Sometimes, the mom I used to be shakes her head at the mom I have become.
The mom I was when my children’s field of vision barely extended past their hands holds fast to her principled stance on screen time while the mom I have become uses a Wallace and Gromit video to carve out the uninterrupted hour necessary to meet tomorrow’s deadline.
The mom I was when I sent every bottle through a formal three stage washing process looks haughtily on as the mom I have become slaps together PBJ and throws it in a mostly clean lunchbox with baby carrots and yesterday’s leftover water.
The mom I was when my kids ate only organic pureed vegetables I’d steamed myself frowns while the mom I have become hands out the second processed cheese stick of the day to keep the peace while dinner finishes cooking.
The mom I was when my children were clothed in outfits selected for maximum cuteness cringes as the mom I have become escorts her daughter down the front steps in socks, pants, shirt and sweatshirt selected based on four-year-old logic that all stripes match regardless of color, thickness or orientation.
The mom I was when I painstakingly taught my kids to use sign language to communicate “please” and “thank you” for the smallest transactions disapproves when the mom I have become responds to less than pleasant barks for her attention or assistance.
The mom I was when children’s birthday parties were a novelty and invitations to such festivities were received with delight and anticipation looks on sadly as a gift is shoved unceremoniously into a brown paper sack because the mom I have become can’t find where she put the wrapping paper when she finished the preparations for last weekend’s string of parties.
On and on it goes.
The mom I have become plods through another day while the mom I used to be shakes her head.
Admittedly, the mom I have become should listen to the mom I used to be every now and again.
I should insist on politeness and I acknowledge – begrudgingly – that there is such a thing as too much cheese.
But mostly, the mom I used to be should just shut up.
She’s haughty and idealistic. She holds the future version of herself to an unrealistic standard and passes judgment on things she has no clue about yet. Her convictions and ideals have not been tested in the lunch packing, shoe tying, laundry folding, dinner cooking, homework completing, sibling refereeing parenting crucible.
Sometimes, her voice is worth heeding.
But typically, her voice is best responded to with the use of a particular finger and a self-satisfied smile from the mom I have become:
A mom who chooses her battles.
A mom who balances her own needs with those of her children.
A mom who realizes the impact of one more book is greater than the impact of one fewer dust bunny.
A mom who wants to tell the mom she used to be: you just wait.
Illustration by Christine Juneau
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