When I close my eyes and I think about the way I want to raise my kids it looks nothing like what I had planned years ago.
Here’s a brief example to give an idea…
This morning I woke up about two hours ahead of my kids so I came downstairs for my coffee.
In my dream world I’d make it to the coffee pot, sit at my desk with a real mug and sip my coffee as I adulted for a bit, paying bills and checking emails.
Once I’ve enjoyed my warm coffee, my kids would wake up, all smiles of course and I’d have pancakes on the griddle waiting.
Here’s kinda how it really goes…
If you were too tired the night before to clean up the toy room chaos then you’ll have to be on extra-high alert.
If you’re not careful of the tiny LEGO land-mines your foot could feel a god-awful pinch like a NAIL just drove into it. I know it hurts, you’ll be okay. It’s just a LEGO.
And if you were REALLY tired and forgot to take the dog out one last time before you passed out 5 minutes into your Netflix pick then you’ll wake up to what you thought was an early diaper for your baby but ends up being something your foot finds before your eyes could open up wide enough to see.
Yep, that’s dog poo.
Thank god the laundry room is right-there because your socks can’t make it off soon enough. So just toss them to the side and keep moving because once your coffee makes it to your cup, it’s go time.
You make it to the coffee pot and resort to your Yetti, because who knows when you’ll get to finish it (and who likes cold coffee anyway?).
You sit down to pay some bills and as you’re about to sip that piping hot coffee, you hear your baby wake up….
There’s the ‘ideal’ and then there’s the ‘real’.
My ego pushes me to be that “ideal” mom + wake up in a spotless home with breakfast on the table.
And then life is like…nah Ang…you’re a “real” mom so drink that coffee, burn your mouth a bit and clean up the dog poop in the living room before the kids wake up and turn that poo into paint.
Ego is something not really talked about with moms but it’s there…
It’s there when you judge the mom in her pj’s at drop off.
It’s there when you’re packing your kids lunch and know other eye balls will see that you chose organic strawberries over goldfish.
It’s there when you pay as much, if not more for your kids clothes than your own.
Ego is that layer you don’t want people to see, but feel naked without and that really got me thinking.
Is your ego something you manifest? Or is it an expectation you are trying to live up to?
While we ponder that…let me tell you a story about how I got mom shamed and how I’m not ashamed to tell you this lady has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about.
In the middle of the week, my son got a tooth pulled so we set out to get some children’s Tylenol…
Well I’m at the grocery store nursing my daughter in the medicine isle because we had been at the dentist all morning…and we’ll, she was hungry…
This lady walks up to me, congratulating me on my beautiful baby girl, I thought…
She proceeds to ask me personal questions,
“How old is she?” – 3 weeks old
“You look amazing! Was it vaginal?” – Thanks, uhh yeah it was a really fast deliv….
Before I could finish my thought, she skips past the small talk and throws out something that sounds like a compliment…at first.
“She’s such a beautiful baby, congratulations again. You are so brave, I didn’t let my baby leave the house because it’s flu season.”
Huh? Did she just mom shame me in the grocery store? What’s going on? I thought you said she’s beautiful? I’m brave? Like, cause the vaginal part? Or I’m brave because….I’M NURSING MY 3 WEEK OLD DAUGHTER IN THE GROCERY STORE? (bitch)
Now, if you know me, you know a few things about me.
1. My partner serves and deploys in the military
2. I homeschool my son
3. I raise my kids alone about half the year
4. I had a spinal fusion I’m still struggling with
5. I have a resting bitch face, but I’m not a bitch (I think?)
So if you really know me, you can probably imagine the brow raise and stink lip I gave her.
And right as I’m about to address her ‘compliment’ I hear an entire display of chips fall over the next isle over.
At this point, my son was no longer in my sight and I panicked.
I gave her the all-too-familiar Ang-eye-roll + walked over to the next aisle where a literal entire salsa chip display was spread across the floor and my six-year-old son standing knee deep in chips with a stranger to his rescue.
“Who put this display here?!” – is all this guy kept saying.
By the way, that human is fucking awesome.
I mouthed the words “thank you”, gave my son a big hug, opened the Children’s Tylenol in the middle of the store + gave him a chewing tablet to eat right there in front of me as we walked to the register.
I love the market that I shop at because the staff ‘knows me’ without actually knowing me.
They see me with my kids alone, on a regular basis.
They are patient while my son learns how to load the groceries onto the counter in a sensible order or hits items off the shelf with the shopping cart.
Their persistence in helping me out to my car is constantly matched with my personal passion to do-it-all, but they still offer even when they know I’ll say no thank you + I appreciate that.
They know my husband is gone, and don’t remind me by asking how I’m doing (thank you for that).
More importantly, they sneak smiles when they see he is home, because they know I’m okay now.
They see me without ‘seeing me’ and that’s my favorite part.
That day I can say I got a free pass at the grocery store as the entire staff gathered in the chip aisle collecting all the broken and popped bags of chips and tossing them into big black trash bags with huge smiles on their faces.
As my son stood there, wiping his tears, there was nothing but smiles of compassion and understanding looking back at him, cracking jokes to get him to smile.
“Dude, who put the chip display there?!?”
That day we will both never forget.
We sat in the car while Charly Rae napped and talked, cried and joked for about 30 minutes on the difference between knowing who you are and being who you are…and debating “who” put that chip display there? ?
I might not be “that mom”, but I’m the best mom I know how to be.
This won’t be the last time complete strangers come to my rescue, and I’m actually thankful for that.
Letting go of my ego has been something I’ve focused on this past year + something I’ve zoned in on for the simple fact that my son looks up to me.
Being vulnerable is a skill. It’s necessary in understanding humanity and I think it’s important.
My son could have been bullied about the chips…
I think a bully is influenced by ego.
So, in honor of the egotistical lady at the grocery store…this tee design is a reminder that your ego is not your amigo.
By showing just a smidge of humility in the chip aisle, my 6 year old allowed complete strangers to come into his life and help him with something that could possibly change a part of who he is, if handled by a bully.
Now, if that woman would have been the one to walk up to him and that chip aisle I would probably be telling you an entirely different story…
With that being said, we’re gonna have churros for lunch and enjoy each other’s company as we prepare for another phase in our life (my journey with Uber).
In the meantime, I want to say a quick thank you to the staff for showing compassion for my son and showing him that it’s OK to be who you are.
It’s ok to mess up sometimes.
To pick yourself up + to keep going.
To be nice to people, just because.
To return gestures.
It still exists out there and it was nice to have a little taste as a reminder.
Never forget, your ego is not your amigo, my friends. ✌?
If you’d like to show some support in our ventures, or just like the tee, you can purchase my design here on Design by Humans.