Friday, March 21, 2014

On Moms/A Few Points

1. I've always been a fan of not over-parenting or keeping track of my kids. Maybe it's because our kids have ended up piling up pretty quickly and I've just had to not worry too much. Or maybe it's that I'm just that mom or too relaxed or something but I'm really feeling validated by all these parenting articles cropping up lately. I've always appreciated my kids experiencing a healthy dose of danger and the rewards of confidence and creativity and pride (to name a few) that come from figuring it out. Have you seen this one or this or this?

Maybe if the general population sees you as a crappy mom, it means you are actually a GOOD mom. Now, go have a margarita and let your kids climb on the roof or something. Your kids will be confident, intelligent, non-narcissists. Seems like everyone wins!

2. Related to point number 1, I think it helps to be a less freaked out parent when you are part of a community of less freaked out parents. And it's easy to be a less freaked out parent when you have too many kids to freak out about. I realize what a gift our huge-family, homeschool community is for me. All around me are mothers with more kids than me and they are mostly always more chill than me. And I like that. I like that because I feel validated for being chill and I feel inspired to be more chill.

I also love how I feel totally ordinary around them with my {little} family of five. Many of these families have 6, 7, 8 and up. It helps me to feel completely average in a world that seems me as completely non-average and it helps me not to fuss or feel sorry for myself re: the daily grind. Don't get me wrong, life can be hard for any mother- whether you have 1 or 10, and I always feel empathy and understanding from my friends when the struggle is on. But, there is a healthy dose of "no big deal" when it comes to a family my size and I like that. I might be tempted to cry myself a river on the daily if I didn't have these beautiful women and their beautiful children to remind me that it's not so bad.

3. Related to point number 2, I went to Trader Joes last week with all five and, for the first time ever, felt like a true spectacle. Not the "you're done right?" commentary that makes you feel like a spectacle but a real deal, murmurs in the aisles type of spectacle. And it hit me that I never feel like a spectacle in our community. I don't mind murmurs in the grocery store. I feel quite proud of all my kids. They are all awesome, and funny, and cute, and even though Johnny climbs the bottled water boxes while I'm bagging groceries every.single.time, I feel proud that he is mine.

4. I also love how any mother with even one more child than me gives me an injection of confidence about any new babes our future might hold. Look! She is doing it. It'll be fine! And I love how every mother can give that gift to some other mother or someday- mother every single day.

Do you have 3 kids? Guess who you are inspiring? The mother of 2. Do you have 2? You're inspiring the mother if 1! Do you have 1? You're inspiring the mother that's yet to be. Do you have two little ones and are pregnant? You are inspiring the woman that wishes she were despite the world telling her she's nuts. Or the woman who just found out she is and is scared to death. I am inspired by the mother of 1 that is juggling work and home life. And the mother of 3 that is still in those rickety stages of all little ones and is managing to not throw a book against the wall during bedtime stories (it was a low moment, let's talk about it some other time). And you know what, I'm still inspired by her even if she does throw that book, because she knows it wasn't her finest hour and she is working hard to change that. We are always silently (sometimes loudly) telling eachother "You can do it! These people are worth it."

And I love that.

5. Related to points number 4, 3, 2 and 1, you know what kind of mother inspires me? The mother that is chill in Trader Joes even though her kid is going ballistic.

Don't hustle out of there, mama. Don't hang your head. Do your shopping and take your time. That baby is strapped in and they aren't going anywhere. Their tantrum is not your tantrum. You are giving a gift to me. You are reminding me that I'm not alone in the world, that my kids aren't the only ones. I will chuckle and smile as we make eye contact, or I will offer to give you a hand and I'll tell you about the last time when Clemmy chewed through the cheese wrapper and Hero got her arm pinched in the sliding door. And that will be a gift to you.

And the next time my kid is flipping out in the store, I bet I'll straighten my posture and unclench my teeth because of you.

I might even reapply my lip gloss and linger in the wine section a bit, for good measure.


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