Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just thinking: Motherhood ... and not being Martha Stewart (or a whole lot of other people)

I know that women can be competitive ... even mean sometimes.

And I love it when other women take a stand (Seriously, I love how Chris is always such a straight-shooter and speaks her mind) against the group that can be all back-biting and whatever.

Also, at the same time, I do wonder if I'm doing enough for my kids. Would Bruise and Bucket be happier/better off/more self-suficient if I did things differently?

I'll confess, I'm not a GREAT mom. I'm passable. 
I love my kids, don't get me wrong. I do what I can to keep them safe. I want them to know FIRST AND FOREMOST that they are loved. That they can trust Mommy and Daddy to keep them safe, to listen to them, to love them.
Everything else? That's frosting on the cake ... And frosting is good.

My children are three.

They are ALL TOO FAMILIAR with the PBS line-up.
They recognize McDonald's as we drive past.
They have never eaten organic food on a regular basis. (Well, not on purpose, really. That stuff's SPENDY!!)
(If Costco happens to have something organic that they'd eat, sure, I'll get it. But I'm not going out of my way [and budget] to buy stuff that's going to end up either in the toilet or in the garbage. I'm just keeping it real.)
They don't get to play outside a lot.
(This will change. When they learn to listen well enough and play nicely enough that I can READ A BOOK while they play at the park ... without having to wait until Michael's home to help watch TWO LITTLE BODIES THAT ALWAYS RUN IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS, that's when I'll be happy to take them to the park every frakkin' day.)
(Yes, I AM that lazy and selfish. I can admit it.)
They are not reading yet.
They have not cured cancer.
I don't let them ride their tricycles outside, since I haven't bought them helmets.
(We have no real yard. They'd be in the driveway or on the sidewalk. And I think there's a law.)
I'd prefer for them to run on grass and not on the sidewalk (They SCREAM when they fall. I don't like them to scream. It makes me sad.)
Sometimes I forget to put sunscreen on my kids. I try to tell myself that at least they're getting some Vitamin D.

I mean, look at all that room for improvement.
When they break a toy, I try to fix it. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes, if a toy isn't fixable, it get thrown out. I've vacuumed up some things that didn't get picked up.
(I was tired of yelling at the kids to pick up their damn DRATTED messes.

My son's stool (TMI, I KNOW) has not been ... regular. He's in the midst of little-boy diarrhea (Go me! I spelled that correctly! Woo hoo! <-- Must find joy in the stupid small things.)

I am not a Martha Stewart. I'm not a SuperMom. I'm not June Cleaver. I'm not even Claire Huxtable (though, GOSH, I wish I were! She was one cool monkey-fighter. :P) I'm not Maria Montessori, either.

I'm making an effort to read to my kids daily. Sometimes I make my goal.
I would love to have a clean house and children who help, unbidden.
I would be thrilled if I suddenly were the type of gal who knew what to make for dinner every night. And had it made, piping hot on a table SET FOR DINNER, the minute my big, strong man came home from his bread-winning duties.

I'd like to be stylish and cool. (If you are about to tell me that I am, you're so sweet to lie to me. Flattery will get you everywhere. ... And if you're protesting that last statement, then  my evil plan is working and I've fooled you all!)
I'd like to have fun and educational plans for everyday ... Kinda like Teacher Suzie on Sid the Science Kid. 

I am not going to judge another mom for her parenting choices. I think it's sometimes silly to be outspoken on some issues. It's not my business whether or not you decided to circumcize. It's not my business if you chose to breastfeed or bottlefeed. If you went with cloth diapers, good for you! If you didn't, good for you!

I'll confess that I moved my munchkins from their first carseat into their facing-forward a little early (well, for Bucket. She's always been about a pound or two lighter than Bruise. And about 1/2 - 1 ince shorter). I made the choice to do this because if HE got to be facing forward, I'd never have heard the end of it. (Until you've had twins, I really don't know if you understand the whole "Anything YOU can do *I* can do better! ... or at least JUST as WELL!!" ... because, heck, I sure didn't!)
I could have gotten some serious flack about it (and, technically, I did ... but I wasn't aware of it because I don't always re-read comments after I've posted on a blog. This was not one of the times I re-visited. But one of my dear friends was kind enough to erase it before I had the chance to see it and possibly be hurt). But ... I had asked my doctor. And he told me that it was really my call. And so I made my call. And I've never regretted it.

