So I went to confession after all, this week. Actually my friend and neighbor read my post and immediately texted me that the following afternoon, I was to drop Lincoln off with her and get my tuchus to confession. I’m not gonna lie, I was hoping a little bit that she would do exactly that, because she’s awesome, and I, in a total dearth of motivation, needed marching orders.
So I went, and I confessed, and lo and behold…I felt no different. Never ever, not once, have I ever gone to confession and felt no different. Apparently there’s a first time for everything, though. The only thing I felt was the vague intellectual satisfaction of having done one more thing on my mental to-do list.
This pregnancy is really weird all the way around. I’ve never been big on to-do lists or schedules — they tend to make me feel trapped, stifled, and then quickly morph into a record of things I’ve failed to do. But lately I’ve found to-do lists oddly satisfying. In the absence of organic motivation, doing something simply so I can cross it off a list is an acceptable, if unsatisfying, replacement. In fact, I’m typing these words right now because “blog” was on my list for today.
I was struggling, at first, with what to write about. Shall I complain again about pregnancy, or depression, or both? Shall I take the manic road and blog about something hilarious my children did, and pretend for a moment that everything is shiny? Shall I remain melancholy, and ruminate on my every failure?
Then I remembered a conversation I had with another mom at lunch duty this week, where she confessed (in barely a whisper) some mothering indiscretion. And I tried to make her feel better by assuring her that I had done the same thing, the same day in fact, but I don’t think she believed me. It’s true, though — I screw up all the time, and I think most moms do too. We’re just really hard on ourselves about it. At least, I am. I tend to self-lacerate where I would extend mercy to another mom. I’ll lie awake for hours, beating myself up for something I’d be quick to reassure another mother about. The truth is, I feel a tiny bit relieved when I hear another mom admit to losing her temper. It assuages the deep-down darkest of my fears, that I am actually a bad mom, actually a worse mom, actually the worst mom, and my children are growing up in some kind of dystopian hell that one of them will write a best-seller about, one day.
So in the spirit of solidarity (and shameless blog-opting from Clare Coffey), here’s my dreadful mothering confession. It might not make me feel better, but it might make another long-suffering, self-lacerating mama out there breathe a sigh of relief. (If, however, it makes you think that perhaps my children really are growing up in some kind of dystopian hell, just go ahead and keep that opinion to yourself. After all, it’s not even remotely like Flowers in the Attic over here.)
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, within mere hours of my last confession.
I yelled at my children when they weren’t picking up, and then I yelled again when they put everything in the wrong places.
I said the f-word in front of my children, and my 9-year-old scolded me for it.
I bought cookies at the store, which were not in our budget.
I ate seven on the way home.
And four more after dinner.
I gave my children pizza for dinner, even though I had just given them macaroni yesterday.
I did not eat salad for dinner, which would have been good for the baby. Instead I ate leftover macaroni, and cookies.
I poured my husband a drink and took a big swig.
I took three big swigs, actually, Father. I just didn’t want to tell you about the other two.
I left the dishes in the sink after dinner, and sat down on the couch while my children cleaned the kitchen.
I sent my daughter to school in dirty knee-socks, because I fell asleep instead of finishing the laundry.
I let the toddler have more than the recommended 20-minute amount of screen time per day.
Way, way more.
And while he was binge-watching RescueBots, I fell asleep on the couch.
I spent an hour scrolling through facebook for no reason.
I had to visit YouTube to figure out how to help my daughter with her math homework.
I said the f-word again, but I’m pretty sure no one heard it this time.
In my defense, her homework involved fractions, which are a kind of f-word in and of themselves.
I gave up trying to help and asked the Ogre to come home from work early.
I took another drink of his whiskey before I gave it to him.
For these and all my other sins, I am truly sorry. May God and our children forgive me, and mothers everywhere, who are mostly just doing the best we can.
And may fractions be banished to hell. Amen.