Joan Cleaver.  Super Woman.  The Virgin Mary.  And that woman referenced in Proverbs…The Perfect Wife. I’m sure she was also the perfect Mother.

I am not a contender. In fact I’m not even in the running.

I have a good Mother.  She wasn’t perfect, she didn’t speak in quiet whispers all the time.  But she was there. She taught me how to love even when it was tough, she shared her mistakes and held me when I cried.  She taught me to read, and now sits for hours with my kids fat crayons covering the table, coloring pictures with them while she bakes cookies in the oven. She taught me to love music, and let me sit next to her when I had my hair dyed bright pink and came to all the nights of my shows.  She told me when I hurt her feelings and was too blunt with my words – and slapped me across the face when I was cruel to her. And she forgave me, over and over again.  And has always been there. I don’t look back on my childhood and think or wish things had been different…I have a good mother and I had a good childhood. Things happened, and some of them were dark, but who doesn’t have stuff? I have a good Mother.

Because of that, and because of all the good mothers I know I was thinking of ways I can improve to become a better Mother. I’d like to be SuperMom.  Volunteer for everything, have it all together all the time…but even when I think I do, I’ll realize I’ve got a big stain on my pants the size of Texas and one of my boobs will pop out while helping kids check out library books at my kid’s school, giving them something else to check out.  I cook the same 20 meals over and over again, and my kids have Happy Meals during sports/music/dance seasons.  I read with them and shower them, but forgot to prune my roses this year, and cannot keep a vegetable garden alive.

So in light of my imperfection and instead of all the negative mommy guilt that seems to plague me recently I’m going to look at the Winning and Losing Moments of the past month that have ensured that I’m not in the running for America’s Mom of the Year…

Jonah is an amazing, talented and great kid. He is so smart and wise beyond his years. He is a faithful friend and really gives us no trouble. He also is completely bilingual which is so fun, and I love having him translate things for me.  He just figured out how to play “Clocks” by Coldplay on the piano and he fills our house with music. And he is so grateful which I love!

Winning: Jonah has decided and brags to everyone that I am the Mom the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books based the Mom on. I overheard him telling a friend “My mom is so fun and crazy!” He still kisses me goodbye and tells me he loves me without me saying it first. I know this is fleeting…but I’ll take it.

Losing: I am “the ONLY mom” who has only allowed him to read the first Harry Potter. After talking to multiple teachers/librarians we decided to have him age with Harry so he’ll be starting the second book in the next couple months, since the content matures with Harry…I’m also the ONLY mom who won’t let him watch Star Wars 3.  And he can’t go to a public restroom alone, and has only had one sleepover.  Meanest Mom Everrr, I tell you.

Daniel is an amazing kid with so much passion. He is so talented at everything he does whether it’s soccer or breakdancing, and he makes everything his own.  He is a tease and is a girl magnet, and can be painfully shy but has a hilarious sense of humor.  He has wanted to be a priest for two years, and talks often about his vocation some day. By the Way he does not want to be called Father Dan, only Father Daniel. Or Father Brick Tonic if he’s still breakdancing.

Winning: Daniel loves spending time with us, whether it’s us watching him breakdance or us drawing with him. Recently he’s been displaying Lego creations all over the house, and a shell collection, and a coin collection.  I let him do this…because it’s a good mess, and I know it’s important to him.  Daniel also loves praying as a family so I make sure he is always involved in our prayers every night.

Losing: He has been in time out twice since I started this post. He is being sassy, and making Grace smell his feet. Daniel has a lot of passion and sometimes lacks reason. Right now he has had it with me being consistent and thinks “life isn’t fair” and someday he is going to be able to live his life…and he’s back in time out.

Micah is the reason people have lots of kids. He is such a special kid, oozing with goodness and humor, he is sweet and smart, and will take anybody down who hurts his siblings. He is all boy and loves girls, and his friends, and anything that is Star Wars and Police. He also really likes Paul Simon music which makes him maybe the coolest 4 year old that has ever lived.

Winning: I am trying to buy tickets for Micah and me to see Taylor Swift in September. He said he’s going to marry her and has called her his girlfriend for over 2 years.  He loves her.

Losing: I waited too long to buy tickets and am now desperately seeking reasonably priced seats to her concert…and I am fully prepared to enter contests so he can meet her. He also doesn’t understand why we can’t have pizza every night.

Grace could have gone either way…she could’ve been a complete tomboy or the ultimate girl.  What we got was the fanciest toughest funnest girl in the world. Grace is so fun, she is busy and passionate and laughs all the time.  She loves to dance and sings loudly to any song on the radio.  When she loves you, she lets you know and she is so proud of who she is. Her current attire consists of a swimsuit and a tutu which she pulls off beautifully.

Winning: As much as I still struggle with the inner voices that plague my own self worth, I have never conveyed any of those things to Grace. She is so proud to live in her skin. A perfect example of this is in the cry room at church when another older little girl said to her, “You’re cute!” and Grace replied, “I’m not cute, I’m beautiful.”  But I also love that she is tough and fearless, she can keep up and is not afraid to. And she’s not lying when she says she is beautiful, she looks just like my Mom.

Losing: On Sunday she fell from the top of our play structure which is over six feet tall onto her face. Her nose and right around her eyes are crusty with scabs and swelling and she will have at least one black eye at the wedding we are attending this weekend.  It was the ONE time I have ever left her out there, I walked in briefly and she fell.  The guilt has been as overwhelming as the relief that she is ok. Losing big time there.

When I was growing up I always wished I could be the center of things. In fact I’d try to gather attention and a lot of times I’d garner the wrong type of attention.  Now I find myself at these PTA type meetings trying to find one familiar face, being at Chris’ work functions desperate for our friends, I’ve become a little insecure that I’ll say the wrong thing – that I will reflect bad on my kids, on our life.  But it’s amazing how God works…I have met some of the most amazing Moms through the school, and our friends from the Department really are family. And I don’t have to be someone else, I can just be myself. I can use the word blessed and also pissy, and I don’t always have to wear mascara. And when it comes to my kids I don’t need to be the center, I just want to be a part of their lives.

And when I’m home or in the car, or dancing with my kids somehow all my imperfections seem to make me more real to them.  They know I’m not perfect, they’ve seen me yell and cry.  And someday they will hurt me, really hurt me, and I’ll forgive them. And they’ll forgive me for being not being Joan Cleaver  whose hair never moved, or the Virgin Mary the Mama who knew all about sacrifice.

There are some really doozy Mamas out there, but there are also some amazing Mamas out there.  The Mamas I know who can’t have children in their womb and have opened their hearts to adoption, The Mamas who have had babies after losing babies, the Mamas who have a special needs children, and all the Mamas I know and love who love their kids and give that love with such abundance that it makes your heart ache, and the Women I love who so want to be Mamas but aren’t yet –but will someday however God blesses them, be fabulous Mamas.  And my Mom, who taught me to be there and to love with that selfless love that only comes from being open to whatever life throws your way.

So I’m off  to find Grace who is hiding under a blanket right in front of me… Not Mother of the Year or anything, but I’m pretty sure I’m winning at something.