Confessions of a Richmond Mom

Richmond mom Katie Mardigian
 At a much needed girl’s night out recently, some friends and I were lamenting about how little time we have for ourselves these days. In our pre-kids days we used to spend hours getting ready for a fun night out. These days, if we’re lucky enough to go anywhere that requires more than our typical leggings/oversized t-shirt “momiform” we usually have no more than 30 minutes and constant interruptions. It feels like backstage at a Miss America pageant. (But without the sashes. And abundant self-confidence.)

Often there’s just not enough time, so we resort to quick-fixes and work-arounds, such as the makeshift pedicure in which you slap on a layer of new polish over sad, old polish. That night we discovered that every mom at the table has done that on occasion. Such is the life of a mom, we joked, and we got another round of drinks to mask our sadness.

I’m kidding, of course, but it was liberating to know that I’m not the only one who can rarely pull it all together when life gets crazy and hectic, which is to say, almost always. And it was comforting to be able to divulge some “mom confessions” to friends who understood. The conversation really seemed to open in me a desire to let out more of these confessions, so, ahem, here I go.

For years after I became a stay at home mom, it was not uncommon for me to scramble to find a pile of clothes that needed to be folded or dishes that needed to be done the second I saw my husband’s car pull in the driveway. I felt the need to continually prove my value as a SAHM and would rather he see me folding laundry than reading a magazine and ignoring the fact that it was dinner time. But now that I have 3 kids, my value as an at home mom is written all over my face in the form of puffy eyes and forehead wrinkles. So I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. I’m thinking neither approach is healthy.

I hate the acronym SAHM. I hate being an acronym, period.

As much as I try not to, I treat my children differently. It’s hard not to baby the sensitive one and expect more out of the brainy one, though I know parenting them that way will likely pigeon hole them. The rest of the world is already going to do that, so I don’t want to as well. But sometimes it’s hard to remember this when my sensitive one looks at me lovingly during a mommy-daughter dinner and says “Isn’t this romantic?” and my brainy one spends her free-time reading What to Expect in the Toddler Years.

There are many nights when all I want to do is skip the bedtime routine and make excuses for why I can’t read with my kids. Mom’s too tired to do anything but end this day now. But the minute I hit the pillow with my freshly-showered kids there’s no place I’d rather be. And then, of course, I feel guilty.

I believe that a Costco baby wipe is a perfectly acceptable replacement for actual bathroom cleaners.

I purposefully don’t correct my little kids when they mispronounce words. It’s just too cute! Not great for their future standardized test scores, but still, cute!

I have been known, when very pregnant, to announce to my family that for the rest of the day I will be parenting from the couch. I still announce this periodically, even though I know it’s not a possibility, just to see the freaked out looks on everyone’s faces.

My 3rd kid has never had the benefit of a typical toddlerhood filled with Laurie Berkner and Justin Roberts songs. Nope, she’s at the mercy of her older sisters and a mom who’s completely over that stuff. So, she sings Justin Bieber and Taio Cruz songs like the best of them and I’m pretty sure the other moms at our weekly toddler gym class would be horrified.

Only 8 years into this parenting thing, I am already guilty of 80% of the things my mom did that I said I’d never do. I’ve gotten quite good at the Heavy Sigh. The same one that would just about make me cry when my mom did it. It’s now my signature mom move.

I had to give up swearing in front of my kids for Lent.

I have never enjoyed imaginative play with my kids as much as I think a mom should, and in fact have mastered the art of pretending to play while also doing something else. I can appear to be completely engrossed in combing 43 My Little Pony manes while making a grocery list AND texting another bored mom-friend who’s pretending to enjoy putting together yet another Lego Star Wars Jedi Starfighter.

I really strive to model self-confident, self-loving behaviors for my girls so that they can grow up to be proud of who they are inside and out, and yet I can’t rid myself of that self-conscious inner teen who criticizes my every lump, bump, and stretch mark. This is one mom admission I really want to change.

I find teaching toddlers important life skills like walking down the stairs and using the potty to be extremely tedious and therefore wait as long as possible to do it. Only when others notice it do I realize that it’s time to buck up and do what mommies do. A friend told me recently, with a combination of compassion and disappointment as I lugged my oversized toddler down the stairs on my hip, “You know, it’s time to teach that kid to walk down the stairs.” Fine, you’re right. Heavy Sigh.

Phew, that felt good! You should try it! Feel free to comment with your own mom confessions. Lord knows I have no room to judge. ;)

Reason #135 for my Lenten sacrifice.