So this morning I’m washing dishes and realize there’s poo on the front of the dishwasher. You read that right. It was like something from a Clorox commercial. (If you want the details I’ll just say that apparently a side blow out while Wilder was cruising in his cozy coupe in the kitchen started it all.) It was one of the grosser moments we’ve had as of late, but a pretty easy clean up. (Although the skin on my hands is nearly cracked with repeated washing after our bleachable moment.)
After a soapy wipe down followed by Lysol sanitizing wipes and then a hearty dose of bleach it’s like it never happened. If only the rest of the crappy (I hate to pun but sometimes it can’t be helped) could be so easily erased. And I’m not talking about Wilder (although I’d like to forget how he nearly tore my niece’s hair from the roots by the handful). I’m talking about me. About the times I’ve been impatient with a 16-month-old and the many times I’ve been even more impatient with a certain 43-year-old. About how I try to keep my cool in this strange place between baby and boy. Where Wilder looks at me as though he knows exactly what he’s doing … and frankly there are times he sooooo does. When I’m exhausted and still have to pick up eggs off the floor (truly the scrambled eggs on the floor are just the worst). When I have to take a deep breath not to scream when trying to change the diaper of a baby that behaves acts as though he’s being scalped alive — an experience rivaled only by trying to clip his nails (like I’m trying to peel off his nails entirely).
My rational mind knows he’s just a baby and yet I find myself frustrated trying to figure out the right thing when he feels far too old for some things yet too young for others. And then it all gives me a little twinge of mommy guilt. (Things they don’t tell you: babies come with a Jiminy Cricket that haunts you after their birth trying to make you feel as though you could always do something more/better/different on behalf of this child you love so much.)
If I’m honest I think it all comes down to this: I’m not perfect and Wilder knows it. In fact, he probably knows me better than anyone else and that’s a scary thing. He’s watching everything I do. And I’m increasingly aware that he will have a mom that makes mistakes. But, I’ve also realized two things: there’s always a chance to improve and more importantly he doesn’t need a perfect mom. My mom wasn’t perfect and I couldn’t love her more.
Perfection may be touted as the goal but truth is that there’s something disingenuous about perfection. It doesn’t exist. I’m a messy human momma full of flaws that can’t be bleached away. And that’s as it should be. I’ve learned from some epic mistakes. There are things I can’t ever take back. And I wouldn’t be who I am, wouldn’t know what I know now, had I not made them. I pray daily for wisdom. And I’ve added patience to that list.
I know that had God intended Wilder to have a mother who was less mess and more robot, he wouldn’t be mine. And that I will try and try and try to do right with the extraordinary task of motherhood. And that when I feel not so perfect at it, I’ll give myself a little grace, wash my hands and try again.