Dear Mom,

I was sitting here during naptime today thinking of all the ways that I have already failed as a mother…

Like the time that I somehow missed the marker on the floor and Simon ate it.

Or how I posted pictures online of Alice sitting on the potty.

Or how when Alice isn’t listening to me, and I want her to come here right now I tell her there’s a monster behind her so that she’ll run, and I don’t have to wait…

I started feeling like a really bad mom.

But then I started thinking about you, and I felt a lot better. I mean – you were (and are) a great mom! But you definitely made your mistakes along the way. In fact, I took the liberty of making a list of a few moments that were less than great…

#1 – Rather than just tell me I couldn’t sing – you told me I had a rare voice gene that didn’t work with microphone “technology”

#2 – Rather than just tell me that I couldn’t dance, and you didn’t like sitting through my dance classes or recitals – you told me I would become paralyzed if I did organized dance

#3You didn’t give me the S-E-X talk until I was in college

#4I was throwing up in public and you YELLED at me

And probably the biggest and most embarrassing thing you ever did…

You didn’t let me shave my legs until I was nearly 15 years old!

My legs probably looked a lot like this for all of junior high school.

Mom – WE’RE GREEK! Even my teachers started asking me when I was going to get to shave my legs.

And when you sent me to that pool party and told me that NO ONE was shaving their bikini lines – well – YOU WERE WRONG!

Whew – glad I got that off my chest. Anyways – thanks for making me feel so much better about how I’m doing as a mom.

XOXO
Anna

On a side note: I would like to thank everyone that coordinated the parade in my honor to celebrate the day that I was allowed to shave my legs. Your support made me feel so special – despite the fact that my legs were covered in bandaids.

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When my brother left the house for college, my mom replaced him with a dog.

My mom

Ella was the sweetest Cocker Spaniel puppy on earth. So much better than my brother!

My mom would heat towels in the dryer and rock Ella to sleep at night.

Ella would go to school with my mom every day and “help” her counsel the little elementary kids.

Ella liked to snuggle and cuddle and every now and then it was pretty obvious that she was smiling at us.

Yes – Ella was a pretty great replacement for my brother.

But one day, Ella just wasn’t herself. She seemed a little… skittish.

A little anxious.

We thought maybe she was getting a doggy cold or maybe the cat had been picking on her.

After a few days, my mom took her to the vet. But they couldn’t find anything wrong.

After a few weeks, my mom was getting really worried. So she talked to a friend, who talked to a friend who talked to another friend. And it was decided that there was only one thing my mom could do.

She needed to seek the help of a doggy psychic.

This was before the days of the Internet, so we were all thrilled when my mom was able to find a doggy psychic in the United States that did phone consultations.

So with a credit card in one hand and her trusty portable phone in the other, my mom had a one-hour consultation with the doggy psychic.

I found it a little strange that the dog didn’t even need to be in the room for the session. I mean – you’d think it would help the psychic if Ella at least sniffed the phone or something. But – apparently – that was unnecessary.

What was wrong with Ella?

Well – according to the doggy psychic, she was having terrible nightmares every single night. She wasn’t sleeping well – and therefore she wasn’t herself during the day.

Some warm milk and a little lavender in her dog bed was guaranteed to do the trick.

My mom was thrilled to finally have some answers – and was more than happy to pay my college tuition to get those answers.

And I was thrilled to learn that one day after I had kids and started being a stay-at-home mom, I’d be able work from home and make a whole lot of money without any training or expertise needed.

Yes, I’ve started my very own Dog Psychic Business

It’s called My Life and Pets, and here’s the best part…

I don’t even need to talk to you on the phone. You can just send me an email telling me what’s going on with your dog, and I’ll respond with the solution.

Payment is $10,000 per email. No refunds.

I have no doubt that my mom will be my first customer.

When I was 10 years old, my mom and I went to the local craft fair.

My mom loved craft fairs. The smell of cinnamon and potpourri. The handcrafted goodies. The popcorn…

I, on the otherhand, had a love-hate relationship with them. I loved the people and the smells and the popcorn too. But I always felt desperately sorry for people that didn’t appear to be selling much. I would leave the craft fair with my heart aching for the people that were selling ugly things – or that seemed to be disappointed with how much they weren’t selling.

At this particular craft fair – my mom gave me $10 to go out and do a little Christmas shopping on my own.

I was pretty excited to be set loose in the high school gymnasium on my own. And I walked up and down the rows of tables looking for the perfect gift for my mom.

It didn’t take me long to find exactly what I was looking for.

I bought the ugliest snowman in the entire room. Sitting on a table that was overflowing with equally ugly snowmen. The lady selling them was so excited that I made the purchase – probably the only one that she’d sell all day long. I mean – this guy was ugly.

When we got home, I ran upstairs and wrapped up the ugly snowman, and then I ran downstairs and gave it to my mom.

Mom: Are you sure you don’t want to wait for Christmas?

Me: No. Open it now!

She paused for a few seconds when she opened the world’s ugliest snowman, but she recovered quickly and told me how great it was. And then she proceeded to put him on the back of a high shelf in the dining room – so that neither of us would have to look at him anymore.

About a week later, I was sitting in the living room when one of my mom’s friends stopped by for coffee. I could hear them talking in the kitchen, but I wasn’t really listening, until I heard my mom start talking VERY loudly. Like – so loudly that I almost had to turn up the television to hear my show.

And then I heard what she was saying / yelling:

“Oh my gosh – you’re never going to believe what Anna gave me for Christmas. She picked it out all on her own. Isn’t this the greatest snowman you’ve ever seen? She has such great taste – and she did it all by herself. She’s really growing up, and I’m so proud of her. But isn’t she just a great shopper? I mean – she could be a personal shopper when she grows up – what great taste.”

I couldn’t hear what my mom’s friend said in response – probably because she wasn’t yelling. But I was very confused by what my mom said.

We both knew that it was the ugliest snowman in the world. And while she didn’t know that I only bought him because I felt sorry for the woman that made him – my mom must have known that it wasn’t a good gift. Was she really “proud” of me for picking that out for her?

While I was thinking this over, I went to the bathroom. And there – on the bathroom counter – was one of my mom’s magazines open to an article about how to boost your child’s confidence.

Compliment them to a friend when they can overhear your conversation.
Don’t tell your child how proud you are – let them overhear you gushing about how great they are to a friend or a family member. An overheard compliment goes much further than one said directly.

I stormed out of the bathroom waving the magazine in my mom’s face.

“Do you think I can’t read, Mom? We all know that the snowman I picked out is ugly. I already know you’re proud of me. You don’t have to fake a conversation to build my confidence!”

She tried to deny it for about all of two seconds, and then she just laughed and laughed and laughed.

My advice to parents:

When you find some parenting advice that you think is awesome – and decide to try it out on your kids – don’t leave the magazine / computer / blog out in the open where your kids (that are clearly old enough to read) will be able to find it.

PS – Anyone selling something ugly in an online shop? I’m a sucker for ugly handcrafted things that no one wants to buy. Feel free to post your link in the comments.