Part one of this piece revealed some of the raw truths of parenting from the parent’s perspective. Now let’s see how a one year old feels about it.
Perfection is overrated, and a total myth in parenthood.
Before my son was born almost seven years ago, I proudly stated he would watch no TV, eat only organic, drink only breast milk until one year of age, be in Spanish immersion classes, dress super cool like his fashionista mama…the list goes.
I had daydreams of my own self along the lines of super working mom, up before dawn to practice yoga or workout, succeed in my son sleeping through the night as soon as possible, have my family life and work life perfectly balanced and be able to give 100% to both…again the laughable list went on and on.
And then he was born.
Around one year of age a typical day looked like this, from his perspective:
Hmmmm, the sound of ONE bird chirping, must be time to get up!
Where is she? That one day she was up early ready to come get me in her funny tight clothes all sweaty. I wonder why that hasn’t happened again? Maybe I need to scream louder, or make a different sound.
EEEEEKKKKKKK! Eek eek eek eek!
Where the heck ARE they? Maybe they left. Maybe that lady is here who puts me to bed sometimes. Why does she come over and Mommy and Daddy leave? Why would they ever want to not be with me? Why does that lady come over so often??
Finally, what took ya so long ma? Geeze, you look tired. You have slept two whole hours since I saw you last, you really should get more sleep.
Mmmmm cottage cheese and apple juice in Mom and Dad’s bed, my favorite. Oops, I spilled the whole bowl. Maybe if I mush it around with my spoon it will go away. Nope, ok , licking it up should work. Ah there, clean as a whistle! They won’t even notice the hard spot on the sheets as it dries.
Oh my favorite, a bottle of milk. This cold milk from the weird white container doesn’t taste the same as that sweet warm milk I got a looooooooonnng time ago. I am talking long. Like six whole months. I wonder why I don’t get that sweet warm milk anymore from mama? Why did she just kinda stop giving it to me one day? Huh.
Sponge Bob is on, YES! Oh, nope, she caught it…darn it WHEN will I be allowed to watch that high quality show? OK, Wonder Pets will do for now.
And another episode.
And another…actually it’s the same one I just watched! Does she think I won’t notice!?
Wow va va voom! Mama is all dolled up! I wonder where she goes dressed up like that? She’s back now, getting me all dolled up. Except I hate these pants. She and Daddy keep saying all these words that make them sound like crazy people in weird high pitched tones. They’re smiling and poking at me, must be a good thing. Maybe if I poop now, it will mess these pants up and she will have to give me better ones.
It didn’t work. Mama also isn’t smiling anymore. I hate these pants too, plain jeans ick. Pooping again will SURELY bring out the good pair I like, and maybe a little spit up too. There, now THAT’S what I call an outfit! Actually, if I poop one more time, she will send me to play with my friends at that place she takes me to in my PJ’s, she’s done it before! I don’t know why they try to put me in all that fussy stuff anyway.
Car seat time! Wonder what I get to listen to today? NPR again? BORING! Oh good, she changed it. I can kick my legs to this for sure. I am glad I get to listen to the good stuff and not that silly kid music.
Mama? Where did you go?? It has been like YEARS since you put me in the car in this car seat!
I don’t know where she goes for so long but she comes back with all this stuff…bags, food, a cup in one hand for her, a cup in another for me. How does one person carry so much? Must be a superhero skill. She sure does suck down whatever brown stuff is in that cup. Maybe she should put it in one of my bottles. Then it wouldn’t spill all over every day making her scream those weird words that Daddy says she has to stop saying soon. I think I will try to say one. “Ffffffuuuu.” Too hard. I like saying “mama” better, she gets so happy when I do.
I wonder what she packed in my lunch today? I like the food she mushes up in the kitchen the best, but sometimes I get something called Lunchables. My teachers give me a weird look when they take those out of my lunchbox and give them to me, huh, wonder why because they taste sooo good.
I don’t want her to go. I like this place but it isn’t the same as home. I know if I cry then she gets a tear in her eye, but I don’t want her to leave. I feel better when I get sassy to suck on, she knows that. I get sassy, she kisses me, and says every time “Honey I love you, and remember, Mommy and Daddy ALWAYS come back.”
Someone is petting my face as I nap. MOMMY! I love this part of the day. She’s so smiley, I am so happy, and we go home. Mommy and Daddy always come back. I love my Mommy, my Daddy and my life just as it is.
Yes, tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, let’s do this together.
Let’s forgo pursuit of perfection for the knowledge we are enough, just as we are, in the eyes of our little ones.
Let’s forgo shaming ourselves or other moms for not making it to 12 months of breastfeeding (or for not doing it at all!) and instead revel in the knowledge that love is the best food of all.
Better yet, let’s actually let our kids see we are perfect in our imperfection and that messy is beautiful when worn with integrity and authenticity.