My daughters will eat a rainbow-colored plate packed full of vibrant fruits and vegetables, I told myself before I actually had kids.
I will change diapers on a two hour schedule.
“Please,” and “Thank you,” will be my well mannered daughters’ first words.
I will teach my daughters a regimented sleep pattern so that they are asleep in their cribs by 7pm, allowing me time to get stuff done every night, like laundry.
I will read one parenting book per month.
My daughters won’t eat fast food often, or drink soda or juice at home.
I won’t be that mom on my iPhone in front of my kids.
My daughters will only be allowed one hour of screen time per day.
I will engage my infant daughter while she’s nursing; and I won’t watch TV.
I won’t ever cry in front of my children, except to teach them about emotions.
All lies, tall tales, shams, and some just fantastical hallucinations that I told myself before I actually had kids.
Instead, my oldest daughter says, “gimme gimme gimme” sometimes when she wants something. I know that she gets this from watching the television show, “Mascha and the Bear,” but I go bright red with embarrassment when she says it in front of other people, especially those who aren’t familiar with the show.
My reality is that some days I feel like I’m raising Veruca Salt.
Photo credit: Anna Ligocki Photography
At two, Charlotte still drank from a bottle, but only with ice (“mo ice, please; mo ice, mama,” she directs me). She sometimes doesn’t go to bed until after I do, after watching a couple hours of Youtube with her daddy. She also will only eat yogurt (with sprinkles), chicken nuggets (from McDonalds), french fries (ladden with grease and salt), some noodles (but only when eaten out of daddy’s palm), muffins and smoothies (that her nana tirelessly makes), berries, apples and Goldfish crackers. I do our mounds of laundry every never and I cry in front of the kids all.the.time., but only when I’m not watching t.v. while nursing.
Before motherhood, I had these expectations of the mom I would be and the kids I would raise. I had these expectations since I was a girl. When I was a young girl, my mom carved pumpkins with us, dyed Easter eggs, delivered May Day baskets, and prepared a warm meal every night. Having nine months to plan for a baby didn’t help to temper my expectations, nor did the long hours awake with a newborn.
One of the TV shows that I binged watched while nursing Charlotte in the middle of the night was, “Say Yes To The Dress.” Anyone who watched that show knows that there are some true Bridezillas in the world. I wasn’t one of them; but I believe Bridezillas are born by women who have planned their wedding in their heads meticulously since their engagement, first kiss or even kindergarten. In having such elaborate expectations, Bridezillas are never happy or satisfied with the reality of their wedding.
In becoming a mom, I did the same thing, but with my babies and parenting instead of a wedding. Also, I had regrets. While some of my expectations were unreasonable, some of them were sensible, but I was falling short of meeting even some of my down-to-earth expectations too.
Until, a couple months ago, I had a eureka moment.
I realized that in some ways, I am a Momzilla. I’m freaking out that my parenting is not going the way that I had envisioned. That simple realization unburdened me. It helped me to calm my expectations and to be kinder to myself. Also, realizing that my regrets were about me and my expectations positioned me to make positive changes to my parenting.
I may be a Momzilla. But I’m working on it.