The White Picket Fence of Parenting

white-picket-fence-png-and-we-all-need-something-to-believe-in-you-may-not-know-the-songMaybe I am the only mother on the face of the planet that feels impassioned insecurities as a parent but just maybe there are other completely sane and rational people lifting up a fist bump into the air right now in solidarity. Some parents are perfectionists and can seamlessly deliver organization with ease. You never see their children fight, whine and are predictably agreeable. They ask their kids to do something ONE TIME and it goes down without a fight. Their house and car are spotless and their kid’s shirts are crisply ironed.

In fact, all public portrayal of their lives will lead one to believe that their children never sass, keep clean rooms, make straight A’s, succeed in all areas of life, independently brush their teeth and even clean the toilet weekly. It’s the white picket fence portrayal of motherhood.

Their children are perfect, therefore their parenting must be perfect and it indirectly causes all the rest of us to feel seemingly inadequate at basically everything.

Although I’m wise enough to know better and that people only let you see what they want you to see, I still find myself wishing I was better at many things as a mother.

The current state of affairs in my home:

Hygiene Challenges: My three-year old refuses to potty train. He wears me out 24/7 and thinks it’s a game of hide and seek when it’s time to brush his teeth. My oldest has an unfortunate affinity for ineffective teeth brushing and deodorant application. Also, my daughter has braces and keeping those things spotless is the stuff of make-believe. Showers…my daughter is the ray of sunshine in this department but then the hair detangling. Even with the special hair spray, it’s like trying to put a cat in water.

Furthermore, our dog has been so screwed up with potty training since her brother died and let’s just say that yours truly slightly missed the spaying window. Oops. I blinked and she became a woman a week ago. She is currently sporting a Doc McStuffins Pull Up and I DON’T EVEN CARE.

The Electronic Generation: My kids are on the iPad WAY too much. It’s blistering hot outside and they expect mama to entertain them otherwise. I mean, it’s not like mom sits around watching the Kardashians all day. I have too much to do and never enough time to do it. Everybody has to have clean underwear, right?

Housekeeper Smousekeeper: The house is never 100% clean. In fact, I would argue it’s more around the 60% mark. No tangible satisfaction of a job well done. I’m busy working on it constantly it seems. For example, I worked six hours the other day cleaning and getting ready for our babysitter to come over. Dinner was ready, major rooms were respectably presentable, she comes in and then the sunlight entered the windows at just the right angle.

All of that work only to see an impressive layer of dust on furniture in the living room that I missed, toys already monopolizing the main floor again and remnants of a magic eraser the dog swiped all underneath the table. Ugh! We really hope she comes back after seeing us in all our messy glory.

Personality Plus: So many intense opinions and so often! My boys are strong-willed to the hilt and my daughter is the needy, dramatic middle child. One or both of her brothers are always up in her business annoying the fire out of her and they fight way too much for my liking. The shrill screaming she can dish out is like nails on a chalkboard.

All three of my kids are lively and I love that. It’s just adjusting parenting for the different personality spectrums is exhausting, confusing and I have no idea if I’m doing a decent job or not!

Mealtime Mayem: I am not a short order cook, my kids don’t all like the same foods and the hubs and I need to eat healthy. Like every other parent on the planet, I want them to eat more fruits and veggies. My kids are built like I was at their age…a little on the “healthy” side. I didn’t lose my pudgy belly until seventh grade and then leaned out.

For the most part, I try to have fresh options available in public sight for them. Sometimes it’s a win, sometimes it’s Chick-fil-a, sometimes I find a whole banana left on the counter with only one bite missing but, rest assured, they NEVER like the same fruit or veggie at the same time unless it’s some deep-fried okra they were served at grandma’s house. It’s fine stuff. I can’t blame them.

Bedtime: Seriously, we are so tired we don’t even realize they are in the bed with us until we roll over onto a limb or hairy paw. Now, if the full-grown beast child enters the living quarters, we KNOW. He sweats, moves constantly and no king size bed can accommodate all three of us.

This is the primary challenge I have experienced going from a corporate working mother to stay-at-home working mother: there is little tangible evidence that tells you if you are doing a great job or failing miserably at your occupation. Before, there were ratings and raises. Now, who in the world knows!

Maybe there are really parents out there that are perfectionists at their craft and everything goes off without a hitch all the time. It’s hard to admit that I am not and will never be one of them.

I guess when we have rough days, it’s best to remind ourselves that our kids are happy, healthy enough and loved. Our picket fence is more like a camouflage look. We stand out like a sore thumb when placed next to the perfect family persona but we are a very nice blend of our uniqueness.


Consider this the white picket fence of HONESTY in parenting. 🙂



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