Posts Tagged With: motherhood

My Mother’s Keeper: When I Couldn’t Defend My Mother from…My Mother

Dear Kids,

If someone insulted me, you’d be pretty upset, right? If someone called me stupid or fat or worthless, you’d probably punch them right in the face…or at least really, really want to (the height restrictions of young children being what they are).

But what if I said that stuff? What if I insulted myself? Would it make you less upset if the person offending your mother was your mother?

No. You’d still be upset. You just wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

When I was your age my mother said some not nice things about herself on a fairly regular basis. She didn’t like her body. She didn’t think she was smart. She didn’t like herself very much. And she certainly wasn’t very kind to herself.

It made me mad. And confused.

I loved my mother. The sun rose and set with her. She was my world. That the insults to my mother came from my mother made very little difference. I still felt angry whenever she said that she wasn’t good enough in some way.

I was angry that she would treat herself that way. I was angry that she couldn’t or wouldn’t see the many ways that she was perfect just the way she was.  I was angry with her. But I couldn’t defend her from herself.

She was (and is) the most beautiful person I knew – inside and out. And if she didn’t think she was good enough, was it possible that I wasn’t good enough either? I had to decide if she was right – that she should feel bad about herself. Or, if she was wrong and just didn’t know it yet.

I decided that she was wrong. Instead of the million little perceived flaws she had, there was really only one: that she didn’t like herself. It hurt that she didn’t like herself. After all, I liked her a great deal.

Every time she would get down on herself, I’d whisper under my breath or scream in my head, “You’re wrong!!”

It took a long time – many years and many good, persistent friends – to change my mother’s mind about herself. But, when enough people say enough times that you are good enough, you start to think that maybe they are right – and you are wrong.

My mother is a beautiful person – inside and out. And these days you won’t hear anyone tell her any different…even her.

Moms, please be conscious of how you treat yourself. Little ears are listening. And it does matter to them how you treat their mother.

original artwork by Meg C. DeBoe at dearcrazykids.com

original artwork by Meg C. DeBoe at dearcrazykids.com

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Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

#sogladtheytoldme

Dear Kids,

It’s been going around the mom-blogs recently; advice from other moms that actually helped.

New moms and new dads get a lot of advice. A lot. Most of it unsolicited. Some of it useful. But a rare piece or two is gold. That’s the stuff that comes back to us and again and again as we travel this perilous parenthood road.

Some such advice was given to me by the mom I am most closest: my very own mom.

While slogging through my babysitting years, or staring down ice-cream soaked children in horror in my college years, she held steadfast to her mantra, “It’s different when they’re yours.”

And it was. It really, really was. When you have your own kids you get to make them your own brand of crazy. And my brand of crazy is freaking adorable.

When I was pregnant with my second kiddo, I was nervous. There’s only so much love to go around, right? Mom chimed in again with, “you don’t divide your love 50/50 between them. Your love doubles to include them both; you love them both 100%.

And she was right. I didn’t have to short change one to love the other. I was short on time, short on hands, and short on diapers, but I was never short on love. It turned out I had two unique places in my heart just for each of them.

So, come on, Moms. What’s that golden piece of advice you keep coming back to? Chime in at #sogladtheytoldme

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Categories: Buddy, Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Kitten – Last Night

Dear Kitten,

Last night you were having trouble winding down for bed time. So, I read you an extra story then cuddled up next to you on your bed. Normally, I don’t do this because it usually just encourages you to chat ad nauseum. But, not last night.

Las night you cuddled up right next to me and rested your forehead against my chest. I caught my breath when you did this and flashed back four and a half  years to when you were a baby.

The first two weeks of your life you slept on my chest. You were so small and you fit so perfectly, your head nuzzled right under my neck. Four and a half years later you snuggled in just like you used to and I realized that even though you are bigger, you are still my baby girl.

Baby Girl 230

Categories: Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Kids – Because I’m The Mom!

Dear Kids,

For your edification – and because I want to and it’s my day – here are some mom-related posts for you:

Fearfully Made     An unapologetically Sappy Post to My Mother      Confessions of a Slacker Mom      Mom Shoes

Thank you for making me a mother!

I love you,

Mom

Heart Hands Feet        Page 11_Landscape_Web

Slacker Mug                     Female_runner_silhouette

Photo Credits: See individual posts for credits

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Kitten – Fearfully Made

Dear Kitten,

When you were born you were so precious. We took you home – despite our protests that they were making a mistake, that we had no idea what we were doing! We had a crib, a bassinet, and a cozy little infant seat for you, but you slept on my chest for the first two weeks. You were so little and you fit so perfectly there with my arms cradling you. I was terrified by how much I loved you. Literally, terrified.

Back when I was pregnant with you I started making your baby book. I put a quote on the first page, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body” (Elizabeth Stone). I thought it was sweet. After I had you I knew that it was true – really, really true. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and was laying on the changing table in front of me, cooing and chewing on its toes. It was unbelievable. Perhaps that’s why I kept you so close to my chest those first few weeks.

Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to the feeling. There goes my heart on the jungle gym. There goes my heart to school. So, when your brother was born I wondered how that would feel. It wasn’t terrifying the second time. I got the jump on the fear and simply gave him my heart.

