The one that I imagined and the one I actually am.
Sometimes I make perfect meals full of veggies and my kids eat them.
Sometimes I’m scrambling and we end up eating a mix of randoms from the fridge like string cheese and ketchup for dinner.
Sometimes I have cookies baked when they come home from school.
Sometimes I am cranky and tired and make them do chores and yell a whole bunch until somebody is crying.
Sometimes I am calm in the mornings before school and help them make their lunches.
Sometimes I’m grumpily barking orders and breathe a sigh of relief when they are finally out the door.
Sometimes I am flawlessly patient and calm as we navigate fights, homework, and music practice.
Other times I’m counting the seconds until bedtime.
Sometimes I listen intently to their long tales of their favorite TV show or video game.
Sometimes I zone out on my phone too much desperate for a break.
Sometimes I bend the rules when they smile coyly and melt my heart.
Other times I am rigid and firm and say no a lot.
Sometimes I respond with love when they screw up.
And other times I get upset and make them feel worse and have to apologize.
Sometimes the bedtime routine is full of giggles and laughs and looking the other way when they are reading with a flashlight past their bedtime.
Other times we rush through the routine desperate for alone time.
I feel like two different mothers sometimes. One that I imagined and one that I actually am.
But the truth lies somewhere in between.
I’m not one or the other. I’m a real mom with good days and bad. I’m a mom that is messing up and getting it right.
I’m a mom that struggles and makes it look effortless.
But the reality is that being perfect was never part of what I signed up for when I decided to combine my imperfections with the imperfections of four other humans. It was always out of reach.
I’m just glad I’ve realized after 13 years that the truth of beautiful motherhood lies in the real and messy middle.
That it’s the I’m sorry’s that matter and the love that is the crux of what makes a mother a mother.
Sure I feel a bit like Jekyll and Hyde some days. I feel disappointed sometimes in my mothering.
But what really counts when it comes to being a “good mom” is there in the little things.
If we really pay attention to how we’re doing we realize that being a little bit of both types of mothers is exactly how it’s supposed to be.