I've been called out (online) for choosing circumcision. And, you know, I'm okay that not everyone thinks I made the right decision. I almost didn't choose to snip. I've accepted that there is someone somehwere out in the blogosphere who thinks that I'm messed up in the head for an aesthetic reason. I did fret about it for a minute (or maybe a day), but, hey, by then it was months too late. :P
Also, I had one family member who told me that she was really glad that it was being done. A past relationship of hers wasn't snipped. And wasn't all that into hygiene. Iykwim. Aityd.
I also know of someone who had a DIY circ. (YES. For realz. I know this person, not just of him.)
And, on the way into the doctor's office, from the waiting room, one of the nurses told me how glad she was that I was doing it -- since she's seen one little boy come back repeatedly for Urinary tract infections (and since I had some of those as a little girl, I was not about to have my little preshus baybee boy at risk for those. I was pretty miserable when they'd occur.)

There are a few things that are important to me, for my children, my family. Maybe they're not the same as yours. And that's okay. It's great, even!

I feel strongly in favor:
  • Breastfeeding - I LOVED nursing my kids. I know that it's not for everyone.
  • Helmets while on bicycles - I know a gal who, when she was a teenager, had a bad bicycle accident and is brain damaged. So I grew up in a home where you MUST wear your helmet.
I think these things are a little silly -- and that's just me:
  • Requiring car seats/booster seats until a child is 4'11" -- (1) where are the studies proving that CAR SEATS (and not just seatbelts) make accidents so much safer? (2) If these are SO required, why do they cast SO much? It's not like you don't have to buy at least one for each of your kids! and (3) Why aren't they being built in to automobiles? C'mON people!
  • Potty-training before a child can talk/crawl -- I have twins. It seems like a wildly WONDERFUL idea ... but I know that I couldn't possibly handle doing it. I might have saved a fortune on diapers, but I'd be a total basketcase.
  • Kids getting sued for kissing another kid on the playground. (Dude, if the kid's in Elementary school, s/he does NOT deserve a sexual harassment suit. That's just crazy.)
Things I wouldn't mind trying:
  • Slings/Baby-wearing - It would free up a hand/arm. That'd be AWESOME.
  • Cloth diapers - Truly, it appears that they aren't any better for the environment, since you're using water and bleach to clean them. But garbage day would be a bit nicer. ... However, when you kiddo has nasty-pants, you can't just chuck them out. Hm.
The only things that I feel are wrong, wrong, wrong are abuse and neglect. (I'm not against a little swat every so often. Sometimes it can be justified. I came from a family where spanking was the norm. Also a little shouting. I don't think that I'm a murderous, sociopathic abuser. Neither do my kids.) If those are happening, then something really should be done to change the situation. NOBODY, child or adult, deserves to be treated without respect.

I'm all for not judging each other's parenting skills/techniques. What works for one family doesn't always work for another.  Heck, what works for ONE child doesn't always work for another. (And that's why there are SO DANG MANY books/shows about childrearing. :P)

So .. now that that's out there, I'd like to hear some feedback.

What are some things that you'd like to be better at (doesn't just have to be in regards to childrearing, since not all of you, my dear readers, have children)?
Want to confess anything? I'm all about listening and commiserating with you.

And, hey, if you have any great advice, tips, or magic tricks ... let me know!

And maybe then I'll be a better (more-awesome) wife and mom. Because it's nice to be good at something, right? ^_^


Kate the Great said...

Gosh oh gee, there are so many thing I feel like I am short coming with, when it comes to being a mother.

I have a five year old who is only just learning to read, and can't seem to get it.

