I received a great Christmas present from my best friend. It’s a book called PostSecret, which is the collected results of an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. Confessions have included “I don’t care about recycling (but I pretend I do),” “I waste office supplies because I hate my boss,” and this gem, which is found currently on the project’s website: “One time I got so mad at my husband that I went out to the garage and beat up my son’s birthday piñata and then told him that Daddy accidentally ran over it.”
It got me thinking about the things I might confess.
OK, don’t get too excited, I’m not about to reveal my deepest, darkest secrets to you in a blog post. Jeez.
But we moms have extraordinarily high expectations for ourselves and each other. We’re quick to judge each other, and even quicker to judge ourselves. I think I’m a pretty good mom, but there are a lot of things I do and say and feel that I’ve been ashamed to admit, even to myself, when it comes to being a mom. And maybe you have your own mommy secrets, too. So consider this my PostSecret, Mommy Edition. Feel free to comment with your own mommy confessions!
1. I don’t like to play. This is a biggie. In my opinion, it’s perhaps the thing I’m most embarrassed and ashamed about, and what I feel may be my biggest failing as a mom. My four-year-old daughter loves to play dolls. She creates elaborate scenarios with her princess Barbie dolls, and she has three dollhouses that come complete with at least four doll families. And the most dreaded words to my ears are: “Mommy, will you play dolls with me?” I will do almost anything to avoid it—I’ll say I have to cook dinner, clean the house, talk to Daddy, arrange my sock drawer…anything. And then I feel enormous guilt about it. If I say yes, which is about half the time, I’m bored out of my mind. And I think the true reason I don’t like it is that I don’t think I’m any good at it. I don’t feel creative or inventive. I can’t ever come up with storylines. I feel silly, and stupid. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I think that maybe I just don’t know how to play.
2. I couldn’t give a rat’s patootey about Pinterest. My husband and I were having dinner with another couple over the holidays, and the wife was telling us about the cute tents she made for her son and all her nieces and nephews as Christmas gifts—a project that was inspired by Pinterest. And I was sitting there thinking to myself, “I really don’t understand how Pinterest works.” I’ve never once used it, and I really don’t plan to start. And here’s the thing: I DON’T CARE. For some reason, Pinterest has become a sort of must-have tool for moms, a kind of rite of passage. But I am not crafty. I feel like it would be hard to learn. And I really don’t want another damn thing I have to learn and then keep up with. I feel like I should care; I can’t muster the enthusiasm.
3. I use the TV as a babysitter. Please tell me I’m not the only one here who does this: I pick my daughter up from school, after a long day of work, and I just need time to sit my butt down on the couch and zone out with a glass of wine. And I say to my kid, “How about a movie?” I’m sorry, but how else do parents get stuff done without TV? How do they shower, cook dinner, talk on the phone, do laundry…anything? And when my daughter asks if I want to play dollhouse (see confession #1), I actually, on occasion, will say to her, “Honey, how about we just watch a movie?”
4. I don’t usually like other people’s kids. I was never a “kid person.” When I was younger and had a “real job” in a workplace, women would bring in their newborn babies to show off and I would be the only one not ooh-ing and aww-ing over them. I much preferred my cat. To me, all babies looked the same, and not in a good way. Then, something happened when I married my husband: I wanted to make a person who would be the perfect combination of us. I wanted to extend our relationship to another generation, to start, for lack of a better word, a project with him that would be ours and ours alone, forever. And when we finally, after years of trying (a heartbreaking time in our lives I’ll save for another blog post), conceived our perfect baby girl, I saw what all those people saw before. I fell deeply in love with my child. But here’s the thing: I didn’t magically become a lover of all children. For the most part, I am not interested in other kids. Sure, my daughter has some great friends that she plays with, and I’ve grown to love them. And that’s not to say that I am not interested in hearing other moms talk about their kids, or that I don’t get how much they love, are completely gaga for, their own children. But mostly, I don’t want to be around other kids. I don’t like the noise they make. I don’t understand them. So many of them seem too messy and overstimulated to me, and they have behaviors I don’t understand. But doesn’t this make me a monster? Shouldn’t moms like all kids? Well, there you go. I don’t.
5. I am completely OCD about my daughter’s toys. Kids lose stuff ALL THE TIME. I mean, it’s ridiculous that we keep buying them stuff when they are just going to lose it. And it’s even more ridiculous to get upset when they lose it or damage it, as if we didn’t know going in that this will happen. But yet, this morning, I am actually ANGRY at my daughter because she lost the skirt to her brand-new Anna doll (from the movie Frozen) that she got for Christmas. This after she insisted on taking the braids out of Anna’s hair. (My inner monologue, after she announced her plans to do that, went something like, “But it looks prettier like this! This is how she looks in the movie! Don’t you see that? And you’re only going to want me to put it back in braids later, and I won’t know how! And it’ll completely bother me that it will never look right again! What is wrong with you?”).So now, there’s the skirt. Which is gone. Which she had for a total of two weeks. Which she took off the doll in the back of my car and has since evaporated. And I fumed about it in the car this morning, all the way to school. And when Olivia asked, “Mommy, are you mad?” I said, “YES! I’m angry at you for losing that skirt!” And I actually pouted about it for ten minutes, so angry I didn’t even want to talk to her in the car, while she reassured me, “Mommy, it’s in the house somewhere, we’ll find it.” Yes, I know how stupid and awful and childish I sound. I also know what a freak I am that I can’t stand how she’s missing pieces from puzzles, shoes from dolls, the case for her Cinderella Blu-Ray, and hair clips that she has worn in her hair and taken off at school, never to be seen again. But knowing this doesn’t mean that I don’t get unreasonably agitated about it, and sometimes this will actually keep me awake at night.
OK, there you go. I’ve shown you my dirty little mommy secrets, and trust me, there are plenty more where they came from. Now you show me yours. What are your true mommy confessions?