Tuesday, March 22, 2011

she will forgive me

Her judging eyes cut through me like a hot knife slicing warm butter. My soul melted a little inside as I saw the ice of her vains begin to freeze me like an unwanted blemish.

My heart raced with anticipation. That dread. That guilt. “Could I be doing more?”

She has four kids, groomed to perfection. Gourmet meals adorn her table, and her house has the delightful stench of cleanliness.

My hatred for her boils my blood, but stems not from her idealistic misinterpretation of perfection but from my guilt. Perhaps I could be a better mother. Perhaps I could be a better wife.

Parenthood is like running a marathon. It burns training for it, it is exhausting beyond measure, there are times you just want to give up, but in the end it is one of the most rewarding things you've ever chosen to devote your time to.

While I delve into my mom guilt, basking in the evilness of her critical stare, I know the truth.

 I don’t always do organic foods, whole wheat, or even fruits and veggies. Sometimes we survive completely on macaroni, cheese, and spaghettios. Because it is less time consuming.

 There are days when I insist I have to go to the bathroom rather than read Green Eggs and Ham for the 346th time. Because it saves my sanity.

I may not keep my house in impecable shape. Because I have more important things to devote my time to.

I am not cookie cutter Mom. Those eyes can slice and dice me however they want to, because I know that I am doing it right.

I may not follow the mass media recommendations or the accepted social norms, but I know that I am raising a daughter that exemplifies the morals my husband and I share. A daughter that I am proud to call mine.

I'm raising a daughter that won't care if she had spaghettios because we spent extra time cuddling or swinging on the back porch.

I know she'll forgive me for the unbaked bread, the dusty china cabinet, and the unfolded socks.

I know she'll forgive me for the unwashed windows, tousled beds, and the fast food dinners.

I'm raising a daughter that will forgive me for my imperfections, because those are the very same traits that make me her mom.

The beauty of parenthood is that it is yours, all yours. You choose the value of your time, and you pay the price.

I choose to be her loving, playful, teacher and Mom first and foremost, and everything else may wait. I pray she'll forgive me for that.

*This post was written in response to the Red Dress Club's prompt about forgiveness. Constructive criticism is welcomed and greatly appreciated. I strive to improve my writing and always appreciate your feedback in doing so.*


Andrea Anthony said...

I'm not a mom and I while I want to be, I don't envy you moms this aspect of motherhood. I hear all the time about the judgy moms who are so competitive about parenting, like it's a competition. but what I love about this post? is that you didn't ask for forgiveness or even forgive the judgy mom. you asked the one person who matters: your daughter. so unique and I like it. if you made me offer some form of crit, I would have liked to see you bring it back to the judgy mom just a little bit. close out the scene, as it were. but well done!

GalitBreen said...

I really appreciate what you wrote here. We're so hard on ourselves. So sure that there's more that we could be doing.

I love how you flipped it to look at things from your daughter's point of view. You're right, that china cabinet doesn't matter to her. At all!

These words: "delightful stench" really struck a chord with me in their poetic opposite-ness. Genius, really.

The ending spurts of forgiveness worked extremely well!

Therichmodfam said...

Leah! I LOVE this post!

This really struck a chord with me. I'm always comparing myself to moms even before I am one and hoping I will be the best. I'm bookmarking this so I can read it when nothing is dusted and my kids are screaming because they want Mac n cheese instead of broccoli. And all of the other things that won't always get done. I nanny for a woman who is constantly trying to perfect her life, when in all actuality, she's just paying someone else to hang out with her kids while she makes a 4 course meal that no one's going to eat.

But Ryanne may not forgive you for mixing up restaurants when she's hungry ;) hehe

Amy said...

This is so great!

The beauty of parenthood is that it is yours, all yours.

This line is now my all time favorite motto. Thanks!

I wish everyone thought this way, life would be much more pleasant.

Mama Track said...

This really resonated with me. I wish my own home were cleaner and that my child and I were better groomed all the time. But, like you, I've made a choice. Way to go, mama!

I really appreciated your marathon simile--very apt. And the juxtaposition of cuddling and spaghettios really puts things in perspective.

I loved the way you started the post with your emotions. I think it would be interesting to see more of that--maybe something at the end about how you feel about her forgiveness (which of course is going to come)? Just a thought though.

Overall, well done!

Bobbi Duncan said...

Well done. It's freeing... and sobering a bit... when we realize that we may never live up to our 'ideals' but that things are okay just the way they are.

The part about Green Eggs and Ham cracked me up. I remember those moments when my nephew went through his Good Night Moon phase. Oh god.. the memories...and that red balloon.

In terms of crit, I was confused the first couple of reads about who the her was in the first paragraph. The judgy mom - because you switched over to talking about your daughter and never really returned to this other person.

Love how your voice gets stronger and stronger throughout the piece. You really get on a roll, right about the time you mention the macaroni.

Good job!


@libismorgan said...

Wow. I find myself nodding along with every word you say... I, too, am a mac-and-cheese-probably-too-often kind of mom, so this spoke to me.
I was a little confused at the start; referring to "she," I expected this to be about a judgy mother-in-law or your own mom, not all of the other moms in general... it took me a bit to realize that you weren't feeling/being judged by a specific person.
The "delightful stench of cleanliness" line made me smile; it's a great turn of phrase!

Jennie B said...

This post improved as it went along. I think it took you a few paragraphs to find your voice, but once you did, you made a strong point that I think so many mothers can relate to. We are not perfect, and we hope our kids will forgive us our imperfections. They may not even notice them!

Your first paragraph was full of cliche, and I don't think it was necessary. The image of the "perfect" mom is a great contrast in the piece, but either use it to tell the story or drop it entirely. You honestly don't need it - your point of view is strong enough without it.

You have a lot of metaphor through out, and some, like the marathon one, are great, but they are kind of dropped in there and don't tie in to the rest of the piece.

Overall, you are a really strong writer and as someone who has done drive-thru dinner once or twice, I appreciate your message!

WTH am I Doing? said...

I love this. So much. I know *just* where you're coming from.

I look at my unvacuumed car, or the table with piles, or the clothes that haven't had the decency to hang themselves up yet...and sometimes I feel bad that I'm not the mom with the immaculately kept existence full of organic foods and kids who like veggies. But then, I do the best I can, and I am happy with the relationship I have with my kids. The values that they learn from me.

I love your approach to this. Well done! :)

~visiting from TRDC

MyLittleMiracles said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! So very true! And I'll be an imperfect mommy anyday!!

Mandyland said...

You wrote a post that struck a chord with any mother.

You seemed to have found your groove about halfway through, but I agree with previous comments that it seemd as though you dropped the "other mother".

I think it would have resonated even more if that other mother turned out to be your own expectations, melding into the reality you want to create for your daughter.

The last paragraph really left me with a strong urge to pump my fist and yell, "Yeah!"

Great job.

(Visiting from TRDC)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Amen! She will remember all the time and memories you gave her.


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