Well, Readers, it has finally happened. Years of awkward training has at last paid off and the waiting is over. I am officially THAT Mom. You all know who I am talking about. The mom that makes all other moms say, "Bless her Heart, but..." The mom that makes all the other moms look sane. The one that all the Perfect Moms look at out the sides of their eyes because to look directly at THAT Mom would surely produce some sort of Medusa-like horror. The mom that just can't hold it together until bedtime. The mom that all the other moms don't really want to claim. The mom that the other moms all roll their eyes at, breathe a sigh of relief, and whisper, "Well, at least I'm not like THAT Mom." Well, I am THAT Mom and here is why:
Because I seriously unpacked 3 pantyliners, 2 baby food pouches, an Aldi granola bar, a Ziploc bag full of spare clothes, 4 loose graham crackers, a cheese stick wrapper, and 9 Color-Wonder markers out of a stained old backpack while looking for a bandaid before the Perfect Mom next to me proceeded to produce one out of her monogrammed diaper bag. I thanked her and then fed the toddler the Aldi granola bar under the No Food in the Play Area sign and the increasingly annoyed glares of the Perfect Mom. I am THAT Mom.
Because daily summer Freezie-Pops are a perfectly acceptable occurrence in my house. And if you want to eat them on the couch, go at it. I am THAT Mom.
Because I can't muster up any interest in milestones and I actually don't know when they are supposed to happen because I let my children color all over the handouts that the doctor's office gives me. And I can't pretend to be fascinated when random moms tell me how their 8-month-olds are walking or that their 16-month-olds potty trained or that everyone in their house under 5 is playing the violin. All I can do is stare at them blankly until they change the subject or go away. I am THAT Mom.
Because I don't see anything wrong with giving kids occasional underdogs while they are on the swings. I am THAT Mom.
Because sometimes the first thought I have in the morning is "How long until I get to go back to bed?" I am THAT Mom.
Because I have lost the Butt Battle. If my child hits yours, I am there in a flash to deal with it. If my child won't share with yours, I am all over it. If my child tells your child a dirty joke whose sole punchline is the word "Butt" followed by hysterical laughter and uncontrolled snorting, you are on your own. I am not getting up for that. I am THAT Mom.
Because if you want to climb up the slide while no one is coming down the slide, feel free. I am THAT Mom.
Because I don't want to talk about potty training. I am thrilled that your baby potty trained in 1 hour. My children seem to average about 2 years to figure it out, and yes, the 3-year-old is still wearing a diaper. Fair warning; if you say anything to me about that, I am going to announce to the park, in my loudest voice, "Wow. You seem inordinately interested in what is going on in my son's pants." I am THAT Mom.
Because I just don't want to make my own laundry detergent. I am THAT Mom.
Because sometimes I just drive around because the car has air conditioning and my children are strapped in and can't paw at me and I can turn up the radio and pretend I can't hear their incessant requests for snacks and stories and sweets. Plus, I'm already late; might as well take the long way. I am THAT Mom.
Because it is way more important to me that my children are kind, generous, and happy than smart, talented, or first. I am THAT Mom.
Because sometimes it is just easier to let the child throw herself on the ground and wail it on out. We are at the park, not the library, so let's cool it with the concerned looks and whispers. Tantrums happen. I am THAT Mom.
Because grapes, graham crackers, carrots, and cheese sticks hits the major food groups and is just fine for dinner. I am THAT Mom.
Because I change my baby's diaper in the trunk of my van in the parking lot of Target. If you don't want to see, or smell, park somewhere else. I am THAT Mom.
Because even though I know that I am not prepared, under-staffed, and way outnumbered, I am still taking them to the zoo/museum/water park. I am THAT Mom.
Because I am never buying an Elf on the Shelf; it's creepy and too much work. I am THAT Mom.
Because I don't think being a stay-at-home mom means that I have to give up my entire identity and actually stay in my home every second of the day. I don't think being a stay-at-home mom means I have to be civil when asked when I am "going back to work." I don't think being a stay-at-home mom means that I suddenly have to be good at cooking and cleaning and crafts. I don't think being a stay-at-home mom means that I didn't make, and don't daily make, sacrifices, changes, and contributions to society, in order to raise my children, and I don't think that it means I have to be in a rapturous state of gratitude every single second of the day that I am "allowed" to stay home and raise them. I think being a stay-at-home mom is complicated and that it means what it means for me and no one else. I am THAT Mom.
Because I am just gonna buy the hummus; tahini is expensive. I am THAT Mom.
Because yes, I sure am gonna give her back the sippy cup that she flung onto the floor, random Grandma who picked it up and didn't want to return it to me because it is now "filthy." Immune systems gotta grow somehow. I am THAT Mom.
Because as I laid there on the living room floor with a brutal case of the why-is-it-only-4:30s, I told the children they could do whatever they wanted, just "please, don't kill each other." I am THAT Mom.
Because I had a 10 minute stand-off in the front lawn with my toddler because I was not going to pick up the box of crackers he threw on the ground. I hope you got a good show, lady who drove slowly by twice. He did pick it up. I am THAT Mom.
Because I let my 20-month-old baby throw paper airplanes in the room-sized wind tunnel with a 4th grade field trip and adamantly refused to "get her out of the way." She needs to learn too, and if she is pushed down, she will get back up. She is strong and I am 3 feet away. Your 4th graders could also learn a little patience and care, as well. No one owns the museum. I am THAT Mom.
Because box-mix Brownies are still Brownies. I am THAT Mom.
Because I am just trying to get them to adulthood over here, anyway I can. I am THAT Mom.
Because we did this. And it was awesome. I am THAT Mom.
I am THAT Mom. And I no longer think THAT is altogether a bad thing. I am just gonna be Super Preschooler's Mom. Super Toddler's Mom. Super Baby's Mom. Super anyone else who wants to someday show up's Mom. That is the best I can do. And if other moms want to look at me and roll their eyes and use me to make themselves feel like better moms, that is totally fine with me. We all need a little confidence sometimes and I don't mind being a rung on your ladder to better self-esteem. Do what you need to do, I will happily be THAT Mom for you. Because I just read that list and don't really think any of it is gonna scar my children, ruin their childhood, or generate awful adults. You other moms out there do whatever you need to do for your children and think about me any ol' way you please. It's totally cool.
Just don't you dare come over here with any of your potty training tips, because THIS Mom does not play around with that and will call you out on your bragging. Don't lie; that's what it is. Fair warning.