakes, donuts, and egg-free cookie dough. I mean, I know how to balance these things with more substantive foods in my diet. (Mostly.) My toddler, however? Yeah, not so much. Now, fries are a special treat for days when my kid unexpectedly naps in the car and there's a drive thru nearby.
Same goes for candy. I can eat a Reese's (or four) without totally losing my mind or refusing to eat actual food for the rest of the day. My toddler can't. Three finger salute to all the moms out there waiting for their kid to nap so they can raid the leftover Halloween candy stash.
Hide That One Toy She Can’t Stand
You know that toy. The annoying one that makes a lot of noise that you would never have purchased, but that their grandparents or other spoil-y adults in their lives bought for them. That toy gets "lost" (or, alternatively, “breaks” — aka gets its batteries removed) a lot when the kid’s not looking, doesn't it? Yeah, I see you.
Chat On Her Phone
Being fully present with your kids is very important. But if they're actually playing calmly amongst themselves in a safe space, not clamoring for your attention, it's almost weird not to briefly retreat across the room to group text with your friends or school somebody who's wrong on the internet.
Scream Or Curse Silently
They're doing their best. We're doing our best. Sometimes, our respective bests — or all the other things we have going on in our lives — still leave us wanting to scream at the top of our lungs, but that won't do. So, we wait until they're preoccupied with something else, turn to the mirror (or the imaginary TV studio audience watching us in our living room, whichever), and mouth all the things it would be totally wrong to say out loud.
Surreptitiously Indulge Her Road Rage
'Cause you can't very well flip off the $#@%*&! SOB who cut you off right in front of your kid, right? I thought the middle finger under the steering wheel trick was my own aggressive Jersey Girl driver-turned-mom adaptation, until one of my be-a-better-person sheroes — Texas born-and-bred Brené Brown — admitted to doing it too in her book, Rising Strong. I feel so much less alone now.
Pray To The Parenting Gods
O, Lord of Toddler Sleep, hear my prayer. Cast thy sleepy dust over this small, disgruntled child, and deliver me from fatigue-induced crankiness and biting. Please keep him in your care until after sunrise, or at least long enough to enjoy a glass or two of wine and some, uh, quality time with my partner. In your drowsy name, Amen.
Do A Victory Dance
Sometimes, your prayers to the parenting gods are actually answered in the affirmative, and everything is just going right. When that happens, you kinda have to do a little dance in your imaginary end zone to celebrate. Day to day, mom life is all about the small victories.
Make Grown-Up Plans With Her Partner
Flirty texts don't send themselves, so you have to sneak those in where you can. Foreplay starts in the morning, right?
Pour Something Tall And Strong
"The day is done. They say goodnight. And somebody turns off the light. The moon is high, adult beverages are fine. Mama sips, and sips, and sips, her wine."