I Have No Idea What I Am Doing

sarah goffyMy son has reached the age when he simply cannot resist asking 5,000 questions on every single observation or thought or confusion that he encounters. His curious mind has openly pondered why the dogs sniff each other’s rear ends and why the sun is trying to melt his popsicle (stupid sun).

At some point in the high intense research phase of parenting I had read that when a child asks a question a parent should never dismiss it with a blasé mmm hmm, or I don’t know, dear. Remember that phase? It comes early on in the motherhood game when you clearly have no idea what is going on and so you buy and read piles of parenting books but it turns out that the know-it-all writers are just as clueless as you. Or at least, that is what happened to me.

But then the other day my son said this:

Mom, you know EVERYTHING!! I’m gunna ask you all the stuff about the everything, OK? Just don’t tell Dad. I don’t want him to get hurty feelings.

I smiled and inwardly chuckled at how sweet my son’s misguided adoration is. But then I shuddered in fear when I realized that I have no idea what I am doing. And furthermore, who is this Mom with all the answers he is talking about? Surely it can’t be me!

I’m the genius Mom who accidentally washed half a peanut butter sandwich with a load of towels last week. I’m the brilliant Mom who sent my kid to spend a day at the beach with Grandma but forgot to pack a change of clothes. I’m the brainiac who somehow missed that my kid wore his underwear backwards all day just yesterday. I’m the prodigy who manages to screw up the most basic menial Mom tasks on a daily basis.

For every question the child has posited toward me, I have done my best to never say mmm hmm or I don’t know, dear. Perhaps that tenacity to not stuff wads of foam in my ears while he rattles off a hundred questions was all it took to make the rank of smartest of the smarty-pants at my house. Whatever it was, I am deeply flattered and awed by his love. I just hope that when he grows up a bit more and he realizes that I am making this mom stuff up as I go that he remembers that I did it with as much patience as I could muster and with love in my heart of hearts.

sarah cottrell

About sarah cottrell

Sarah Cottrell is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah's work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.