While raising my kids I always wanted to be that mom. The mom who kept her front door unlocked during daylight hours so all the neighborhood kids could walk on in whenever they wanted. The mom who set up playdates at her house and puff-painted with her children and their best friends (for that week). But, honestly, I didn’t really “want” to be that mom – tho I did believe I was supposed to be. Most the mom’s I knew were that cool and, naturally, I wanted to be that cool, too. So, I gave it shot.
Yup. That’s all it took. O. N. E. time. Suddenly being the cool mom didn’t seem so appealing. I knew if I would’ve continued being “that mom” my title would switch from cool to crazy in a flash. Like, highly medicated – bouncy room crazy.
I’m gonna get super honest with y’all right now. My closest friends only know this about me but no one else…until now. I don’t like kids.
You read it right. I’m not a fan of kids. I mean, children are a beautiful creature. And some more beautiful than others (let’s be honest) Some are more beautiful when they sleep. Others, when they are never seen. And most of that is their parents fault. But, nevertheless, when those children were at my first, “that mom”, gathering – I quickly learned that lives were in danger.
There was eye-rolling when asked not to eat ice-cream on the couch. There was pushing other kids out of the way to get the first snack. And I wasn’t even the one doing the pushing. There was mocking of my requests. I kid you not. I saw visions of my husband sending out a mass email pleading with our friends and family to donate toward my bail money.
My mind wandered back several years to an incident that, unfortunately, was still taking up residence in my heart.
You know what hurts really badly when you already believe you don’t deserve to be a mom and you’re already scared of screwing up the privilege of having children? Being told that you are a bad parent.
That happened one evening in our home when our kids were super young. Kota was still in diapers. The news stopped my heart and breath. I knew right then that I had made, yet, another mistake. The first mistake was having abortions. This mistake was not having abortions. Yes, that actually crossed my mind. Clearly I was not meant to be a mom. I’m being told I don’t how to be. How could I have ever thought I’d make a good one.
Immediately I shifted my parenting “skills”. I began parenting out of fear – fear that my kids would become misdemeanors – fear that I would have to hear those words again…”You are a bad parent.” No one wants to hear that, even if they are a terrible parent. And I’m not saying that I was not in need of improvement cuz I KNOW I was, and still am today. But a bad parent? Had my kids become those toddlers that no one wanted around? Had they become a burden on others?
Back to our “that mom” debacle, standing in the middle of my house while an army of unruly, kinda smelly, kids took over my home, I zone in on Kass and Kota. They looked different to me. They were figgity, anxious. It looked as if they were fixin to explode. And that was a mess I wasn’t gonna clean. Realizing my kids were being sent mixed signals, I asked the field of bad seeds to go home. Within a few minutes the house was empty…and quiet. My children’s eyes were huge as they waited with bated breath for me to say something. My first words… Is that how you act at other people’s homes?
Well, maybe I have before, mama. I’m sorry.
How did this friend date make you feel?
Scared, she answered.
Why?, I asked.
I thought they were gonna do something real bad and I was afraid I’d get in trouble.
I’m sorry, sweetie. So, you felt burdened by their behavior, didn’t you?
I think so, mama.
Do me a favor, Kass…(and Kota was in the room, too, so this was just as much a lesson for him) Remember this the next time you are with others, away from home. Remember that every single thing you choose to do in life will affect the people around you. Good or bad. So do this for me, for you and for them…Be a blessing – not a burden.
I tell them the same thing to this day and they’re 19 and 16. In fact, they often finish the statement for me.
Here’s the thing. Those children’s behavior painted a picture in my mind of who their parents were and I judged them all for it. Now, they could have just been having an off day. At the same time. Every one of them. In my house. Simultaneously. Regardless, it was a burden and because of it I never again had kids over to our house. They scared the “that mom” straight out of me!
So, if you are reading this and my kids have ever been a burden on you – text me. I will send them right over to wash all your baseboards! I’m not playing.