Hey Kiddo –
I’m your mom. No, there wasn’t any sort of application process. This is more like getting a random roommate freshman year of college, only I didn’t even have to fill out the lying-about-how-tidy-you-are form (I’m really more of six than an eight on cleanliness), and I won’t ask you to bring a mini-fridge. I know you didn’t get a say in this whole being born thing, so I want to temper your expectations about the experience. Research shows that having realistic expectation increases life satisfaction (Yeah, I’m the type of mom who is going to cite research at you – sorry!). Now that I already have one apology out of the way, let’s get down to the rest of the bad news.
1. I am not crafty
I’m not sure if you get Pinterest in the womb (or even Wi-Fi – some things do get better after birth), but you may’ve heard that some moms are able to whip up adorable and creative solutions to all of life’s obstacles, including, but not limited to: themed birthday parties, decorated cakes, lunches cut into exciting shapes, and enthralling weekend and summertime activities created just for you. I am not that person. I mean, I’ll try because I love you and all, but the likely height of my lunch-related creativity will involve putting strawberry jam rather than grape in your PB&J. Your Halloween costumes might be made with duct tape and a sheet (What? Robo-Ghost is totally going to be the costume of 2020). And, when your Lego-themed birthday cake looks like a flotilla of melted gummy bears, just remember that you were warned.
2. I am not June Cleaver
You don’t get that reference, but you probably think that moms are dripping with sweetness and unending patience for their incorrigible offspring. This, however, will likely not be your experience. Your mom – for better or worse – is snarky and sarcastic and will, despite best efforts, say kid-inappropriate things at fairly regular intervals. Silver lining: you’ll probably have an “advanced and colorful” vocabulary at an early age. Not-so-silver lining: your teachers may not appreciate this gift.
3. I cannot tell you why the sky is blue
I’m told you’ll eventually want to know things – all sorts of things – about the world and will treat me as your own personal Google. Unfortunately for you, I haven’t the faintest idea about any subjects that kids find interesting. Space? It’s out there. Dinosaurs? I don’t dwell on the past. Sure, I could look up the answers and get back to you in 3-5 business days, but you’ll probably lose interest by then. If you’re ever interested in a 2000 word analysis of the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, though, I’m your girl.
4. I’m bad at sports
True story: I once got a black eye playing softball…during warm-ups. My hand-eye coordination is similar to an overly caffeinated baboon, so I’ll be of very little help when it comes to any of the flying-projectile-related activities that are so popular in our culture. I was going to try to avoid being gender-normative here, but go ask your father.
5. Your likelihood of coolness is very low
Not as low as, say, the odds of Donald Trump winning the Nobel Peace Prize, but pretty damn low. I was captain of the debate team. Your father owns upwards of ten Rubik’s Cubes. Genetics are not in your favor. Sure, you’ll try to rebel, but, in all likelihood, ages 12-17 will involve oboe-playing social isolation for you. <cue Darth Vader voice> Luke, it is your destiny (See? Totally uncool. You’re screwed). By the way, I can’t wait until you start getting pop culture references.
6. I’m going to make a ton of mistakes
I’ve never done this before, and, even if I had, I don’t even know you yet. How am I supposed to give you everything you need, especially when you can’t even tell me what that is? I’m going to say some things I don’t mean, raise my voice when I shouldn’t, say no when I should say yes. I’m not going to know what to do a lot of the time, so I’m basically going to be guessing. Now, that’s not so different from how I currently live my life, but here’s the kicker. Your happiness will depend on how often those guesses are right. Not a great system, I admit, but there you have it. I’m just hoping we make it through this intact, have more happy days than not, and that you know that I love you tremendously, even when I screw up.
I bet after reading all of this you’re super excited to start this crazy adventure. Weirdly enough, I am, but here’s a confession you never want to hear from your pilot. I’m scared.
But we’re going to own this whole childhood gig, so let’s fasten our seat belts and get this party started!