Harried, overwhelmed, inadequate. That’s how I felt one morning while standing over the breakfast I’d prepared for my 11-year-old son. I’d burnt the bottom of a bagel, the last bagel. Among the lapping of the dog at the empty dog bowl, the annoying motor sound of the leaking fridge, there was sobbing. “I’m a crap Mom!” I said out loud while trying to slice off the charred chunk and keep my tears from falling into the butter. “I can’t do anything right.”
I don’t know how my mom did it. She raised two kids, worked, kept an immaculate house.
There are dozens of dog hair tumbleweeds rolling about my floors. And I can’t even toast a proper bagel for my one kid.
Being a working Mom ain’t no joke. Being a Mom period ain’t no joke. I’ve been the stay-at-home and the working. They both have their challenges. Time is never on your side.
I am a perfectionist but I have had to learn to change my idea of perfection. And I certainly can’t compare myself to other Moms. God forbid go onto Facebook and see all the seemingly perfectionism going on there. Makes me want to choke on a bagel. But nothing is perfect. There’s always a burnt bagel or a sob fest or a moment of defeat behind gorgeous repurposed doors.
I can look back at my childhood and glorify and romanticize. But it had its moments, too.
My mom usually packed my lunch. Most of the time it was decent enough for a kid in the 80’s in the South. There was a lot of white bread and pimento cheese and I think maybe a piece of fruit every once in a while. But sometimes the content of the sandwich consisted only of mayonnaise. Which I hated. But the crusts were cut off. And while I choked down the vile thing I kind of felt sorry for my mom cause I knew she was doing the best she could do. And she left little “I love you” notes in my Smurfs lunchbox.
I never wanted her to feel bad about the mayo sandwiches so I never said anything about it.
After I salvaged my son’s bagel I brought it to him while holding back tears.
A few minutes later I heard him call out that it was the best bagel he’d ever eaten. And that I was the best Mom there could ever be.
We may not be perfect. In other people’s minds and especially our own. But we do the best we can. And a special note, gratitude, and some sugar and cinnamon goes a long way.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom