Being THAT parent

“You would be scared and alone without me, Mommy,” quipped my 3-year-old baby boy, with a huge grin and his big blue eyes staring wildly at me, just waiting for a response.

I started laughing, not because what he said was necessarily wrong, but because WOW, where did that come from?! How did he come up with that?! And why is he looking at me like that?!

We were sitting on the couch watching one of his favorites, Scooby-Doo, before bedtime. Well, actually, I was sitting on the couch, and he was in my lap, as usual, since he’s my handsome little stage-five clinger.

I thought about what he said and I laughed some more, because, well, he was right; without my cutie patootie toddler, I probably would be scared, because normally he is attached to my hip. So if he was missing, I’d have to seriously question if I accidentally left him somewhere, or if it was a Tuesday or Thursday morning and he was safe at preschool.

I also laughed because what he said illuminated a potential issue:  This child, who I adore and would do anything for, KNEW that I adored him and would do anything for him. Uh oh.

Thoughts and questions instantly and rampantly invaded my mind:

Is he possibly running the show around here? When did this happen? (When he was born?)

Am I really THAT parent? (Probably.)

Am I too scared to discipline? (Yep. Isn’t that daddy’s job?)

Am I spoiling him too much? (Oops.)

Am I giving him a piece of candy at the store or the doctor’s office just so he won’t have a fit and make everyone stare at us? (Oops again. Totally guilty.)

Does he really need all of the Thomas the Train collection? (Um, yes?)

Is it wrong to bribe him with M and M’s on multiple occasions to get him to use the potty? (If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)

Suddenly I had to squelch all of these thoughts and questions because they were stressing me out. Plus, I knew the answer…this boy has my heart. He, his daddy and his doggie have me wrapped around their fingers. And he knows it.

I also had to put these thoughts to rest because I couldn’t believe that Fred and Daphne were breaking up in this episode. UGH! Just stick to chasing the Creeper, Headless Specter and scary clowns, ok mystery gang? Don’t make my heart ache with your relationship roller coasters!

Anyway, I also realized my boy was also right about me being alone…I would be alone without him.

Before I had my son, it was hard to envision life with kids.

Yet, after having him, I could never imagine my life without him.

Sometimes I feel like this was my purpose in life; to raise this little man and ensure he has a life filled with opportunities, a chance to positively leave his mark and a way to genuinely impact others.

I am sure there are tons of parents out there who feel the same way. And as stressed as some of us get at times, we would never regret having our babies.

We know that these snuggles, these kisses, these cute giggles, these “I love you, Mommy/Daddy” moments, these “Mommy, I need you in the bathroom” situations, will not last forever.

These babies of ours will grow up.

And, hopefully they will still kind of like us…and not be mad about the bazillion embarrassing photos we took of them since birth.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is ok to have “me” time, and that it is ok to make mistakes as a parent. Not the kind of mistake where we leave the kids in the car in 100 degree heat, or leave them alone by a pool or something crazy like that…but, mistakes like “giving in” to certain demands to avoid crying fits, or changing our plans and making sacrifices because our little one may not cooperate the entire time, and we know it may not be pretty.

We are imperfect with our perfect intentions. I am ok with that, and know that it all can’t be figured out in one day, one week or maybe even one year.

I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, and for more than three years, I have tried to nail this role, as challenging as it can be at times.

But I have embraced being around my son all of the time, because that’s what I signed on to do when I left my teaching job.

Do I always enjoy every single moment of the day? Absolutely NOT.

I don’t get any privacy or time to myself.

I find myself cleaning up the same toys over and over and over. And over.

I truly do miss teaching,  yet I resent comments about my Master’s Degree “going to waste.” (I bet my son benefits from my education!)

Most nights I get terrible sleep; we never envisioned ourselves being co-sleeping parents, so there’s that. Now I have occasional (accidental, of course) slaps to my face or little feet poking into my back Every. Single. Night.

Potty training has unraveled into a sheer nightmare; it was going well, but suddenly my son got scared of pooping, so now I have to wipe his butt a million times a day. Totally a glamorous job, right? I never thought I would ever need to pray for normal poop.

Yet, I know that one day I will look back at the good and the stressful moments…and I will miss it all.

For now, I can still laugh about my sassy boy telling me I would be scared and alone without him, because he is absolutely right.

This one unexpected statement from my sweet, clingy and demanding boy tells me that he knows he is loved, and that we are there for him. I’ll take that! We can continue to raise him and teach him and scold him and smother him with love.

As parents, we cherish these kinds of sweet moments. And we really, really try to remind ourselves of such sweetness when our babies are doing nasty little things like drawing on the living room walls, screaming while we’re driving, trying to cut their own hair or pooping on the carpet…

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Author: Andee

Mommy, Indianapolis Moms Blog writer, CrossFit junkie and former English teacher

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