Somewhere along the line, we seemed to adopt the idea that we could choose what kind of parent we would become without at all taking into consideration the kind of person we were before becoming a parent. Which is of course the "involved, active, fun, laid back, organized, adventurous and well put together kind of parent." You know, the one on the cover of "Parenting" magazine cultivating the garden with her children so that they can grow organic vegetables together. I'm sure that there are families who do in fact grow organic vegetables together. I'm just not convinced that they look anything like the models in that magazine while doing it. In fact, I imagine that they look much more like my own family working in the field together growing up, with my brothers attempting to drill each other in the head with rocks while my parents were looking the other way.
And for most of us, trying to live up to the ideals we've imposed upon ourselves hasn't worked out so well. If you had type A tendencies before becoming a parent, it is highly unlikely that having children will change this. In fact, although I have absolutely no experience in this matter, I would guess that it would be far more likely to push you to the brink of insanity. In the same way, Martha Stewart's organizational standards are as present in our home now as they were in the college apartment where my roommates and I once stuffed leftover tacos under the sink to make room in the refrigerator for jello shots.
Four years into parenthood, I've decided that I will not spend any more time or energy trying to change the inevitable. To remind myself, I've made the following list of reasons I will never be featured in Parenting magazine:
I am a horrible housekeeper. I sometimes hide dirty dishes in the oven. I once hid dirty dishes in the oven before a home inspection in which the agent had to check the oven and had to pull said dirty dishes back out so that he could do so. I sometimes forget that I have hid dirty dishes in the oven until several minutes after I've turned it on and find myself wondering why the house has suddenly become so smoky.
When late and/or unprepared, I will pull the "I am such a busy working mom!" card. I may not actually say those words out loud, but I am more than willing to let you believe that I am late or unprepared because I am a busy working mom instead of admitting that I got into an argument with my four year old over wearing the same jeans seven days in a row, or was so entranced by HGTV and Pinterest the night before that I completely forgot to prepare anything, including the alarm clock.
Our children are generally behind on their vaccinations. If questioned, I have been known to say that we have chosen, "a delayed vaccination schedule" instead of the more accurate, "I always forget to schedule vaccinations" schedule.
My first reaction to a sick child is always intense irritation. Which is immediately followed by sheer panic that they are dying from whooping-rubella-measles-pox-cough that would have been prevented had I only taken the time to schedule their immunizations. I am generally still frozen in panic waiting for the nurturing mother instinct to kick in when my husband steps in to comfort the sick child.
The first person my son voluntarily said he loved was our daycare provider. I often have to call her to find out what my children like to eat and when they sleep. I would consider leaving my husband before leaving my day care provider.
The good news is that my children have yet to notice the many ways I have failed as a cover mom. In fact, while the dog will look at me judgingly every time I choose coffee and chocolate over exercise, the four other humans who live in our home seem to be all but oblivious to these qualities. Unless of course the stove is on fire again, then the alarm always tips them off.