A Day of Nothingness.

395134_10151177341138860_1874204464_nAmid the chaos of normal daily life, there comes the gift of a day where you don’t have anywhere to go or anything planned. Today was such a day. The kids didn’t get dressed until 1 pm, when I made a fleeting attempt to go to the grocery store, but then I decided could survive without going (see this!). The kids watched a solid 5 hours of TV before I shut it off and now they are playing together.

I have no problem with them watching TV or playing on the iPad. I don’t need to be Supermom and have 8 hours of crafts lined up. Pinterest can kiss my ass. My value as a parent is not defined by whether or not I let them be bored or how creative I am. I’m not here to entertain my children. I am not their playmate. I’m here to teach them, and the ability to amuse themselves is a very important lesson to learn. Not having everything lined up for them means they need to use their imagination and come up with their own games. Inevitably, they always do.

As long as no one is bleeding, I don’t need to get involved.

Baby Creed

  1. If it is quiet, scream.
  2. If it has a button, push it.
  3. If you see it, taste it.
  4. If it has liquid, pour it.
  5. If it is clean, throw up on it.
  6. If it is fragile, break it.
  7. If it is inedible, eat it.
  8. If it has a lever, pull it.
  9. If it is bedtime, wake up.
  10. If it is a door, open it.
  11. If it is a hole, fill it up.
  12. If it is juicy, smash it.
  13. If it’s high up, jump off it.

A Mommy’s Privilege.

1395946_10151780474213860_1345250959_nOn the days that I am done, the days where I can not wait until bedtime so that I can have a moment’s peace, the days where I can’t stand to be touched or climbed upon anymore, I try hard to remember something – Never before in my life, and probably never again, will I be this loved.

Those humans that I created believe fully that I am the center of the universe. Not just their universe, the universe. To them, I have all the answers, I am their comfort, their warmth, their guide, their happy place. It only takes being away for a couple hours and they’ll run back into my arms with Superman speed and I am lucky enough to be on the receiving end of the best hug in the world.

In ten years time, they will look at me differently. I won’t be the awesome mother they think I am right now. Their world will have shifted, it’ll become more complicated, and with every year, I’ll become peripheral to their universe rather than the center. That knowledge breaks my heart but also drives me to at least try to appreciate what I have right now. Because while many days pass by that make me want to tear out my hair or scream at the top of my lungs, these precious individuals continue to grow, mature and move on. Very very soon, my two won’t fight about who gets to sit on my lap. They won’t need me to read them bedtime stories. They’ll push away my daily thousands of kisses. And my heart will break in two.

So on those days that I struggle with this parenting gig, which is most days, I try so hard to remember how lucky I am right this second. Because I have never been loved so wholly as those two little creatures love me right this moment.  It is a privilege that I refuse to take for granted.

Remember – you have no idea what is going on.

281963_10150247593243860_371690_nSee that toddler freaking out over there? Yeah, the one that makes you think “Oh dear God,” and all sorts of thoughts run through your head? Or the child who begs for chocolate at the checkout line and you watch in horror as mommy or daddy cave? That used to be me watching and wondering.

When I sat on my childless perch, I could solve any parenting problem at a glance. With ease, I could be your executioner in the parenting battlefield. And then I had a child. Yes, you can snicker. Because no other singular act teaches you that you know absolutely nothing than the arrival of a child.

I walked through the grocery store yesterday afternoon, with my 5-year-old preschooler sitting in the shopping cart wearing her cupcake pajamas. My 3-year-old was manically running through the store. I’m now at the point where I don’t care about the looks I get. I accept now that these people, whom I will never see again, don’t understand that it was Pajama Day in school or that they both had really long days the day before so they are both cranky and tired. However, I needed to get milk. I ignore the looks I get because even if these other people are put out by my kids’ behaviors, I don’t have the effort within me to care what they think. I couldn’t even be bothered to explain. Most of the time when I snap at my children, it’s because I’m the one stressed out. I’m panicking about what other people think. If I take away the fear of other people’s thoughts or reactions, things become a lot less stressful.

Most of the time, when you see a parent that seems like they’re out of their depth, they probably are. That doesn’t mean they are incompetent.  It may just be that they’re having a really bad day. You don’t know if a loved one passed away. You don’t know if someone else lost their job. Perhaps the rent is overdue or the mortgage is defaulting. You could be looking at a mother who hasn’t had any sleep for five years. Perhaps a growth spurt is to blame (my two turn into unholy terrors during growth spurts). That possessed devil you see running amok may have been an angel just an hour ago. Maybe it’s a simple as a missed nap. Maybe, just maybe, what you are seeing is someone who is doing their best, but needs help, or it’s a child who has just reached their limit on what they can absorb and contain.

Sometimes, very small gestures of kindness can turn a day around. When you see that baby freaking out in front of you, start a game of peek-a-boo. Begin a conversation with the preschooler to distract him/her just long enough that mommy can swipe her debit card and get everyone out the door. A little nod of understanding or a smile also can go a long way. A look of disdain or disapproval does nothing but aggravate an already stressful situation. When we choose to be nicer to each other, everyone wins.

Something else happens when you do this. Your day gets brighter too.

 

Summertime!

10401455_10152208389778860_5846474580722256848_nOh I’m in so much trouble.

My daughter completed VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten) this year where her schedule was  9am-12pm every day, but yesterday she was invited to spend the whole day there. The school’s end-of-year celebration was at 5pm. So I dropped her to school at 9am and didn’t see her again until 5pm which was the longest school day she’s ever had.  She was so excited about the full day. Oh how aware I am that that will be a fleeting joy come next year. Anyway, school celebration came and went. We all came home about 7pm and I watched something happen that was wholly abnormal. The kids played together beautifully for an hour. The time limit was self-imposed because it was bed time, but they both seemed happy to play together and there wasn’t one scream of “Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!!

I realize this only happened because she was gone all day yesterday. Neither was sick of the other, they may have actually missed each other. Here’s what else it tells me – I am so much trouble come noon tomorrow when her school year ends and she is home full time for three months.

Oh boy!

Tell me what you do to keep the kids entertained in the summer time! I’m going to need lots of help. Or alcohol.