Up until 4 years ago, I had a lot of, well…opinions about moms and kids I saw around town. After all, I was working with a clean slate and could easily say, “I’d never be like that mom.” Or, “I’d never let my child act like that kid.” And then came wonderful, awe-inspiring, humbling reality: my son and the official title of Mom. And today, on my sweet little boy’s 4th birthday, I find myself thanking my lucky stars that—more often than not—I’m “that mom” proudly journeying through life with “that kid” (and his little brother who’s just as perfectly imperfect).
It’s amazing how seeing a kid with uncombed hair used to make me think “neglect”. Now I see a child who’s got faster feet and more endurance than his mom who lost at a game of “hair monster”—yet again—this morning.
I used to see a woman making a bottle of formula for her newborn and wonder if she hadn’t read all those articles and books about how much healthier, smarter and bonded her child would be if she weren’t so selfish. Now I see a woman who cried every day for 10 weeks as she pumped and pumped, but her body failed her—and her baby.
That kid screaming in line at the grocery store isn’t a monster after all. He’s just an exhausted little boy who’s about to find out he’s got his 4th ear infection in just as many months.
That mom begging the soccer coach to make sure parents bring snacks without peanuts isn’t a high-strung control freak. She’s just a woman who’s watched her baby swell up and vomit because she somehow missed one oh-so-important word in the teeny-tiny type on a package of bread.
The toddler with pizza sauce smeared over every square inch of his body isn’t a slob, but a confident, independent kid who’s so proud that he can do it all.
That mom with the snot smeared over every square inch of her body isn’t a slob, but a nurturing, devoted mother who’s so proud that she can do it all. Maybe not perfectly. Maybe not even gracefully at times. But certainly with her whole heart—which happens to be about ten times bigger than it was just four short years ago.