The end of the year always means awards season. The Grammy nominees were just announced last week and there is buzz about the Oscar worthy movies of 2013. I’m pretty sure there is no way I will ever win a Grammy or an Oscar (although I will tell you my singing skillz are much better than my acting), but there is also one other award I’m positive I won’t be getting any time soon. And that’s Mother of the Year.
I’m not saying that I am anywhere close to being a bad mother. I know I’m not a bad mother, nor will I ever be a bad mother. But, there are several things that I do that take me completely out of the running for Mother of the Year.
First of all, I give in way too easily. MacKenna is two and already knows how to manipulate the system. If she asks and whines and throws a tantrum long enough, I throw in the towel and give her what she wants. This is especially evident at dinner time when I fill her plate with delicious healthy foods and she continues to scream “Hot Dog!” And I want to scream back, “Just let me enjoy my dinner!” And since I do want to enjoy my dinner with my daughter and husband, I get up and fix her a freaking hot dog. Ugh.
I am getting better though about giving her what she wants. If she doesn’t eat what I give her, she doesn’t get something else when she says she all done (most days). Or she has to eat a few more bites of what I give her before she gets what she wants. Not ideal, but I’m getting better.
In addition to giving in, I have given in to giving her sweets. Not always because she asks for it (she does), but because I love to watch her face light up when she has a taste of a sugary treat. So, she takes after her mother with her love of sweets. They are occasional sweets, but “occasional” is becoming more and more frequent. I think I am starting to become a grandmother instead of a mom…
Her first taste of a Little Debbie snack cake. She thoroughly enjoyed it, despite what her face might otherwise say.
Not only do I give in way too easily, but I can’t keep a straight face when I tell her “no”. This is partially her fault though. If she does something she’s not supposed to, like get frustrated and throw something on the floor or bang her head on the door (what is wrong with my child?!), and I have to tell her “no”, she gives me this mischievous grin and I can’t help but bust out laughing. Again, I think she has figured out how to manipulate the system, and it leaves me wondering who is running this household, me or her?! Darn her cuteness! I just can’t help it!
I am also guilty of letting her watch TV – a lot. I know. Too much time in front of a TV screen can harm her brain development, but in my defense, most of the time the TV is on, she’s really not even watching it since she’s too busy playing. But, she knows every Bubble Guppies’ name and asks to watch them constantly. Along with watching Sesame Street YouTube videos on my cell phone, particularly Bruno Mars’ song Don’t Give Up. I do monitor what she is watching on TV and making sure it is more educational than mindless – Jeopardy is one of her favorites, but I do admit to watching Good Luck Charlie and Jessie on Disney Channel pretty frequently.
And those gender stereotypes? I have pretty much watched myself give in to every single one of them. Baby dolls? Yes. Headbands and hairbows? You bet. Pink blocks, balls, and toys? Of course. The first color MacKenna knew was pink (and orange). She walks around carrying her purse and pushing her doll in a stroller. We have tea parties and play dress up. And I absolutely love it! I admit to telling her how pretty she looks, sometimes as a way of getting her to let me cut her fingernails or put her hair in pigtails. While she occasionally plays with trucks and cars, she predominantly favors the girly toys. In fact, she loves my makeup and hairdryer so much that I bought her a Minnie Mouse beauty set for Christmas.
But, guess what? I’m OK with that. In fact, I’m OK with all of it. I recently had to leave some parenting advice for my sister-in-law who is due in less than 2 weeks with my sweet little nephew. My advice? It’s OK not to be the perfect mom. It’s taken me almost 2 years to realize it, but I’m not the perfect mom, nor will I ever be.
Yes, I give in to my child more often than I probably should, I bust out in laughter when I’m trying to discipline her (don’t worry, I don’t do this at school), and I tell her she is beautiful more than I tell her how smart she is. But, regardless of my (lack of) parenting skills, I know that I’m the best at giving hugs and kisses. I know right where her ticklish spots are to make her giggle uncontrollably. And I can play tea party almost as good as her daddy can (he’s really the best at it). If I can’t do anything else right, I know I have the love thing down. And I think (I hope) that with love, she’ll turn out just fine.