I’m testing out this whole “being a grown up” mom with varying degrees of success
by Maria Benetos
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Confessions of a Misfit Mom is an ongoing series by MINIMODE co-founder Maria Benetos about her (many) mis-adventures in being a mom, recorded and published to make you feel better about your own parenting skills. You’re welcome.
Here’s the thing. One magical day you become a mom and the title alone makes you feel like an adult but that in no way means you are an adult, or even that you know the first thing about being one. You have this whole vision in your head of what a mom looks like and should be. It may stem from your own mother or those of the friends you had growing up but also movies, TV shows (I’m talking to you, Mrs. Seaver), magazines, websites and all the other media we consume on a daily basis. Throughout this life progression here are things I just naturally assumed I would know how to do when I became a parent:
Sew; at least a button or a simple hem.
How to actually discipline a child so that they don’t laugh at my attempts to get them listen to me (epic fail at this so far).
Get a kid to sleep.
Braid my daughter’s hair. I’m seriously in awe of the moms who can do this properly; good on you, ladies.
Know the lyrics to baby songs. Even though my girls are older now I still wonder, how did ALL the parents know the damned lyrics??
Talk to a teacher in a way that I actually feel like the adult and not just another kid in her second grade class.
Remember appointments. Oh, and people’s names. I know, bad.
And so I took it upon myself to start some “adult-ing 101” which I naturally assumed would result in me becoming a better version of myself. A role model; a pillar of society, if you will. OK, not really but I was always taught to aim high to achieve your goals.
For weeks I made the conscious effort to make changes big and small – everything from not spending so much money on unnecessary things like cabs and Ubers to actually responding to my kids’ school emails and making sure their homework was done each night in a timely matter. As all humans who take on self-improvement with zeal and zest, I didn’t just gallop out the gate. No, I flew. I downloaded healthy cooking apps, went grocery shopping in a strategic fashion, rather than my usual running across the street to the deli at 6am because we ran out of milk for the girls’ cereal, and I actually began to hand in school forms on time. But that’s not all. I created a shared calendar with the girls’ nanny so I’m not constantly dropping major events on her lap five minutes before they’re set to begin, I drafted a budget, started saying no more to the kids’ constant requests and finally took charge of my own schedule so as not to miss appointments or overbook myself.
Did the changes stick and I finally feel like a grown-ass woman? Some did and kind of. There are things that came in handy and were easy to upkeep (shared Google calendar, we love you) but other things that I went back into semi-slacker mode with, such as keeping up with the endless stream of emails that come in from my girls’ school. The way I see it, every classroom needs that mom who has to ask all the parents when something is due or why my Kindergartener must wear sneakers on Tuesdays. It makes them feel good about their own parenting skills so I’m actually performing a service here. I do, however, take way less taxis and actually show some self-control with my spending in recent weeks… but I’m still not cooking.
My conclusion on this whole being an adult experiment? It’s good to have goals and to be a more conscious parent but I realized that in many ways I’ll probably never really feel like a “grown up,” and that’s OK. We all have our flaws and our failings no matter what age we are, and while I always encourage self-improvement, self-acceptance is equally important.