I am not that mum who sits on the floor with you playing My Little Pony for hours. I am not the mum who builds entire towns on Minecraft. I have never learned to play Pokémon and I never (ever) will. I am well aware of my failure in this aspect of parenting.
I am thankful for my husband, who excels in watching cartoons and playing video games. I smile when I see him and the kids tossing a football in the yard. (In the yard. No throwing balls in the house. Jesus.) I laugh when they wrestle and tickle and play, play, play.
I’m just not that mum.
I was the young soon-to-be mum, scared to death but determined, so determined, to bring you into this world and love you like no other. I was the single mother of two who worked long hours and still held dance parties with just my two boys where we sang at the top of our lungs and the laughter rang as loud as the music. Before you were even born, I was the mum eating cherry cheesecake so I could see you dance. (And because cheesecake.)
When I first saw you, I knew that you would hold my heart forever. Two more times I met my new sweet babies, and two more times my heart grew to wrap around all of you. When you were a baby, I was that mum who couldn't sleep for looking at you. I can still feel you, so tiny, snuggled on my chest. When I see you asleep now, I still picture you curled up in footie pajamas, all wispy hair and dark lashes against perfect skin.
I was that mum who rocked you all night, patting and bouncing and shh, shh, shhing when you cried. I was the mum who panicked over every bump and bruise. I was the mum who kissed boo boos. I was the mum who spent untold hours waiting on casts for broken bones or bandages for cut fingers. (Safety scissors, my ass.) I was the mum whose leg you were firmly wrapped around the day we toured preschools. I was the mum who went to school online in order to work from home because you needed me.
I am the mum who signs notes and checks homework and packs lunches. I'm the mum who makes the doctor's visits and dentist appointments and parent teacher conferences. I'm the mum who hasn't worn anything but thrift shop clothes for years so that you can go to school wearing clothes that are apparently hand-sewn by the famous athletes of the world.
I'm the mum who makes stupid jokes and sings off-key and acts sillier than I am just to see you smile. I'm the mum who wouldn't trade those smiles for the entire world.
I'm the mum who loves you so much more than I could ever explain. And the mum who tries so hard to show you that.
But most times I feel like I am also the mum who is failing.
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I'm the mum with chronic recurring depression. I'm the mum with generalised anxiety disorder. I'm the mum with PTSD. I'm the mum who has chronic migraines. I'm the mum with chronic pain. I'm the mum who sees more doctors than hairstylists. (Hahaha, I don't even remember the last time I went to a stylist. But you have an appointment tomorrow.)
I am the mum who struggles every single day to accomplish the things that have to be done so that you can have a "normal" life. I am the mum who does your laundry even when I have to sit down to sort it. I'm the mum who makes sure the water bill gets paid so that you can shower. I'm the mum who clips your fingernails and buys you toothpaste and nags you to wear deodorant.
When our team felt like terrible mums. Post continues after video...
I'm also the mum who forgets things. Not the big stuff, like birthdays or Christmas, although there have been a few notes from the Tooth Fairy instead of cash. But I forget things that you already told me. I forget that when you were playing a video game yesterday, you scored 58 touchdowns and a free throw, and spawned...maybe a chicken? I don't know. I forget.
But I'm also the mum who can tell in a single glance when you are upset, and who listens to you when you are sad and angry and when you are happy and excited, even if I do tend to forget your ponies' names and LeBron's stats and how to catch 'em all.
I'm the mum who wants to slay all your dragons and breathe fire on anyone who dares to hurt you.
I'm also the mum who too often hurts too much to cook dinner. I'm the mum who lets you eat an unhealthy amount of macaroni and pizza rolls. I'm the mum who has piles of clean laundry on the couch because my arms ache so badly I can't fold it. I'm the mum who gets overwhelmed too easily. I'm the mum who has to hide when things get to be too much. I'm that mum who cries in the bathroom when I've let you down.
I'm the mum who stays awake at night worrying about you. I'm the mum who wishes she could save all your hugs and all your "I love you's" and get them back out on the days when there are no hugs, just slamming doors.
I'm the mum who loves you SO MUCH. You are the children who save my life every day. I'm the mum who is trying to be the parent you deserve, even when I'm not the one you might want.
This article originally appeared on We Don't Chew Glass.
Stephanie Marsh is an inconsistent perfectionist, writer of rubbish, mother of three, and wife of one. She likes words and suspects she would like sanity, but really has no way of knowing. She can be reasonable, but not often. She has been published on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, The Indie Chicks, in the anthology Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor, and the soon-to-be-published anthology Adventures in Potty Training. You can find her on her blog We Don't Chew Glass, Facebook, and Twitter.