Teenagers come parceled with a layer of curse words. I know when I was sixteen, every other word out of my mouth was “f*ck” or “sh*t.” If you were a guy, you were “this a**hole” and girls were all “that b*tch.” Now, I hear the cacophony of gutter language swirl the air around my teenagers’ heads and feel my heart cringe whenever the littlest set of ears are nearby.
This was the scene as my Kindergartner ran out the door after his big brother, arm half in the sleeve of his hoodie, ready to follow him and two friends to the park. From my seat in front of my computer, I wanted to yell, “Stop! Nevermind, leave Aries here!” I could only imagine the phone call from his teacher the next day when my oldest’s language was repeated by my youngest on the playground at school. But I let him go.
Motherhood is filled with moments like this. Do I want my baby boy running around with these potty-mouthed teens who, on a good day, provide supervision adequate for a pet rock? Not really. Do I want to shelter my child from the world and teach him that he shouldn’t accept and love his family because they say bad words? No. And there it is, that choose-your-battle fence and I’m straddling it like a mechanical bull at a rodeo.
I’m doing the best I can.
I needed to get some work done, and I can’t keep the little guy locked in a bubble until he’s an adult. And why, if by the time he reaches middle or high school no one will care anymore, am I expelling all this energy on keeping the language clean in a house with a bunch of boys and one grown man?
(Won’t they all eventually grow into their adult male humanoid-selves and be expected to drop f-bombs anyway? Shoot, maybe I should refocus my attention to at least training these guys on being more creative with their cussing, then they can make their writer (step)mama proud with their literary f-bombs.)
Not every decision, especially with parenting, has a right and wrong choice. Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils.
Another hour of YouTube for peace while cleaning and cooking or limit the screen time knowing you run the risk of one more day going by with laundry piles decorating your living room floor and ordering Dominos for dinner?
Let the best friend come spend the weekend and have one extra mouth to feed and spewing profanity, one extra body to drive around, one extra boy farting in your house, or deal with Mr. Mopey McMopison all weekend long when you tell him no?
Let them skip practice because they’re in a bad mood on a day when you don’t want to go either and teach them it’s okay to take a break sometimes or make them go and teach them the importance of honoring commitments?
Sometimes all we can do is the best we can do.
After getting my work done the day of the park excursion, it was time to get ready to go to a meeting. And by meeting I mean a Women, Wine and Yoga event I’d purchased a ticket to two weeks prior and now felt obligated to go because money was spent on it. Had I not invested hard earned cash in this yoga class, I would’ve stayed home.
That’s how my day was going. I was too tired for yoga and wine. This is NOT normal.
I’d been working non-stop from eight o’clock that morning and then some, hence letting the boys go to the park when usually I’d be hanging out with the munchkin, reading a book, or cooking dinner at least.
I was on my period.
And in general, I have low energy levels in the evening hours.
But, as I said, I was going. With clean yoga clothes in hand, I headed to the bathroom where I discovered a tampon and pad-free zone. Now, of course, visions of embarrassing stains viewable to anyone on the mats behind me during downward dog were playing in my head. Luckily, I found a lone tampon in the bottom of a purse I haven’t used in a long time (all the ones in my regular purses were already used up in previous situations just like this one). Sitting down to pee, I looked down and noticed my underwear was inside out and I pondered the mess that is my brain.
There was a time when I would’ve been humiliated despite there being no one to bear witness to my tampon crisis and underwear snafu. I would’ve called myself all kinds of names synonymous with dumb. I would’ve packed it in, called it a night, kissed my $25 and girl’s night out goodbye because who wants this dumb b*tch who can’t even pull on her underwear the right way at their yoga event?
This time, though, I just told myself, I’m doing the best I can.
Days like this with moments of being unsure whether I’m making the right decision as a mom, finding myself without a basic hygienic necessity and discovering I’ve been running around all day with underwear inside out, is my norm.
We’re forever one main ingredient short of the meal I wanted to cook that I’m finally preparing at 7:30 in the evening and the choice is to go without it or drag my tired ass body to the grocery store.
Pulling dirty polos over my son’s head on Monday morning because the weekend flew by and no one remembered to do the laundry is a weekly thing.
The cat eats lunch meat and tuna from a can on a regular basis before we finally remember to buy a new bag of Purina One.
Getting in the car takes at least half an hour with multiple trips back and forth retrieving the cell phone, the jackets, the book, the this, the that, whatever it is we’ve forgotten in the house. And, we’re running on a 50% rate of needing to turn the car around once we’re a block or so away because that last item we left behind popped into our heads.
We’re the family who’s late to the party and forgot the dish we were supposed to bring.
We rack up $20 in Redbox charges All. The. Time. Because we don’t remember to return the movies until the next weekend when we’re ready to rent new ones.
I’m doing the best I can.
At the end of these messy absentminded days, our kids are safe, healthy, and happy (for the most part, I mean we’re talking about teenagers here…). Even the cat never goes without food, he just has to eat leftovers sometimes.
Those unsure mom decisions I make, like sending my little angel face off with his black-clad heavy metal head-bangin’ older brother to the park, are only ever made out of love and with the information I have at the time.
I’m doing the best I can.
I mess up sometimes (okay most of the time). I forget to buy tampons pretty much all the time. I put my clothes on backward. I have to work on afternoons when I’d rather be being mom to my kiddos. I forget to go shopping, forget to do laundry, forget to pay bills, forget to buy the buns for the hamburgers, and sometimes forget to take a moment to breathe. But I NEVER forget to love my kids. And I’ll never stop doing the best I can.
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