Friday, May 06, 2011

Give a Gift to Yourself and Your Kids This Mother's Day

According to this article in the Huffington Post, what mother's want most for Mother's Day is well-behaved children.

Really? Is that something you can 'ask' for? What exactly constitutes 'well-behaved' anyway? I ask this question as I'm being circled and swooped upon by a wooden-sword wielding ninja in an electric blue kimono robe with "Guitar Man" embroidered on the back. So far nothing has been knocked over or broken. Uh wait - he just went down the hall to his bedroom and I heard a wee bit of a crash.... No screams, so things must be okay.

Distracting? Little bit. Nerve-wracking? Oh yeah - that sword could hurt me. Well-behaved? Good enough most of the time. Creative and fun? Most definitely. Granted we are in the privacy of our home, so I can be mostly at ease; the dog isn't very judgmental.

If what mothers want for their special day is a well-behaved kid, how do they think that happens? I realize that some kids are just born easier to raise than others - I teach, so I do know kids come in a wide-variety of personalities and temperments. As a mother, I also recognize that not everything a child does is caused by some parental malfunction. Sometimes kids just do immature (i.e. kid-like) things!

I also know that each and every child has something special to offer their family, friends and the world. Sometimes those unique gifts come in a highly charged package that would be best contained in a padded room from time to time to minimize collateral damage.

What moms may really be asking for is a day we don't have to explain or apologize for our spawn's behavior or infractions, or to talk to our baby in a psychotherapist-tone-of-voice when in public. Perhaps we want a day when we don't have to leave the store during a tantrum, and return later to finish the errand. Sometimes we just might want to tell other people to mind their own damn business, ignore the tantrum and grab a mondo-sized chocolate bar because we damn well deserve it.

My interpretation of this Mother's Day wish is a day off from worrying what other people think of our parenting skills. I mean, everyone knows that children are a reflection of their parents, mothers especially, right?

Well, yes and no. We can teach and teach and not see daily results, but we know that eventually the little darling will most likely grow up to be a kind, caring, responsible, healthy and happy adult. Getting them to that stage is the primary goal. Assuming the child is not a little Jack the Ripper, the occasional misbehavior, rowdiness at inconvenient times, or failure to control emotions 24X7 is really not a big deal.

People may shoot disapproving looks in your direction. So what? What do those people mean to you? Does their opinion really matter to you? Your children are a partial reflection of you it's true. Instead of spending so much time worrying about how your children reflect upon you, look in their eyes to see how you are reflected in theirs.

What you will see is the image of a woman who is loved unconditionally - perhaps messily and imperfectly at times, but loved with open arms, hearts and a youthful abandon. You are their home and their heart.

So the next time someone stares at you, or dares to comment about your kid during a less than perfect moment. Look them dead in the eye and say, "He has chosen the more arduous route to adulthood - the one that begins in infancy with pit stops through childhood and adolescence. When he gets there he'll be so damn amazing! It takes a lot more courage to go this route than it does to spring from a mother's loins fully grown and complete. I'm so proud of him."

Then look your kid in the eye and take note. They might stare at you with a wee bit of confusion, or suspicion, or even shock. But if you look closer you will see that reflection of you, surrounded by a twinkle that says, "my mama rocks".

The best gift of all - even better than a day alone - don't you think?

Twinkle on mamas!


Bach said...

Such great advice. I'm often harder on how I think my kids should behave than others would be. If I could step back from the chaos, I think I'd see some pretty impressive kids. It's the stepping back part that's hard. This Mother's Day my goal will be to find 10 endearing, lovable things for every 1 thing that sends me spinning. Thanks!

Jan said...

Tammy, You hit so many important points.

Love the fact that you share that you're a teacher so you have an wide experience with kids.

Love it. I'm going to tweet it. You should keep this and send it out next year as an essay!