Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Joys of Parenting

Can we skip the apologies for a year of absence? Cheers.

Let's talk about being a parent. It rocks, right? Joyful hearts, constant cuddles, loving looks between mother and offspring. That's what happens on a regular basis. It's never about being pooped on, puked on, anything bodily fluid related on. There are no screaming fits in the grocery store because the child cannot poke her fingers in the ground beef, neighborhood park because she can't jump on a piece of flimsy plastic covering a deep hole, living room because she can't where a too small tank top and too big jeans to school, etc. Am I right? If you're reading and you're saying, "Yes. You're right. I am the parent of angelic pieces of perfection," Stop reading now. Just stop. If you're reading and relating more with the second half of my description of parenthood, shall we continue?

I love being a mom. At least I keep telling myself that. I love my kids. Especially when we have conversations like this:

Ana: Why are you my mom?
Me: Because God thought I would be a good mama for you. Do you think he sent you to the right family?
Ana: No.
Me: Why not?
Ana: Because I want a mom that doesn't yell at me.

Ah, the warm fuzzies are exploding and showering rainbows of jelly beans and m&ms all over me right now.

Here's my general philosophy when it comes to parenting. If you spend a large portion of your parenting convinced that you're righteously effĂ­ng up your child, then you're probably doing a pretty good job. Once you start to think you're getting things right more than 32% of the time, start to worry.

Do I want my child to like me? Sure. That would be nice. Is it my priority? Not so much. My priority is that my child learns to be obedient, independent, respectful, and responsive.

And sometimes my priority is that she stops putting gel into her freshly washed hair without having to say it seventeen times and preferably slightly before I lose my mind. That is sometimes all I want. Pajamas are optional. Balanced nutrition that involves a quesadilla at every meal is just fine. Just, enough with the hair gel. Is that too much to ask?

Then we went and added another minion to the mix. This minion is easygoing and calm, loves everyone, and is easy to please- Just feed her all night long. I just keep telling myself that one day she will sleep. One day soon would be fantastic, but, whatever.

Lack of sleep, a newborn, and a four year old who thinks she's the mom can lead any person into the dark cave of "why did I do this willingly"-ness. Sometimes I go there, let myself have a good pity party for about 3-4 minutes and then come out. When I emerge, I most often find a newborn's gummy grin and sweet coos. I usually find a four year old repeating what she's heard so often, "Just calm down. Everybody loves you. Don't worry. Try to do better next time."

It would be pretty sweet if the pregnancy test came with a guarantee that parenting would be easy, it doesn't. Or at least, I haven't bought that test. Probably too expensive. Parenting is hard. Everyone does it differently. And, if you're a mom like me, you mostly look around you and gauge who's doing better and who's doing worse than you are. The problem with that is that you always end up being mediocre. Better than some, worse than some. Congratulations, dear child, you got an okay mom. She doesn't suck, and she's not fantastic.  Deal with it.

Where am I going with this? I don't know. Give me a break. I haven't posted anything for a year and it's been longer than that since it was anything relevant. Let's just sum it up with this. Each mother that wants to be is the best mother. Do most of us need to look at our phones less and smile more? Probably. Will my child survive my yelling? Likely. Do most of us need to give ourselves a fighting chance by remembering the smiles and laughter and "I love yous" instead of the tantrums, snot-filled angry yells of "You're not my mommy any more." Highly likely.

Own your journey, mother. Our kids are hard, but they're ours. No one else gets to raise them. No one else gets to do our job. Some will try. Most will have opinions. But, not a one gets to be their mom. And sometimes, that's enough reason to go on.

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