I read this Facebook post about this mom spending 45 minutes attempting to determine what vitamins her kids needed and finding out she would spend upwards of a $100 on vitamins. Her post went viral. And rightfully so.
Because sometimes motherhood right now is so ridiculous. Like Blue Ice Gatorade ridiculous, but you’ll need to get to the end to understand why.
She listed how now she’s told to buy all these supplements and how she lived outside and grew up on Tampico. Well, I didn’t grow up on Tampico, but Sunny D was one of my favorites. My parents had a garden and we canned but I still remember when Fruit Roll-Ups were introduced and that shiny wrapper was the highlight in my Red Tupperware Lunchbox. Now, now that lunch box would be trendy because of the Bento boxes style, but then? Then I wanted the Rainbow Brite tin box with the Thermos.
My mom sold Tupperware. That’s why I had the 1980’s soon to be trendy in the 2016 Bento style box.
My mom would pack me ham sandwiches and apple slices. Sometimes I hid the ham sandwich hoping the teacher wouldn’t find it in the bottom of the pre-trned bento box (but was Tupperware back then the right and safe kind of plastic?). That was because it wasn’t deli sliced ham in the plastic container, but ham cut off and it would have fat on it and unless it was crispy like bacon – I was not eating it.
But my kids? I suckered into buying these cool Bento Style boxes from Amazon because I thought THAT would make me make sure my kids have healthier lunches. But, get this — they don’t fit in my son’s lunch box. (I kind of wish my mom still had that Tupperware box because it was guaranteed for life…) So I gave up on cute and chose practical. And so now, sometimes I go through Target and I buy the pre-made stuff and sometimes Fruit Roll Ups (but I hide them underneath the veggies, because, oh my word, who serves those in 2016 except moms who still crave them from their youth.) I’ll also buy Goldfish for snacks in snack bags. And olives in containers. And pre-sliced apples. Yes, I admit it.
The pre-sliced ones because sometimes in the morning I am too tired to slice the apples and sprinkle lemon juice on them. And I put them in plastic bags. Are they the good plastic bags? I have no idea. One time I sent Veggie Straws to school for the snack. My son came home and told me they weren’t a healthy snack. My bad, I just thought Veggie was partially indicative of good.
But I am trying.
Like right now. I’m sitting in a dentist office while my 9 year old gets the first set of fillings done and a tooth pulled. Yes, the first set. But he brushes his teeth and uses those crazy expensive flossing things and eats those apples and he still got cavities. Not because I’m feeding him Sunny D (do they still make that even?) but because — he’s a kid with a body that has issues and I guess his teeth are prone to needing help. (Hey, at least we keep the dentist busy, right?)
I do my best.
But it is stressful. Just last week I took my 7 year old to the clinic. And they have this section of parenting questions you have to answer. But you have to be super careful because they flip around the yes and no answer and if you think it’s one way – nope, nope, nope – it’s the other. So I’m going through the questions one by one: guns in the home? No. smoking in the home? No. Booster seat use? Yes. (See this is where they flipped the order). How many times does he get Fast Food a week? Zero (but that’s easy for me – he has Celiac Disease. Otherwise, I’d put something down. And is that a judge of parenting?) Helmet use on bike and scooters? And there I got stuck.
Helmet use? What in the world do I put?
Insert a bit of panic.
Not because he didn’t use a helmet, but because he still can’t ride a bike. So then, there I am sitting next to the extra large gold fish in the tank where all the kids put their hands on which I am sure now is where my Samuel got his cold from and instead of answering YES I am contemplating writing in that he still can’t ride a bike. Seriously. And then I wanted to add a note stating that it’s not because I don’t try, but because he’s not interested. And then I started to worry if that would make me a bad mom for not pushing the bike riding skills enough. But then I worried if that would conflict with question 22 talking about whether or not he fights with his siblings because sometimes he fights with his brother.
So then, you guessed it, I started fretting about that. And worrying that I’d check the wrong box.
Do you know my dentist, doctor and eye doctor all send me text message reminders and email reminders and if I don’t answer they’ll call? One time I joked about my mom wondering how in the world she remembered to get her four kids where they needed to go. And we didn’t have cell phones either. I have no clue how she let us go out on Friday nights without fretting.
And yet, here I am. A mom. I survived. While wearing flannel pants, watching Netflix and having stuff on my dresser with kids who are happy.
And yet, here I am, also a mom, surrounded with a million new decisions that I feel like my mom didn’t ever have to make. She put gloves in our backpack and told us to wear a hat to school but if we forgot them she didn’t worry that she was a bad mom. Do you know why? Because it was our responsibility to remember to bring them. And trust me, after one recess of freezing fingers I never forgot those gloves of mine again.
But now, now there’s all this pressure. Just like that vitamin post. And it starts to make us question whether or not we’re good moms. You know, I will tell you right now that my mom was a good mom. Wait, let me revise that, my mom was an AWESOME MOM. And you know what? My mom worked. We had frozen meals – my favorite were the Hungry Man one’s where you got to pick your frozen meal. I went to daycare after school. I took piano lessons and sometimes faked practicing (you know, it was the honor system where we had to WRITE in our times. There was no online tracker. And my piano teacher, well she was smart, and caught on.) We had to do chores. Sometimes my mom got really mad at me.
But I survived.
And I love her. She fought so hard for us kids.
I think I just need to tell you all — especially you new moms entering this crazy cyber world of rules and worries and fears and don’t do this but in six weeks we’ll tell you to do this and what you were doing was wrong — that what you need to do is YOUR BEST. Yes, your best. In fact, my sister just became a mom and honestly several people have asked me what I’d tell her because she’s a new mom. And you know what I’d tell her?
You’re amazing. I see the love you have for your daughter. Love her. Mess up. Do your best.
That’s what matters most.
The pressures won’t fade. The choices magnified.
But in the end what matters most is the love you give. The love I give.
So tonight, tonight on the way home from the dentist I stopped at Walgreens because my son, who did everything right who had a tooth pulled and a cavity filled, needed Advil. (It was purple, by the way.) And I told him he could get a special drink because his mouth hurt. And I stood there and stood there and stood there and watched him mull over all the choices.
I choose this.
And it was blue Gatorade. (Ah, the first picture makes sense now, right?)
And I said, well done, Elijah, that’s a great choice.
Because that wasn’t the time to think of the blue coloring or the Gatorade or any of that. That was a time to mother. To love him. To give him control to choose something after sitting in a dentist chair. To show him he mattered.
And he will turn out just fine.
Carry on brave mother surrounded in a world of choices.
ps. If this helps anyone. That’s me with tonight’s dinner. And friends, friends, it’s that brand because I have a son who can’t eat gluten. But, please see this -> frozen meal. And get this. My picky eater? The Gatorade boy? He told me it was the best meal ever. Go figure.