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In My Opinion

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What makes the best mom, the best?

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

I got that respiratory/typhoid thing everybody had at Christmas. And my son makes me a get-well card that’s all decorated and ends with “you are the best mom a child could ever have.”

Oh, sweet baby. You could do a lot better than me. I know the magnet on the fridge says “World’s Greatest Mom,” but there are moms out there who actually bake. Gingerbread houses. I know you think I’m the bomb when I split open that tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, but the gingerbread moms are the real deal.

OK, why do I do that? Why can’t I just accept the “best ever” title? Because unless I’m packing for Sochi and heading to the Winter Olympics, when am I ever going to have a chance to be the best anything?

I’m not alone in this. Most moms don’t think they’re the best mom in the world, and I know this because I get calls every week from girlfriends saying, “I’m the worst mom in the world.” I got it last week, from a friend who’d forgotten to take her teenage daughter to a surprise birthday party – that was FOR her teenage daughter – her Sweet 16, no less.

“I’m the worst mother in the world!” she cries. This, from the mom who every birthday makes her daughter her favorite cake – Italian cream that takes two days to assemble.

Days later, she offhandedly mumbles something about taking her daughter to the Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

And where was THAT call?! “I’m the greatest mom in the world, I’m taking my daughter backstage to meet Blake Shelton at the CMAs at the MGM, aren’t I the BME!” (Best mom ever.)

But that’s just it. We don’t give ourselves props for the best stuff. We just think about the day we rented a movie instead of taking them to one. And that we ordered the pizza instead of hand-tossing and baking it ourselves. We could be so much better.

But we could also be worse. Just watch “The Middle.” In one episode the mom was so overwhelmed with her house, job and kids, she said she thought about getting in a car and just driving away. I looked at my kids and said, “I would never do that …”

Thought about it – but I would come back. I absolutely love these kids. And I can’t be without my flatiron.

The thing is, my kids don’t know what Italian cream cake is. Or that leaving the state is an option. I tell them what they absolutely need in life, and then I give it to them. And that’s why they’re happy. They have the right perspective. When we have egg sandwiches for dinner, they’re focused on the SANDWICH, not that I ran out of two food groups.

Besides, do you know how hard it is to eat a gingerbread house?

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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