Being a mom is pretty awesome, not just because my young children run to me with outstretched arms and huge smiles, but because I’ve entered a sisterhood of women. Never in my life has it been so easy to connect with others. Lifelong friendships have started by standing at the bottom of a slide saying, “Cute kid. How old?”
The women who have accompanied me on my parenting adventure have made monotonous days more fun and tamed my feelings of isolation and self-doubt. I’ve admired many moms along the way—the ones who always have their shit together, the ones who model divine patience, and the ones who seem to execute every parenting decision with conviction.
But I also love the ones who forget to bring their diaper bag to playdates, the ones who drop the F-bomb under their breath, and the ones who openly say “I have no idea what I’m doing.” I am equally inspired by the women who nurse their kids for four years, and the ones who stock up on formula before the child is even born. I applaud the helicopter moms and the stand-back-and-trust ones, because I know both have loving intentions. I’m impressed by the ones who spend their days feigning interest in games of Candy Land and lead dinosaur marches around their houses. But I appreciate most the ones who are openly and proudly imperfect, the ones who embrace being just who they are, not only as mothers but as individuals too.
Here’s a list of some of my most favorite moms:
1. The one who showed up to the baby shower an hour late because she read the invitation wrong, carried in a huge unwrapped box with a picture of a car seat on the side, then sat down and refused to partake in baby bingo. I love a fellow hot-mess mom, and one who can own an eff-this-shit attitude without apologizing or pretending.
2. The mom who came to the park, admitting she doesn’t know what to do when her nanny calls out sick. It was the first day I met her, and she openly told me she went to Chili’s with her infant and enjoyed an adult beverage before her son got out from preschool. Seriously, how does anyone parent all day without a nanny?
3. The mom who invites me over to her house without cleaning first. I admire her priorities—she comes home from work and plays with her family without stressing. She doesn’t give a shit if people judge her for the dirt on her floors, because she doesn’t want anything to do with someone who would. I feel honored to be invited into a natural habitat. It makes me feel like we’re close enough to be exposed, rather than polished up.
4. The mom who told me her 2-year-old is a little asshole. How nice it is to be able to call a spade a spade!
5. The mom who goes on solo trips, regular girls’ nights, and feels entitled to a life and pleasures of her own. Motherhood is not a competition for who can sacrifice the most. Martyrdom doesn’t get any reward.
6. The mom who says her husband is effing annoying sometimes. We shouldn’t talk crap about our partners, and we should respect the privacy and integrity of our relationships, but can we also relate to one another and not feel so alone in our experiences?
7. The mom who didn’t buy her new baby a special outfit for New Year’s Eve. She didn’t even let her Facebook feed make her feel inadequate. (OK, maybe a little, but she still didn’t buy one at Valentine’s Day or St. Paddy’s, so kudos!)
8. The mom who prepares dinners of fish sticks and fries. Nutrition is important, but don’t we all just want to make something the kids will actually eat without whining?
9. The mom who got so worked up while putting on her son’s shoe that she slobbered in it. She had three kids under the age of 3, so slobbering in shoes is totally warranted. I love her not only for being normal enough to lose her shit, but for sharing the story when I needed reassurance for pushing a high chair with so much aggression that it cracked a cabinet (no child was inside, I swear, but still, don’t tell my husband.)
10. The mom who accidentally gave her 3-year-old a strawberry-jalapeño popsicle. He kept coughing from the backseat while eating it, and she thought he was putting on a show. She eventually took a bite of it and realized it was spicy as fuck. We all make mistakes, but not all are as funny as giving your kid a spicy popsicle, then telling him to stop being dramatic.
If you are an imperfect mom, let’s meet at the park. If you serve wine at your kid’s parties, invite me. If you’re keeping it real, thank you. People who speak the uneasy truths make it easier for everyone else to do the same. You inspire authenticity, understanding, and of course, a lot of laughter. Motherhood’s not just about raising great children, but also making great friends.
Thank you to all moms everywhere keeping it real. It’s a pleasure sharing motherhood with you.