I am about to drop a major bombshell:

I am not perfect.

Whew. It felt good to get that off my chest. My kids are not perfect, either - they sort of inherited some of my genes. I hear some moms talk about their kids and it can make me feel like a bad mom. Moms who claim their kids never eat hot dogs or drink Kool-Aid. Moms who state that their children don't watch cartoons or play with certain toys, because they're detrimental somehow. Moms who seem perfect.
My kids do all of the above. They have been known to inhale hot dogs slathered in ketchup. They somehow love Family Guy, not exactly a kids' cartoon. They sometimes run around in the grocery store, and frankly, I sometimes don't have the energy to stop them. (I sometimes pretend not to know them. It doesn't work, by the way.)

Don't get me wrong...I do the best to feed my kids healthy food. They love vegetables. I try to balance everything out. I really do. But you know what? Healthy food is expensive. And times are tough. They love hot dogs, and when they're a dollar a pack, we're throwing them in the cart.

I have fond memories of running around the house eating hot dogs - raw (gross, I know) - as a kid. And I think I turned out okay. I also used to, and still do, love salads. So do my kids. I think everything done in moderation is a good thing. Maybe I'm wrong. As parents we all have different philosophies, and I think that's fine. If there are parents who can afford to feed their kids nothing but organic produce and soy-based veggie burgers, then that's great. That's not us, though.

Whenever I start to feel that I don't measure up in the parenting department, I think of my childhood. I had a balanced, fun, even beautiful time. I was allowed to buy a Chick-O-Stick on the swim breaks at the pool. Sometimes a frozen Snickers. And then I jumped right back in the water once the lifeguards simultaneously blasted their whistles signifying that swim time had commenced. I ate junk food, but I also got lots of exercise. I think a little junk food is okay. I still eat it in moderation, because that's how I learned to eat it. It's not the norm; it's a treat.

I just get down on myself once in a while when I hear some moms talk about the household cleaners they refuse to purchase because of all the dangerous chemicals, or the food that would never touch the lips of their kids because it's just processed crap. It's true. But again, if I see cleaner that's five dollars cheaper and gets the job done, I'm buying it. We could really use those five dollars for something else.

So maybe I am a bad mom. My kids are not immaculate eaters, they watch cartoons, and they sometimes run around like crazy people in public. Once in a while I just don't care. Life is short, and my kids chasing one another in the grocery store might be distracting and annoying to other shoppers, but if I'm at my wit's end and just want to plow ahead, get my stuff, and get out, well, it probably won't kill anyone. I also try not to let cartoons babysit my children, but they do watch them sometimes, and I'll be honest. They learn a lot from Dora. Maybe it's not always a book; maybe now and then, it's cartoons instead. I'm okay with that.

While my kids do engage in some "illicit behavior" in the eyes of the perfect parent, they are also butterfly catchers. They are macaroni necklace makers. They are sand artists. They build houses out of paper just for me, and make tiny beds for their little toy animals to sleep inside. I love them fiercely, and I do my best every day to be a great mommy. I've failed them some days, and I'm not ashamed to say right now I am not and never will be a perfect parent. But my kids are amazing. They blow my mind every single day. When they smile, they light me up like the Fourth of July.

And that's pretty darn perfect to me.

Happy Mother's Day.

You can e-mail Sara Berelsman at saraberelsman@ymail.com or check out her blog at www.sarasoccupiedmind.blogspot.com.