I blame the question on the wine. It had been a very busy night so, while the children ran amuck in our front yard, I drank a glass of white wine and ate a cupcake from the Sugar Shack.
One of the benefits of having a derby girl live around the corner is that we love to share stuff with each other. That night, Punch showed up out of nowhere with a red velvet cupcake. Vito and I scarfed it down secretly and tossed the paper wrapper behind the porch furniture before my other two children could ask for some.
If you are judging me for that, than you do not have a lot of children and your opinion is completely irrelevant and useless for a woman in my situation.
After watching them burn off some energy racing each other up and down the sidewalk, I called out that it was time to get ready for bed. I herded them all inside and up the stairs.
I know I make it sound like I have a legion of children but sometimes it feels that way.
Bath time almost always results in the discovery of Isaac’s latest adventures in body art with markers, face paint or stickers. Sometimes it’s a little design and other times marker can be found in his ears, around his eyes and even on the tip of his penis. I always sigh and ask him why. He always smiles and replies cheerfully with some superhero story he came up with to justify the body art always ending with the declaration that, “it’s pretty cool.”
On this night, I was feeling some pretty serious motherly guilt. My week consisted of a Mother’s Day appeal (that I am super proud of), soccer games and roller derby. We were constantly on the go. Even Levi volunteered this week! It was all good stuff but there was a lot of it. My laundry hampers and dirty dishes runneth over.
Guilt and white wine make you do strange things.
I asked my children a big question.
“If I could do one thing to be a better mother to you, what would it be?”
I then waited for the answer I expected. I waited for them to tell me that my absence was ruining their lives. I waited for them to say that they wanted clean clothes and the ability to always find a clean cup. I fought the urge to take back the question because my mommy guilt was already giving me so many answers.
My failures listed in alphabetical order (not exhaustive);
- Bad cook
- Forgetful grocer
- Laundry slacker
- Roller derby addict
- Soccer season hater
- Working mother
I started to brace myself when Isaiah said he did not want to answer for fear of hurting my feelings.
Oh. God. I am a terrible mother.
Here it is. Here is the list. They had five things I could do to become a better mother.
- Let me walk around the block by myself. ~Isaiah
- Let me play more computer games. ~Isaac
- Find more stickers to decorate my bed. ~Isaac
- Let me stay up later. ~Isaiah
- Let me cross the street by myself. I am old enough to look for cars. ~Isaac
Um, so what you’re saying is, I am not ruining your life.
I prodded them a bit further to make sure this was their official list of requests. This sounds like a request for me to step back a little further out of their lives. This does not sound like a list from children abandoned by a roller derby momma with activist tendencies.
Color me surprised.
My mommy guilt was screaming “HOVER!” while my children are asking for more independence.
I love those babies. They aren’t babies though, are they? They are kids. Their separateness from by body continues to grow and stretch even now. Maybe childbirth is so painful because it never really ends. The process of guiding, growing and releasing people into the world is lifelong.
As a mother, I am not completely convinced that our schedule is not too hectic. It is my job to concern myself with those things. It is my job to check in and make sure that everyone is feeling loved during the car rides, the costume changes and the chores. Apparently, it is also my job to find more stickers for Isaac’s bed.
I will lay off of the wine and cupcake combo for a while though. I think it’s a hallucinogenic agent.
What kind of mother asks such stupid questions?