Before I became a mother, there were lots of things mothers were supposed to do and not do. Being a non-parent, of course I knew everything about how parenting was done. I had a long idealistic list of I-will-always-do-this and an even longer, more self-righteous list of I-will-never-do-that. Case closed. I can go home now knowing that I have set the world straight.

But then I became a mom and the lists were either dissolved with spit up or digested by my baby because I was never able to find them again. You know, just for reference.

Now I slink back into the reaches of my memory, like a dog who’s been caught eating the trash, and try to recreate the items on these terrible lists.

  1. My child will never watch TV or videos. Instead, we will read or do crafts. Ha! That was before I was with my child 24/7 and a 10-minute break became a life saver. Better a video viewing than a mommy who loses her shit, right?
  2. I will never stoop to all that kid food crap, like boxed mac and cheese and hot dogs. What was I thinking? That I should just starve my child? For a story about me trying to feed by 9-month old liver, click here.
  3. My child will be kind and respectful because that is how he will be treated.  Obviously, I had not factored in my short patience or our family’s bodily functions. Or that kids are just kids and part of figuring out how to be good is being rotten some of the time, or even a lot of the time.
  4. I will allow my child to learn from exploration. I won’t be so uptight as to cut them off from the delights of the world. While I have done this in large part, a girl can only take so much. I have had to draw the line and say things I never imagined humans could say to one another, like “Please take your finger out of your butt and go wash your hands,” or “It is not okay to rub your body against mommy’s leg like that.”
  5. If I have a boy, I will send a good man out into the world. Although I still wish for this with all my might (and think we will succeed), I realize now that I really don’t have control over the situation. I can do my best to teach him, but in the end I do not make this person who I call my child. He came into the world the person he is, and I am just here to feed him hot dogs and tell him not to hump my leg.

The lists were so much longer, but in the process of basking in the sunshine of being mommy and digging out through the volcanic ash of motherhood, I seem to have forgotten all the points. Thank God. Now I can just get on with the task at hand; loving the being I am here to love.

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