My Awesome (Average) Mom
Sometimes we compare ourselves to other moms and feel we come up short. But things aren’t always as they seem—even when they appear to be written plain as day.
Last spring, my son Wendell lost his phone at our annual school fundraiser fun day. Another mom found it in the parking lot and knew to look for “mom” to find the phone’s owner. On my son’s phone though I’m saved as “My Awesome Mom” because I programmed it that way and he never changed it. I think it is pretty funny. We arranged to meet the mom in the parking lot and she gave my son his phone.
Here’s the sad part though. I ran into this mom again the other day. “I think of you every day,” she said. “I am so jealous that your son programmed your number in as ‘My Awesome Mom.’ And every day I’m trying to be awesome so my son thinks of me that way too.”
Oh no. I had to correct her. I told her I had put my number in that way. A wave of relief washed over her face and we laughed.
In reality, I’m a pretty average mom. But I do my best. I try to keep the kids fed and teach them how to live as good citizens in the world. Most important of all, I try to keep them young and protect them from learning about things before they have to.
Recently, though, that backfired. My daughter is in the 7th grade, the year of “The Talk” in health class. I thought we got a big WARNING letter home beforehand, so I had never gotten around to explaining the birds and the bees. Big mistake.
Low and behold, on a recent Friday, they got “The Talk” without warning, complete with videos and everything. To top it off, my daughter had just learned in math class how important it is to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Ugh. You know where this is going.
So yes, in health class, my daughter raised her hand and asked, “What is an erector?” but using the right word. The entire class laughed. She laughed too and passed it off as though she was joking. It was a pretty horrible, really bad day for her.
On the way home, she ran into my neighbor Jenny who asked how her day went. “Not so great,” she said and stopped in Jenny’s for tea. My daughter explained it all to Jenny who said, “It is a beautiful thing between two people who love each other and if your mom doesn’t want to explain it to you, I am happy to fill you in.”
Jenny is my dear friend. We have similar values. I deeply appreciate that she was there to catch my daughter at the end of her day and help out. I was at work and oblivious.
So the next day, my daughter and I got Indian food to have the talk. She had a ton of questions.
“That took 3 minutes,” she said when the questions were all over. “Was that so bad? You could have had that talk with me anytime.” Yes. I’m winning the award for Most Average Mom Ever.
Here’s the icing on the cake of my mom stories. Each year, my husband and I throw a St. Patrick’s Day party. We invite everyone we know because we don’t want anyone to feel left out. We get the beer and wine and ask everyone to bring a snack to share. It keeps it manageable. In school the other day (the same school where the teachers know I neglected to have “The Talk”) my daughter explained to her class how “great” her mom is.
“My mom has a St. Patrick’s Day party every year,” she says. “When she drinks a lot, I get cake for breakfast.” In my defense, I do set out cake for the kids when I’m doing the cleanup at 2:00 a.m. I do this because I know they are going to go find it anyway and that way I can get rid of it and pitch the rest. Makes sense at 2:00 a.m. usually. She continues her story to her entire class.
“And when my mom has a REAL lot to drink I get cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” I don’t think that is actually true. It is one of my main jobs as a mom to make sure my kids receive proper nutrition—even on “slow days.”
At the first parent meeting of school every year, our principal says, “We ask you to be skeptical of everything you child says goes on at school. We will return the same courtesy to you when you child tells us what goes on at home.” This always makes me smile. However, I may have to volunteer to be the PTA President or something to salvage my Average Mom reputation.
For all of us, my point is that things aren’t always as they seem. If you’re doing your best, you are doing a good job Mom or Dad. Don’t worry about everyone else.
Margee Moore is a mother of two and a marketing professional. She has not won any awards for parenting but is author of Sleeping with the Laundry: Notes from the Mommy Track.