So, there you two go, my heart walking around outside my body; one half on the swings, the other half on the slide. You have no idea, do you? Have you every wondered why I hold you so close? It’s just my heart coming home for a visit.

Photo Credit: GettyImages

Photo Credit: GettyImages

Categories: Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dear Kids – Confessions of a Slacker Mom

Dear Kids,

If you two ever want a glimpse in to the parenting theory upon which you were raised, look no further than “Confessions of a Slacker Mom” by Muffy Mead-Ferro. I read this book before I had children, while I was pregnant, and again after each of you was born. I dog-eared and underlined it then leant it to my sister – a new mom – who added more dog-ears and underlines. To be honest, I have loaned it to so many moms I don’t know where it is right now and that’s ok. I’ve started buying new copies to give out (although, if you find a copy with my name in it, I would love to have it back).

Based on the book, I’ve developed my favorite parenting guidelines:

1) Keep the kids alive.
2) Make do or do without.
3) Enforce it the first time.
4) Let them make their own mistakes.
5) Limit the stuff.
6) Be prepared to be inconvenienced.

A little more on each guideline:

1) Keep the kids alive. Parenting at it’s most basic. Everything after that is gravy, right?

2) Make do or do without. If Kitten doesn’t want that spoon, she wants Buddy’s spoon, then she is going to have to make do or do without. I’ll be honest, this is hard sometimes. Appeasing a child takes 2 seconds, making a point can take 10-20 minutes (hours?). But I hate whining – hate it – and enforcing this means less whining. It’s also important for kids to learn that not getting what they want is NOT the end of the world.

3) Enforce it the first time. This is the key to ‘slacker’ parenting; front-loading. Do you want to spend your whole shopping trip – every shopping trip – chasing junior down the aisle picking up every thing he’s taken off the shelf? Nobody does. That’s a lot of work! This guideline means taking junior by the hand – every time – and having him put the item back. It’s annoying, but eventually he will get it and you will be the envy of every parent in the grocery store when you say, “Put that back, Junior” and he DOES! Now you can be a slacker – you’ve already done the heavy lifting.

4) Let them make their own mistakes. Mistakes = learning. I think this is something helicopter parenting has really robbed children of – learning by experience. Protect your kids, sure, but don’t over protect them. Let them play in mud and learn that it doesn’t taste good. Let them mix every color in the paint box and learn it makes mud, which (horray!) they already know doesn’t taste good. Let them try something, fail, and try again. It’s fun! It’s life! Our job as parents is to make sure they don’t damage themselves, others, or property (much). Other than that, just see what happens. You might learn how much fun it is to watch your kids discover on their own.

5) Limit the stuff. Limiting toys teaches self control and appreciation for what they have. Every spring and winter Kitten and I – and Buddy when he’s a little older – go through their toys and stuffed animals and take out toys and stuffed animals to give away. This helps control the toy and stuffed animal population and it’s a good lesson in giving. It also helps her appreciate more the toys she keeps. My part in this is encouraging family and friends to give us open-ended toys; toys like blocks, a tea set, dinosaur figurines, cars, pirate sword – all of these can be used in many ways and require you to use your imagination. Dead-end toys, like the ones where you push a button and watch it do one thing over and over, don’t require much imagination or interaction at all and usually don’t last long in our house.

6) Be prepared to be inconvenienced. I can’t overstate it enough. Parenting is inconvenient. Parenting is fun and rewarding, for sure, but the meat of parenting revolves around the inconvenient stuff. Without that stuff, you’re just the fun uncle. It’s leaving a cart full of groceries to take a kid to the bathroom, to take a kid outside for a talk, or to take a kid all the way home. It’s not being able to wait until you get home – even it you’re so close! – for a potty break, a diaper change, a bottle, or a drink. It’s slowing everything down – practically to a halt – so you can explain something, teach something, or correct something. But, even still, or maybe because of all that, parenting is incredibly rewarding…and funny. Sooo funny.

Photo Credit: cafepress.com

Photo Credit: cafepress.com

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dear Mom – An Unapologetically Sappy Post to My Mother

Dear Mom,

I usually write to the kids, but I just had to get this on the record. There’s something about being a mom that makes you reflect frequently on your own childhood; you suddenly see everything from both sides. And with that in mind I need to express a little gratitude – not just for the diapers changed, the moods tolerated, or the hair held back – but for making me feel every day – happy, sad, or otherwise – that I was loved more than I could probably appreciate at the time.

You loved us without regard, condition or restraint. And, honestly, that felt so good. Now that I’m a mother, I know how overwhelming a parent’s love for a child can be and I’m glad that you did not hold back one ounce of it. I felt constantly awash in your giddy love, and – bouyed by it – made it through some tough times. No matter what went wrong there was always the safe place of you to return to. It was a love without judgement, without caveats, and without shame. I can only hope that the love I have for my own children can be near as empowering to them.

Some parents worry that they will smother their children. I do not believe that children can have too much love. Love, in itself, is not overbearing. All love has good intentions. It is the fear of letting go and calling it love that is smothering. The real trick to parenthood is seeing your heart walking around outside your body and being ok with it.

So, Mom, thank you for the gift of love and life and for teaching me by your example how to be a loving mom.

I love you too.

Photo Credit: illustrated by Meg C. DeBoe

Photo Credit: illustrated by Meg C. DeBoe

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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