Momfession #28: Liar, liar, pants on fire…

liar, liarI have always been a pretty honest person. Sometimes, to a fault (as in, telling my future husband when we first met that I was planning on dating both him and another dude for a while, just to decide who I liked better, or announcing to the world that I often wet my pants via Twitter). I often say that I have the complete opposite of a poker face; one look and I guarantee, you will know what I am thinking, even if I am attempting to hide it.

So it was pretty uncharacteristic of me when I decided to lie to my husband last week. It wasn’t a big lie, and in fact, by definition it really wasn’t a lie at all…just an omission of sorts. Two weeks ago, in my mad rush to work, I got caught speeding. Not really a huge deal, I know…except that this was the third time I have received a speeding ticket in a year. I didn’t really want to see that disapproving look that I knew I was in for, or hear about how I really shouldn’t be driving so fast, so I just didn’t tell Mike. It felt really uncomfortable for me to keep something from him, but I figured it was for the best.

That is, until a moment of parenting clarity changed my mind. Two days ago, my son was suspended from school. You avid Momfessional readers out there know all about our struggles with his behaviour, so I won’t rehash it here. Let’s just say that I long for the days when I could laugh because he just learned the f-word, instead of hearing that he now uses said expletive repeatedly while hurling wooden doorstops at his teacher…(*sigh*). I was home with him during day one of his suspension and was explaining to him, again, why he was suspended when I realized what a fraud I was. Here I stood, lecturing my seven-year-old on the consequences for his actions and I wasn’t owning up to my own mistakes.

So, I told him to put on his shoes and his coat, piled him into the car (armed with snacks for what would undoubtedly be a long outing) and drove to the courthouse. On the way, I explained what I did. “Mommy broke the law,” I told him. He asked me if I was going to jail. (No) He asked me if he would get to see any other criminals in court. (Maybe) He asked if the bars on the jail cell were wide enough to reach your arm through (Mmmm..don’t think so..).

In the end, I am not sure how much he learned by going to the courthouse with me. We practiced his numbers as we sat and waited for “now serving #T481” to flash up on the screen above the kiosks. He practiced reading when I asked him to help me fill out my notice of intention to appear in court. He discovered that the courthouse has it’s own cafe and excitedly declared that we should eat lunch there (ick!).

This time, it was me who learned from the situation. As adults, I think sometimes we forget how important it is to adhere to the same values that we strive so desperately to impart on to our children. While I was in the midst of parenting hell, struggling to explain to a seven-year-old why it was so important to follow rules and experience consequences for his actions, I wasn’t following my own advice.

It was freeing to admit to my son that I made a mistake, and to show him that there were consequences for my actions. I felt even better once I told my husband about my ticket, and our field trip to the courthouse. And in the end, I think my son benefited from the experience too. He might not have learned a lot from our actual trip to court, but he did learn that mommy makes mistakes too.

Now if only I can get him to stop announcing to everyone, “Mommy got in trouble today…and there were LOTS of police there!!”. Between that and him telling people about how I hurt my thumb, I am in for a lot of strange looks at the next parent-teacher meeting…


Momfession #27: Mom-ception vs. reality

When I was a teenager, like most other teenage girls, I had a somewhat altered view of my body. I thought my thighs were fat, my belly too flabby, and my ass too wide. I wore long shirts to cover my lower half, felt uncomfortable in anything fitted or low-cut and often wore baggy pants. Of course, I look back now at my 120 lb body with sheer envy. What was I thinking back then? 17-year-old me had no clue what flab, cellulite, and stretch marks were in store for her.

These days, I have a different kind of altered perception. I like to call it mom-ception and it goes something like this…

You’ve been feeling pretty good about yourself lately…you’ve been exercising, dieting and you can fit into most of your pre-pregnancy clothes (and not just the shirts either…but the pants!). One evening, you hop on the scale to see how much you weigh so you can give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back and bowl of Ben & Jerry’s when you realize that you weigh as much as you did when you were four months pregnant. How is that possible? You get your husband to weigh himself in the hopes that the scale is wrong. You go to the drugstore and test every one of their scales. You make excuses to use friends’ bathrooms frequently to check if they have a better scale, since all of the ones you have tried are obviously broken. Then you start thinking…am I fatter than I think I am? Has my perception of how I look changed so much after having a kid that I am not only OK with being 20lbs overweight, but I actually think I look good?

Here’s another example…you’re walking down a busy street in the middle of the afternoon and are surrounded by attractive, young, trendy business people going about their days. You feel good…you’ve worn your cute new skinny jeans and your favourite flirty and functional ballet flats. You totally fit right in…or so you think. Suddenly, you walk past a store window and catch a glimpse of yourself: staring back at you is a cardigan-clad, makeup-free, overdue-for-a-haircut, plain old MOM.

Both of these situations happened to me recently and it really gave me pause for thought. When did it happen that I not only stopped caring about how I looked so much, but I actually started believing that I still looked thin, trendy, and young when in reality I am not any of those things? Perhaps it comes with age…and maybe it happens to everyone, and not just moms.

So this mom needs some help from all of you in the blogosphere: dear fellow women (and especially moms)…am I alone in this altered reality of mine? Or, do you sometimes experience a bit of mom-ception too?