As a critic of people who try to portray perfection on social media, I need to call out — myself.
I posted this photo yesterday after I voted. There we are, the mommy and her children, blissed out by the voting process.
The reality is that this photo followed a total sh$% show motherhood moment.
I came up with the harebrained idea to take the kids with me to vote. We’ll make it a family civics lesson! I was proud of me, impressed with my great idea, smugly imagining my grown children harkening back to that dazzling day when their insightful mother took them with her to vote, carefully explaining each detail as they looked on in wide eyed wonder.
Now this is parenting! I was humming as we drove there.
We arrived at our neighborhood library, the parking lot packed, the line long. Just as we were nearing the table to hand them my license, my son realized we were in his library and took off for the kids’ section. My daughter shot a quick glance up at me, then bolted after him. I wanted to call them back, but we were IN THE LIBRARY and it was quieter than my church on Sunday morning. I’m serious. Awkwardly quiet, not a single person speaking. I gave an S.O.S. arm wave to their scrawny backs as they rounded the corner out of sight.
Conundrum — Go get them (coax them, fight with them and lose my place in line). Or vote.
I voted. Alone.
Moments later I slapped on my ‘I voted’ sticker and harrumphed my way through the library. I found the mini scoundrels in a back aisle, sitting on the floor, shoulder to shoulder, reading a book.
My daughter looked up and saw the sticker. “You voted without us?” She was incredulous.
“You ran off, missy.”
“But I wanted to see voting!” Her voice was raised and big fat tears were already slipping down her cheeks.
She was annoyed with me. Imagine.
I pointed at my son. “Too late. Put the book away. Let’s go.”
“No! I want to see us vote for president!” She was full on sassing me now. “Get back in there and vote again!”
I spun on my heel and left them, the only surefire way to get them to follow me without making a scene in a library. Books slammed and feet scrambled and seconds later she caught up to me and began tugging on the sleeve of my sweater, trying to pull me toward the line. People were staring.
That’s a tremendous moment — when bored people in line are watching you attempt to parent, thinking that poor woman, or what did she do to her kid, or I wonder how this will play out..
We exited — a noisy trio of tears, a half pulled off sweater, and a boy who clearly wished he had fewer females in his life.
Three minutes later, tears barely dried, we snapped the above picture.
What a crock, eh?
Here’s the thing.
My plan bombed (this is actually a great name for a parenting book).
I still got it done.
It wasn’t pretty or easy — few things worth doing are.