There are days when my Moose goes to bed and I am like, "damn. I was a great Mom today! Moosey ate 4 servings of veggies, a pint of berries and some steak, we didn't watch any TV, and we played outside all day. I'm knocking this parenting thing out of the park!"
And then there are the days where I am like, "man, I could have done a better job. We watched too much TV, ate too much junk, didn't do enough active playing, and I wasn't as engaged as I should have been. Total Fail."
Yesterday was one of those days.
Let me back up. I was a great Mom this weekend. I took Myra to do all kinds of special stuff. We had a playdate with her best buddy on Saturday morning. My friend and I took them to Barnes and Noble to play with the trains, read books, and hear story time with Clifford. We then took them to the cupcake bakery to enjoy a special treat. That day same, after a short nap, Josh and I took her to go swimming at the local indoor pool and then went out to dinner for noodles (her favorite)! It was a great day.
Sunday was pretty darn good too. We took Myra to play outside and then when the weather got crappy, we pulled out the rain gear and jumped in puddles and played in the mud. She ate grilled chicken, steak, and peppers for dinner. It was a good day. I felt like I had totally nailed this whole parenting thing.
Then came Monday. Stupid, stupid Monday. And this Monday came in with rain, snow, ice, and sub-freezing temps. It also came in with me feeling tired and under the weather (literally, not figuratively...I am sick of winter). When I picked Myra up from school (down the hall from my office because she goes to school at the daycare that I manage part-time), she wasn't ready to go home, so she threw a giant fit and I had to drag her out of the school kicking and screaming.
She screamed the entire way home because she was overtired (she had opted to sing and laugh the first hour of nap time instead of getting her much-needed sleep).
So, I did what all shitty mothers do and I walked in the door and turned on Sesame Street. For an entire hour. And not so that I could cook dinner or do anything else productive. So that I could sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing.
Yup. Like I said, shitty parent.
At least it's educational...
We are not opposed to TV in our house, but we do limit it and we very rarely watch an hour at a time and never at that time of day. We typically come home and read books, color, or play babies. When it is nice, we go outside.
But yesterday watched TV. For an hour. When it was over, she threw a fit. So I made another "great" parenting decision. Instead of doing a family dinner, we fed Myra so that she could go to bed early and we could eat in peace instead of with a kicking and screaming 2 year old. After dinner though, she was rewarded with another treat before bed. 15 more minutes of TV. Bravo, Becky, nice work.
Clearly this is not my essay for the parent of the year award.
So, as we were reading books before bed last night, Myra turned to look at me suddenly, threw her arms around my neck, and buried my head into my shoulder. She said, "give Mommy a hug" and stayed like that for a good solid minute (aka eternity for a 2 year old).
And it melted my heart. It made me realize that even on the days when we perceive ourselves as being shitty parents, our kids love us unconditionally. They don't care if they got too much TV or not enough "good" food or if they didn't have enough active / creative / open-ended / outdoor / etc play. That stuff is all for us to feel good about ourselves as parents. Our children truly only care that we are there with them and that we love them.
And if that is the measure of being a good parent, I truly am nailing it. And I bet you are too.