How I embrace my parenting mistakes

There was the time I spilled red wine all over Jack’s hockey jersey 15 minutes before we had to leave for a game.

I told Jack to tell everyone it was blood.

I once forgot to lock the brakes on my double stroller when my oldest boys were toddlers. I had stopped to look at a map of Brookfield Zoo … at the top of a steep hill. They took out an 8-year-old and a peacock.

I don’t volunteer because I’m not allowed to threaten children with the seven plagues of the apocalypse like I can my own kids.

I hate parent-teacher conferences.

My social anxiety often leads me to saying stupid things.

I never believe my kids when they tell me they’re sick. I made my boys do their own fourth-grade dioramas, evidenced with the consistent “Ds” they all received because of the embarrassment their projects elicited at Catholic Schools Week.

If my kids were named in the proper order I had planned, I would have christened Joey “Coke.” “Meet my sons: Jack, Daniel and Coke.” 

I swear.

I’m a terrible cook.

Jack’s uniform pants are 4 inches too short. Joey’s hockey helmet has been reconfigured with pieces of retired helmets and screws from old toys. Danny’s $500 orthopedic inserts are three sizes too small.

I am not a perfect mom.

Yet living in a world where we often glimpse into each other’s lives through social media, you would think everyone else is perfect. Perfect vacations. Perfect children. Perfect dinners.

Perfect is for the peacocks. The ones not mowed down by out-of-control double Bobs, that is.

To all new mothers out there, I say embrace imperfection. Take one day at a time. There will be moments of grand successes and there will be days you phone it in and serve Cap’n Crunch for dinner. 

And at the end of it all, you will smile listening to your kids doubled over with laugher highlighting the time you forgot to gather up best friend Billy at a tournament and drive him home from Crystal Lake. 

And in those moments of fun and storytelling? That is where real perfection lives.

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.  

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