Friday, September 4, 2009
Things Every Mother Should Know
Recently I was sitting in the waiting room of the kid's dentist - surrounding by more toys than Santa probably brings all the children of a small nation...........and grabbed one of those lovely parenting magazines they had lying around.
I know, I know.....sevenish years into this parenting gig - I should have learned by now that those magazines are either annoying or guilt bearing.
Just put down the magazine and slowly walk away and everything will be okay..........
but, no, I opened it.
The first article I found was titled "Things Every Mother Should Know."
I read on.
I found NOTHING that a mother SHOULD know, needs to know, or would be any help at all.
So, because the kid dentist gig takes some time, I began to wonder.....what do I think every mother should know?
Here it is - my short and sweet Top Five (copied from my grocery list I wrote on while waiting):
1 - Motherhood is the most amazing, time consuming, frustrating, rewarding, overwhelming, demanding, scary, awesome thing ever.
Feel free to pretend every day is fabulous and that you are all happy, yippee skippy all the time - that's all right by me. But I know how it really goes. I've been around A LOT of kids and A LOT of play dates and A LOT of preschools.....and EVERYBODY has those moments when they think they will not make it to the end of the day. EVERYBODY.
It's a not a job that you are meant to be perfect at. Sort of like that whole being human gig.
2- Reading parenting stuff just makes you read more.
I'm an avid reader - I love to read. I was only engaged about a half hour when we drove to the bookstore to get bridal and wedding planning books. Guess who had a copy of What to Expect When You are Expecting? within days of that pretty pink line pregnancy test?
You can find supporting evidence for whatever kind of parenting strategy or style you think you are or want to be. Want to attachment parent (read it)? Want a new kid by Friday (read it)? Want your kid to sleep all night by themselves (I could loan you a copy of practically every book on the market on that topic.....even had the honor of being a contributing mom to one)? Want to laugh at other mothers (got a few girlfriend guides)?
Find validation in knowing your kid - knowing what your kid needs. Then read what you want - you'll know the minute you start reading what will and won't work for you, your kid, and your relationship.
3 - Say you're sorry when you are.
I can't tell you the number of times I go to bed feeling terrible about how something in the day went. Why didn't I just tell pumpkin I was sorry that I snapped at her or why did I let myself loose my cool with Bubbe and the whole anxious mess? I've been known to wake people up to love on them......
My motto is "I'm doing the best I can" - that's all I can do. I love my kids - and I know how to say I am sorry (most of the time I do...) when I screw up. Teach forgiveness by modeling and asking for forgiveness for that screaming in aisle 4 of Walmart (was that really me?) or that moment where I should have stopped folding laundry and built the Lego guy because it was important to you........
4 - Be flexible on the molehills, but stand firm on the mountains.
I wish I practiced this one as well as I can preach about it.
I'm working on differentiating between the small stuff and the big character issues with the kids.
Does it matter that Pumpkin attended preschool in mix matched clothes, complete with tiara for three months? Since that was so 4 years ago, no .....it didn't then, and it still doesn't now.
Will it matter in 4 years if I allow Bubbe to yell at me and be disrespectful? I'm thinking yeah - that probably isn't going to fade away on its own.
Molehills and mountains.
5 - Embrace the chaos for it really is only a short season.
If you know us, you know my kids live in their own fantasy world. One where you wake up everyday as Luke Skywalker fighting off the evil with a light saber (or two or ten), or you wake as a doctor who must bandage all the wounded before we move camps (if only you knew how many band aids we go through), or you wake as super heroes who must build a large fortress out of EVERY pillow and blanket we own, or you wake as a famous rock star to whom all must wave their "rock on" sign in the air and sing .......and the list goes on.
As a result, right this moment, as I type, I can see......2ish feet of my living room floor. My living room is HUGE as far as living rooms go. There are two very large blankets laid out - where the bat cave is. The fire house now serves as a jail for all the evil villains. I see a pocket book - every good female super hero needs her make up? I see a race track for the get away cars. I see a TON of Lego's and will no doubt go to bed with small circles indented into my feet as I try to pass through never land.
In 8ish hours....if I'm lucky - the chaos will begin again. And, I'm hoping instead of wondering why my children don't sleep late on Saturday mornings like certain other children who will remain nameless and belong to such lucky parents.......that I will find my bat cape and jump into the chaos too for I can see this season is passing.......too quickly for me.