I dreamt of being the perfect mom. My children would be so loved and cared for! I would make everything perfect for them. We would make all the right decisions, and they would grow up to be incredible, amazing and brilliant people!
Seriously! What was I thinking? No one can be the perfect mother!
First of all my children were going to be safe kids and were NOT going to play with guns! No toy guns were allowed to be purchased by anyone for our children. Violent television shows were not allowed on t.v. Everything was going to be kid-friendly and safe! Ha! One day when my older two boys were about 3 years old and 2 years old, I sat them down for lunch and then went to fold the laundry. After a bit, I could hear “pew, pew, pew!” I went out to see what they were doing. They had chewed their sandwiches into the shape of guns and were shooting each other across from the table! I was floored! How had this happened? I complained to my husband, and he told me to get over it, boys will be boys! Ugh! So helpfull! So… We started letting them play with toy guns and watch slightly violent t.v. shows!
We were going to be open about sexuality. Not grossly open though, but if our children had questions at any age, we would answer as honestly as we could. I prided myself on the fact that I would treat my children like little human beings, not babies. Our oldest started “playing with himself” quite often. We would often see him with his hand down his trousers. So we did what all the books suggested! They said not to make your child embarrassed about sexuality. It’s human. We told him that it was okay to touch yourself, but only you can do that, no one else. Also, you can only do that in the privacy of your own room! That is a private thing. One day, while my husband’s very conservative family was visiting, my darling, curly-haired, bright blue-eyed toddler stands up and announces “I’m going to my room to play with my penis!” You could have heard a pin drop! Everyone was looking at my husband and I as if wondering, “what are they teaching this child?” I could have died from the mortification!
When that bright blue-eyed boy was in elementary school, I received a call from his teacher. He had called another child a B*stard! Oh my Lord, are you kidding me? I apologized profusely, I told the teacher that I couldn’t imagine why he would do that! She next informed me that he learned the word from his uncle! My two youngest brothers were just entering their teen years, and that was their favorite word to call each other. Could I be anymore mortified?
That same bright blue eyed boy continued to grow. He became best friends with the son of people we became best friends with. One day he announced, in the car, he knew what a dildo was! I literally choked! What?!?!? He was barely a teenager, and he declares he knows what a sex toy was?!?! Oh Lord, seriously, this boy must have been sent to test my resilience! He had learned what it was from his best friend’s older brother! Later in his later teen years, he would get in trouble with said friend and older brother for sneaking out of the friend’s house late at night and going for a drive with the older brother (who was of legal driving age). They got busted by the police for being in a bad part of town and driving the wrong way down a one-way street! The legal driving teenager brought my son home with an apology, and we parents punished all boys with the same punishment for the same length of time.
I often had to ground him from his cell phone and other electronics because of inappropriate use or inappropriate behavior. We struggled for many years with attitude, bad grades, laziness. I wanted to pull my hair out, scream and sometimes severely throttle him! This child and his behavior were far from showing I was a perfect mother!
He now is a Sergeant in the Army. He received his first promotion while still in boot camp. He moved through the ranks to Sergeant in less than three years. He has a wife he loves dearly and a newborn son (with God’s good grace he will now hopefully see what he put me through!). I obviously was not a perfect mother, but somehow he seemed to survive. He even became an upstanding adult! His Drill Sergeants and all of his superiors we have met have all congratulated us on raising such a squared away soldier and fine human being. Despite me not being a perfect mother.
I have raised two sons to adulthood and given them to the Army to continue raising. I have two more here at home that I am raising imperfectly. I am an imperfect mother, with God’s grace. But sometimes I still look to the Heavens and ask “God help me!”