I’m Good at Love


My dad once asked me why I like to refer to myself as such a “hot mess mom” on here. “Isn’t that kind of embarrassing?” he asked. I guess it is but I’ve always been like this. Always. For better or worse, I am an open book. In graduate school, I have distinct memories of my supervisor (in my counseling psychology program) telling me, “Marnie, it’s okay to share some things about yourself, but you really don’t need to share quite that much.” Gah, I can’t help it! First of all, it’s kind of therapeutic to throw it out there. “Hey, I kind of suck at this thing called motherhood in some ways, but I’m really, really trying.” As many people have said, it’s really about showing up. My kids know I’m never going to be the mom with the bento box with sushi, carrots, and organic applesauce made from the tears of unicorns. I’m the running-late, super-stressed, hair on fire freak-o. But they have taught me about unconditional love, and that’s such a beautiful thing.

I’m often asked in interviews, “What are your weaknesses?” “Where do I start?” I almost say. I don’t, I don’t! I’m not completely stupid. If I was completely open, I’d say:

I have a physical necessity to be late. I hate it. I know it and I hate it. It’s a compulsion. Can I fit in this one last blog post before making it to yoga (I’m seriously doing that right now)? I don’t do it on purpose and I know it’s not a good thing, but there it is.

I am terrible at chemistry. I once walked out of the lab with my goggles still on, in a complete fog. In high school, I started a fire.

I am completely neurotic. I worry about worrying about the worrier’s worriers. I worry that anything I say or write will offend someone and write it anyway, and then worry some more about that.

I am horrendous at budgeting. Quicken gives me hives.

I am not spontaneous. I wish I were. “Go with you to Vegas?” “Hell, yeah!” “We leave tonight.” “Have fun!”

I’m a horrible packer. Along these same lines, there are always, and I mean always, things falling out of my purse. And my car looks like a homeless person’s been living in there, high on the hog, I might add.

I don’t cut my kids’ toenails. Like ever. I caught a glimpse of them the other day and they look like Howard Hughes’ toenails, only with a park’s worth of dirt underneath their nails. We laughed and laughed when I pointed it out to the boys. And we still did nothing. Maybe they’ll fall off at a certain length?

I could go on and on (AND ON). In fact, I’d say that many days I’m obsessed with my faults. But I had a revelation the other day when we were eating at our favorite sushi restaurant (of course the boys eat chicken fingers). The boys were fighting over who got to sit next to me. By the end, they were both in my lap. It was slightly embarrassing, as they are six and eight, but I realized this is the stuff. I’m good at LOVE. I’m so, so good at it. I’m incredible at loving these boys. I can see it in their eyes when I pick them up from school. I can feel it in their (albeit reluctant) kisses. I see it when they look into the crowd at their games and catch my eyes. Most importantly, I believe it when I apologize to them for making a mistake, and they say, “It’s okay, Mom.” I know they still love me with their whole hearts. And they love it all – the good and the bad.

I know that, no matter what happens, they’ll never EVER doubt that I love them. I bathe them in it. They’ve marinated in my love for years. It’s now the blankets they used as “lovies” when they were babies. It is a part of them, as much as those dirty toenails.

I’m really, really good at loving these guys. And that’s something to be proud of, don’t you agree?


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  1. Ned says:


  2. Kim Engel-Hughes says:

    Knowing you in grad school makes me appreciate what you write even more. What better preparation for parenthood than a psych degree???? Blog on! : )

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