The Best Parent

Anyone else affected by this perpetual state of winter that we seem to be in? Now I love winter, and I love snow- probably even more than the next guy! Blizzard leaves you housebound? Love it. Snow being taller than me? Love it. Skiing, ice skating, snowman building, fort building, general trudging through the snow… I love it all! I am on the snow bandwagon. Until March. I draw the line at March.

I am tired of being stuck in the house. I am tired of only getting out to go to the store (for necessities). I am tired of the wild animals children jumping off the walls, because they too are tired of it.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed by it all, if it weren’t for the fact that in the beginning of February, I went skydiving and my chute didn’t open and I fractured a bone in my wrist falling in my driveway. So between a temporary cast (fiberglass cast on the inside, ace bandage on the outside), a permanent cast (did you know they make waterproof one now??), and a hard plastic zip-up brace… I’m still fairly immobile. I actually have less mobility in this new brace than I did in the cast, but at least this one is removable. Even though I’m only supposed to remove it once a day for cleaning and “gentle movements.” *Sigh*

I’m never one of those moms where everything is always perfect, but I am one who maybe overdoes things sometimes, because I so desperately want to be one of “those” moms. You know, their home is always perfectly in order, never so much as a toy out of place. Their food is always homemade and delicious, never from a box. Their children, and themselves, always look pristine, like they just walked out of a commercial. And don’t get me started on all the arts, crafts, school activities they have time and patience for.

Ok, so sometimes I am look like that mom. I make my meals from scratch, I have a well-labeled place for every toy. I have lots of supplies for arts and crafts, along with homeschooling material. I also stay up past midnight at least once a week to keep up with the cleaning. I am ridiculously anal about things being in the right place, to the point that my 6 year old has accused me of “only being concerned about cleaning.” And while I love to cook, try out new recipes and know exactly what ingredients are in our food, I spend approximately half my life worrying about what I’m going to make for dinner. The point is, there’s always a behind-the-scenes, no matter what it looks like from the outside.

Enter the never-ending winter, accompanied by being (temporarily) one-handed… let’s just say things have gone down hill for me. My laundry is pretty much on par, but the piles of it on my bed are starting to suffocate my sleeping space. The dishes take me hours to clean, and by the end of the day my house doesn’t really look any different than when the day started, the toys are just scattered across different areas of the house. And don’t even get me started on my appearance… I have three sweatshirts that fit over the cast. That’s right, three shirts for a month. You do the math. The new brace is so uncomfortable that it makes me think of the cast fondly. And it is murder to get off. Like almost not even worth taking it off. And I can’t put it back on by myself. It’s pretty awesome. So let’s just say that if you surprise me by stopping by, you may want to hold your nose, because showers are a pain and not frequent. My normal cooking has gone down the tubes with the (lack of) ability to use my right (dominant!) hand and now consists of chicken nuggets, pizza, waffles, and yogurt. And cereal. My kids think they’ve won the lotto, while I feel like a culinary failure. And homeschooling? (*insert crazy woman laughter here*) Ok, so there are moments of glory, but today I actually threatened to send my son with going to a school where he’d spend the day sitting in a chair with no access to mommy or siblings, if he didn’t sound out a word correctly. (Don’t worry, I promptly apologized and sent myself to time out.) This is clearly not my ideal version of myself.

The truth is, even though I have some viable reasons for the shortcomings of my household as of late, it’s really just left me feeling like a failure. OK, so now you think this is just a post to complain… and you’d be wrong a little bit right. But really, it’s just to make a point of…  life. We’re all in it. We’re all in survival mode a majority of the time. Sure, we have moments of peace and ease, but then life takes over and reality sets in. Reality is life is hard. Parenting is ridiculously hard. And trying to live up to some idea that someone else has set, is never going to make anybody happy, least of all you.

My kids are not going to be upset if I spend a day playing games with them versus getting all the laundry done. And my husband is going to survive as long as he’s fed, no matter what I decide to serve up. (I’m pretty sure he’s just relieved that I’m attempting to do any cooking at all.) My kids, and my family as a whole, will always be happy and be the best versions of themselves when I am the best version of mine. And that’s what’s really important.

Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow

For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow

So settle down cobwebs, and dust go to sleep

I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

That’s my mantra for today. My house may not be perfect, my hair may not be done, and the food may not be worth mentioning, but when my children become adults, I want them to be able to say that I set aside time for them. That I was willing to get on the floor and play barbies even though every word I say is scripted for me. That I was willing to sing a silly song to help keep learning fun. That I was willing to kiss away owies, even when I was in the middle of a phone call with a client. That they know that they are what I was concerned with. Even when it’s hard, even when I simply don’t want to do it, the best version of myself is always the version where I am their mama. And hopefully, I’ll do it better tomorrow. And that’s all it takes to be the best parent for them.

If all else fails, just pour yourself another cup of coffee.


I wanted a “perfect” family photo…and that’s just what I got. (Sidenote to my fellow baby-wearers: No worries, he’s not really falling out of my RS -nor do I wear it that low- it just looks that way in the photo due to the way I’m leaning!)

What are some of your go to tips for surviving a Minnesota winter? Do you have a daily mantra that gets you through when you’re feeling less than ideal? Please, share!


One thought on “The Best Parent

  1. Reblogged this on laborofwonder and commented:
    This was the post I *meant* to write (I really did write this one too, just after my first one, and obviously more well thought out!)… I’m not really a debbie downer, I promise! Spring is coming… it must!! But read this for more insight into why we’re all good enough parents, just as we are!

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