I am not a perfect parent.
Actually, at least half of the time, I don’t even think I’m a “good” parent. It’s not for lack of want or effort, but I’m often tired and my tiredness translates to a short temper, a sharp tongue and little to no desire to go to the park and play when the day comes to an end. And weekends just don’t seem to last long enough.
Last night, I let F watch a movie while we snuggled in bed together. When I awoke at 6 am this morning, I was immediately frustrated. It’s a Saturday, and I just wanted to sleep in. So I tried to fall back asleep. And I couldn’t. Then F woke up. Then there was just no getting back to sleep. So I started thinking about the million and one things I wanted to do today but about halfway through the list I realized that the day was early and I was already being a shitty parent. Why? Because not a single thing I was planning to do involved F. And that’s pretty shitty.
So I plopped my laptop down on the bed and I turned on Frozen. And then, I went to the kitchen and made pancakes. And then I took those pancakes, dropped ’em on plates and took them to bed where I watched the entirety of Frozen with F as we ate our chocolate chip pancakes and drank chocolate milk and just enjoyed him. And then we went to Starbucks to meet a friend before walking to a playground for an hour.
And then we walked home, ate macaroni and cheese (his request), and we went to the Frog Pond for a walk. And then we ate popcorn for supper because it’s a Saturday. Even though the day was pretty great, F had two timeouts and Mama has a headache now.
Absolutely nothing runs smoothly with F. He’s a great little boy but he’s got too much of his mother in him. We butt heads. He’s stubborn and testy at the best of times, and positively stabby when things don’t go his way. But he’s also sweet and sensitive and intelligent, and each day is a lesson in patience for both of us. We argued at the park about whether it was time to go. I negotiated with him at the playground when the time had come to leave. It’s never easy, but it’s wonderful.
And that’s parenting, isn’t it?
It’s not about perfect outings and the cleanest home, having the most obedient child or a car without a layer of grime and Cheerios. It’s about the hiccups. The arguments. The tears and the frustration and the love and the pride that makes your heart feel like it could burst. And of course, chocolate chip pancakes on Saturday mornings.