Odd Mother OutMarch 10, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Giggles, Lollipop | 17 Comments
Before I was a mother, I knew exactly how to be a mother.
I remember, not long before Lollipop was born, watching a woman and her daughter at my favorite taco joint. The little girl was wearing mismatched shorts and a shirt, she had a purple stain on her lip, her hair poofed up like a knotted ball of twine. She fed herself beans.
I remember thinking: That mother needs to get it together. Needs to wipe her kid’s face, put her in clothes from the same color palette, find a comb already. And for goodness’ sake, don’t let the kid feed herself. Such a mess.
I remember thinking: I will not be that mother; that will not be my daughter.
Back to the Future
Last week, I took Lollipop and Giggles out to lunch. To my favorite burrito joint. It was crowded, so Lollipop snagged us a seat. She put her straw purse filled with matchbox cars and magnets on the silver tabletop. She sat down to wait for me in a purple and green princess dress. With many, many sequins. And her yellow headband? She had arranged it just so in her blond bird’s nest.
Giggles and I waited in line. He wore red house shoes. He had a prized pink butterfly clip stolen borrowed from Lollipop in his hair. He raced his fire truck up and down the metal walls.
We sat down with our food. We each fed ourselves. Rice got on the floor. Beans made our hands gooey. We were a mess.
Cue the Laugh Track
And then I remembered her, them. The mother and daughter from those many years ago. And I thought: I am exactly that mother. My sweet children are exactly like hers.
Feel free to have a good laugh. I did.
Don’t get me wrong. I still know exactly how to be a mother. And it’s exactly the opposite of what I once believed. The secret? Do what works. Do what works for you, for your child, for your family.
A Bean of Truth
If that means having a planned C-section or choosing a home birth, do it. If that means opting for formula or seeing five lactation consultants until your baby learns to latch, do it. If that means co-sleeping or toughing it out with some help from Ferber, by all means.
And if that means letting your toddler pick her own clothes to avoid a major meltdown and, in the midst of your wily mental trickery, forgetting to wipe the grape juice off her chin or run a comb through her hair? Well, I salute you for getting out the door. Because some days, even that’s impossible.
The secret? Do what works. Try not to judge. Know that one day, you’ll be right there. Wearing sequins and a bean mustache.