Updated: Nov 9, 2021
"I'm going to stop punishing my children by saying, "Never mind! I'll do it myself." (Erma Bombeck n.d.)
Erma Bombeck was always the most humorous writer I have known, I first read her when I was a child, as her books were displayed proudly on my aunt’s coffee table, and even then, I may not have understood literally any of it truly…it was still funny. I now am a mother, and even though I will never admit this in public, more than likely pretty close in age when Mrs. Bombeck began writing her quips, books, and memorable quotations. I have to say I totally get it, and I agree with the majority of her words.
There are so many things that I have done during my journey into motherhood that fall into two controversial categories, one being, things I did for my sanity that I will not burn in hell for; for example, “accidentally dropping a goopy and drippy ice cream cone before handing it off to my wide-eyed innocent and trusting toddler (this was a mercy termination that brought me peace of mind). Two being things I did not want to do that literally hurt my soul for the complete benefit of my child; such as the day I had to paint my son’s nails because he felt boys should be allowed to paint any part of their bodies as well as girls, knowing deep down there was a chance he would be bullied (incidentally he was teased but because of the confidence his little body held he was able to confront and stand up against his naysayers).
I tried to think of the many times I did potentially questionable things simply because I am a mother. Therefore I have taken some time and a lot of introspection to write my child (children actually) a carefully thought out, well planned, and not at all pointed note.
I am never going to apologize for “forcing” you into extra-circular activities, I can think of no less than 621 times my kids just did not feel like going to Hockey, Music lessons, Scouts. I simply said that’s okay you can protest in the backseat on the way there.
I will never apologize for perfecting my RBF (resting bitch face) so you could not see any legitimate emotion when you were doing something that internally made me scream, panic, shudder, or literally die of embarrassment as you needed that confidence, heck a small coronary or panic attack is nothing compared to the happiness you had knowing mom did not affect your horrible decisions.
There will be no apology for exposing you to the actual world around you; not a filtered, sugar-coated, often whitewashed existence. I do not feel bad that you are worldly and understand that there are many cultures, ethnicities, and communities in your world, one day I hope you continue exposing yourself to the riches of this planet and never stop learning.
I will not apologize ever for allowing you to process death and dying, I do not regret for one minute being honest about not only our mortality but that of our beloved pets/companions, even the food we eat; you have respect loss and grief, a respect for the other creatures we share this world with, and you understand the complexities of how our world functions.
I think this last thought, to me, is the most profound; I will never apologize for being human. I make mistakes, hell, I made a lot of mistakes (most before you were born clearly) making mistakes is how we grow, how we learn; and you need to know I am not perfect, perfection is not a truth, it is an unrealistic ideal that simply does not exist because no one person can agree on what it means to be perfect. I cry, I yell, I get angry, and it is okay to have emotions, it is what makes us special, I am glad that you have seen me angry, frustrated, even at times, cry; because it normalizes emotions to you so that you don’t feel that you have to refrain or hide how you are feeling.
There are so many other thoughts that I could list but I tend to ramble when I am talking about a subject I enjoy, So to end by time atop my box I will leave you another quote, that is so near and dear to my heart.
“Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I'll tell them: I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home. ... I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your friend was a creep. I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way with a bite out of it to a drugstore and confess, 'I stole this.' ... But most of all I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.” (Erma Bombeck, n.d.)