I will freely admit that I ride him much harder than his three year old brother.

I have a 14 month old baby who still doesn't walk, and I really don't care all that much about it.

And according to other people in the world:

I have had way too many kids, and had them all way too close together.

It is apparently some how my 'fault' that I have 3 almost 4 boys... like somehow it were bad to have all boys.

And apparently it's wrong to have bottle fed my son; even though medically it wasn't possible for him to nurse. (hah, maybe he's braindead like they all said he'd be and that's why he doesn't walk. LOL)

And apparently, the fact that I will tell my children 'No' and dicipline them often in public means that I am stiffling their self expression.

However, my dear friend, this much I have learnt along the way.

I love being the mother of all boys, and their is no right way to raise your kids. I have had one who took three years to potty train, and one who was barely two... I have a kid who can read at 3 and one that still makes me sound out words for him as an almost 6 year old. In the end, they will all survive and thrive.

I know this is getting really really long, but for some reason you and parenting have been on my mind for a while....not really sure how to explain it, but you have. I think you do a great job raising your kids, and don't see the potential that you have often enough. So, I have a little idea I'm going to run past you next time I see you.... it's big and it's crazy and you'll either love it, or hate it... but hopefully I have you interested enough now to want to find out! Anyway you cut it though, you have two sweet, kind, children, and that can only be a result of being a loving mother!

That, my friend is the end of my extremely long post!

Anonymous said...

Oh for Pete's sake, would you just realize that you're more of a mother than like, 90% of all mothers in America already? And don't you dismiss my compliment either. I don't know how you do it.

I loved this post, and kudos to you for writing it.

Anonymous said...

I think you're a great mom. I bet it's not easy with twins but it sounds like you're doing a great job.

AND you're a great friend (even with an ocean between us).

OK, now as to what I wish I was better at :

I wish I'd be a cleaning goddess (but I'm faaar from it : I loath doing dishes and I don't clean my house often enough).
Wouldn't it be great to be able to just click your fingers and everything cleans itself. Drat that Mary Poppins for making us believe it's possible!

I wish I was better at keeping in contact with my friends. I'm not so good withthe phone and I never log on MSN

I wish I had a better relationship with my family. Except for my mom, brother and Granny, I don't talk to the rest of them enough. I only see them at family events and I never ever call them

I wish I could diet and keep at it and lose all the pounds I have to lose but I'm just too lazy and it's too expensive to do it (man vegetables and fruits are pricey!) Also, sometimes I can't be bothered to cook so it's easier to pu something in the microwave ;)

So you see, we all have our shortcomings but the thing is : if you're doing your best, then you're doing great even if sometimes you feel your best isn't enough.

Also, I wouldn't want you to change a thing, I love you just the way you are!

Nay said...

We all beat ourselves up as Mothers! There are nights I go to bed thinking that I was the world's worst mom! But then there are thoes moments that you feel so blessed! I don't make my own baby food or cloth diaper. And even though I've sucessfully breast fed all the kids for a year (well, still working on #3) I really don't enjoy it. Its like this secret I've kept bottled up inside. Well, I'll keep on nursing all my kids because its good for them and I can. And I've found that the days that the house gets the most crazy are usually the days I was more relaxed and had the most fun. But I NEED my reading time and my computer time and my craft time. Selfish? Maybe. And I know that the things that the kids do that bother me the most are the things that they got from me! So what I'm trying to say is that, don't beat yourself up. I always say, "I'm more patient in public". But behind closed doors I'm a yelling machine! Sad and I hate it, but it gets the job done. But we all have these feelings. And knowing we all have them, makes us feel better...that we aren't alone. So how do I cope...lots of hugs, magic kisses, getting down on their level to talk, tickles (especailly when Troube is driving me crazy, I just tickle him.), and popsicles. Grumpy after a is a popsicle. Hurt your knee...have a popsicle. Too cold to play outside...heres a popsicle. I tried stickers, but I ended up scraping them off every surface of my house.
You're a good mommy! I like reading your blogs. Keep upthe good work!

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