I have a confession. I want to be a perfect mom. The reason it's a confession, as in the reason that is a bad thing, is because I so take it there. Suddenly I am this horrid person screaming at my kids because one tiny thing has gone wrong.
For instance: the pool bag. I grade myself on how well I pack it. If I forget something critical it's a fail. Extra points for toys and spare outfits for the kids. Healthy snacks get double points but I've been known to pack cheetos and gummy bears, or known in the parenting world as "industrial waste." If it only takes me one hour to pack the bag then I'm rewarded with a small chocolate bar by the pool. That I have to devour in one gulp because if the kids see it they'll want one. And fight over it. Plus it's bad enough I already fed them industrial waste once today.
It's a total do-over when it takes so long to pack the dang bag the sun has gone down and thus the time to go to said pool has passed. This usually ensues with lots of crying and stamping of feet, not all of which is done only by the children.
Sometimes I try to leave with a half-packed bag and usually regret it. I often find myself glancing longingly at the carefree people with a pair of flip-flops and a towel and wonder what that would be like. To just show up. With flip-flops and a towel. Maybe someday we'll be able to do that. When the kids are old enough to put on their own sun screen and flip-flops and we can all trot of, unpacked, to the pool.
It's a little hard to imagine with only two of us able to put on flip-flops. Still. That's a start. Maybe in the meantime I can try to work on letting it go just a bit when the snack is forgotten and it's just one bottle of water for three of us. Because maybe, just maybe, no one is grading anything and the only thing that matters is how fiercely and how deeply I love my kids.