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Not_That_mom

Not That Mom

By Chris Jordan

I am a good mother. It’s just that I am not that mom.  You know the one.  She seems to make it all look effortless.  She sews and bakes and organizes parties for the class.  Her kids wear clothing that matches.  Her car doesn’t have scratches along the side from bikes and scooters riding too close.  All the other mothers are in awe of her.

I am happy that mom exists.  Without her my children would not know what to do with a glue stick and felt.  They would never have seen the inside of Chuck-E-Cheese or decorated sugar cookies the size of their faces.  Their classroom at school would not be decorated for monthly theme parties.  It’s just not me.

I’ll let you in on a secret.   I don’t want to be that mom.

There are a lot of things I don’t do, things that sometimes make me feel like an anomaly in the competitive suburban parenting world.  I am okay with it.  I am okay with opting out of the competition.  I am okay with being selfish sometimes, if it means I am being true to who I am.  If that means I never have to build my own bear, I will survive.  Somehow.

My Mothering Don’ts

1. I don’t play. I like to say that this is why I had lots of children, so that I would never have to play a board game, but the truth is that it was just a wonderful perk.

2. I don’t scrapbook.  I will not have meticulously crafted baby books filled with photos and stickers documenting my children’s lives.  My oldest son has a baby book that I carefully wrote in for the first few months of his life, during which time I cried that there was not enough room in the book for me to write all of the wonderous things that he did, like blink.  I bought the identical baby book for each subsequent child.  I was determined not to be that parent who slacked off and had nothing but a couple of blurry photos for the later born children in the family.  My kids would all have the same baby book, so help me God.   And they do.

The books all stand neatly in a group in my bookcase.  Six of them are completely blank.

3. I don’t do crafts.  I don’t get crafts.  I have zero desire to hot glue googly eyes onto anything. I don’t volunteer in the classroom every week.  I don’t want to be room mother, nor do I want to come and read to the class. In fact, I’d prefer that there were less classroom parties at which my attendance was expected.  Do I really need to come to the school in the middle of the day and watch a bunch of kids eat cupcakes and do a craft?

4. I don’t bring my children to indoor playspaces designed solely to separate me from my money.

5. I don’t wear holiday themed sweaters or jewelry.  I don’t wear matching clothes with my children.

6. I don’t sew.  I especially do not sew my children their own Halloween costumes.

I am the mother who decides to ignore the warnings and test the strength of the iron on patch and not sew it to the football jersey.  I am the mother standing on the sidelines with bright green thread and a bent needle sewing the iron on patch to the jersey after it fell off on the walk from the parking lot to the field, while my son impatiently pulls away from me.

I am the mother who also sews the patches on the jerseys of the kids who have slacker parents like me.  The bright green thread against the white jersey is like our secret handshake.

My daughter has joined girl scouts this year.  We missed the first get together– a Mommy and Me scrapbooking event.  I heard that there is a sash and numerous patches that must be sewn onto this sash.  I am pretty sure I am not cut out for this.  I found out that at the next meeting we would be signing up for what special mom we would like to be.  Meaning everyone would pick something in their area of expertise.  There was Crafting Mom, Camping Mom, Cooking Mom, to name a few.  I looked for Cocktail Mom on the list, but no such luck.

7. I don’t bake elaborate birthday cakes.  Isn’t that what bakeries are for?  Nor do I plan a huge theme birthday parties and invite the entire class.  In fact, my 9 and 11 yr old sons are celebrating their birthdays next week with three of their good friends.  They are all going to the paintball place where they will try to kill each other, then back to our house for pizza and a sleepover.

Their birthdays were 9 months and 5 months ago.

My 5 and 7 year olds want me to plan them a joint birthday party now.  Their birthdays were 8 and 4 months ago.  I figure I still have time.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.    We have two weeks until school begins here and already I am being inundated with things I “have” to do lest my children be deprived by the lack of glitter and parental over-involvement in their lives.  So please make me feel better and tell me, what don’t you do?

Published August 12, 2010. Last updated June 25, 2018.
Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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