My 4-year-old son, Silas, has started telling me I’m the best mom in the world.
Buckled him in the car seat? Best mom in the world.
Opened his cheese stick? Best mom in the world.
Wiped his butt? Best mom in the world.
It feels pretty good to be called the “best mom in the world.” I get a little glow of satisfaction whenever he graces me with this compliment.
I don’t write a lot about Silas on my blog. I really should. He’s an awesome kid. He’s funny, witty, adorable, gives great hugs, has a huge noggin, and hair that refuses to lay flat. He’s smart as all-get-out and, despite a bad whining/weeping habit (we’re working on it), he’s really easy to parent.
He makes me feel like the best mom in the world.
Do you know where he learned that phrase, where he learned to tell me I was the “best mom in the world”? His older brothers.
You see, his 9-year-old twins brothers also regularly tell me I am the “best mom in the world.”
I wish I felt the same warm glow when they tell me. Instead, my heart sinks a little; even though I hug them and thank them, I silently correct them in my head.
I rarely feel like the best mom in the world when it comes to my twins.
I once heard this analogy about firstborns: They’re like the first pancake. You do your best, but the first pancake always turns out a little wonky. It will taste good, but it may look a little funny when you’re done with it.
And I have two first pancakes. With my twins, I can’t even put my name in the running for “best mom.” I’m still trying to figure out how not to screw them up.
My husband and I joke about whether we should save for college or counseling for them. And by “joke” I mean “seriously wonder.”
As much as I wish it wasn’t true, Silas (and Eli, my youngest) have a huge advantage over their older brothers. By the time they were born, I’d had 5 (and 7) years of trial and error to figure out how to be a good mom.
Poor Micah and Benji: They are taking all the brunt of my parenting mess-ups.
It’s hard to be the best when you’re just making it up as you go along.
But they still tell me, “Mom, you’re the best mom in the world.”
I want to tell them, “Oh baby, I’m not. I’m really not. I yell at you too much. I get mad over stupid stuff. I’m impatient and testy. I don’t play with you as much as I should. I really don’t care about Pokemon, even though you do. I don’t read to you every night and I forget to give you your vitamins every day. And a thousand other things. Believe me, there are much, much better moms out there.”
Sometimes the truth of all of my faults crushes me, making me feel like a failure: Worst Mom Ever.
But, even as I mentally beat myself up, I know the truth is somewhere in between. I’m not the best mom, but I’m not the worst either.
The real truth is, I’m the only mom they’ve got, with all my faults and all my gifts. I do a lot of good parenting most days and I have a lot of improvement to make too.
Most days, I feel like a Pretty Okay Mom.
Doesn’t have quite the same ring as Best Mom Ever, but I’m getting there. I’m getting better, day by day, year by year.
I’m going to keep flipping my little pancakes, hoping and praying they turn out all right.