I used to be such a great mom.  I stand in awe of my former self.
My young kids were always in bed by 7:30 PM, because I knew how important sleep is for developing brains.  They only watched G-rated movies, also on account of developing brains.  And they definitely, definitely listened exclusively to developmentally appropriate, enriching, brain-boosting music.  Classical and kids, mostly.  Sometimes 80’s.
Wow was I good.
Exactly when and how things changed is all so fuzzy.
I now find myself reading bedtime stories at 9:30 PM.  On school nights.  To the little kids.  When my husband is out-of-pocket I occasionally have to be somewhere with a bigger kid until, say, 9:25.  Such bedtimes would have been unfathomable to my former self.
Out of the dozens of movies shown on the car’s DVD system during our most recent 22 hour road trip, not one of them was rated G.  Squeaky wheels simply get more grease at times, even though my former self would have been indignant, insisting that I give each child equal consideration and think of developing brains for gosh sakes.
I got to hear ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ twice on that trip.  Sweet.
The penultimate example of how far I’ve slipped as a mom?  From the back of the van, a loud, in-your-face voice, totally on key and in tempo, singing:
Hey soul sister
Ain’t that mister mister
On the radio, stereo
The way you move ain’t fair you know
Hey soul sister
I don’t wanna miss
A single thing you do
The voice was Caleb’s.  He’s four.
A few days later, the same loud voice,
I wanna be a billionaire
So friekin’ bad
Buy all of the things I never had . . .    
Still on key, in tempo, in your face.
Time to regain control.   “Hey!  Let’s help Caleb learn a kid song!  You know, like the kind of songs we used to sing all the time?”  After a several second silence wherein we were all desperately trying to think of such a song, we hit upon Wheels on the Bus, managing to remember more than one verse.  Caleb finally caught on and sang the last few chords of the last chorus, “. . . all through the town!”

Once upon a time, I was such a great mom.  Today, I’m a mostly tired, once in a while great mom.  The parameters, the requirements, the demands of being a great mom are constantly shifting and changing, along with my kids. This would have been difficult, maybe impossible, for me to understand back in the days when all my kids were snugly tucked into bed by 7:30 PM.

Caleb just walked by me, singing at the top of his lungs:

                                       Baby, are you down, down, down, down, down
                                       Do-ow-ow-ow-n, Do-ow-ow-ow-n
                                       Even if the sky is falling down
                                       Do-ow-ow-ow-n, Do-ow-ow-ow-n

Wheels on the Bus didn’t take.  And I’m so okay with that.

 Just before piling into the car for the 22 hour road trip.
Susie, Caleb [4], Jeff
Kirsten [almost 15], Rob [13], Seth [9], Emma [7]