Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Things I Know About Being a Mom

Well, Mother's Day has come and gone, and I never did get my Mother's Day post up. This whole procrastination/depression/anxiety disorder thing is getting annoying. Brain chemicals are tricky things, and they seem to enjoy being sneaky and popping chaos and/or lethargy into your life when you least expect them. I don't want the tricky brain chemicals to win, so I'm going to go ahead and finish my Mother's Day post, just to show them who's boss. That would be me, although if you've been hanging around me lately, you might not believe that.

On the other hand, it's getting late, and this might not be exactly the post I had originally planned. Just sayin'.

So without further ado, welcome to my Mother's Day post.

I'd like to share what I've learned over the years about being a mom. None of this wisdom came from my own brilliance. I've been blessed to know many good moms over the years, especially my own!

Me with my mama and sisters
No one knows what the face I'm making is about. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

10  5 Things I know About Being a Mom.

1. It's not easy, but it's worth it. 

Being a mom is tough. For one thing you never know if you're doing it right, and getting it right matters so very, very much! Also, you know that old saying, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you"? It's true. As a mom, you have to do things you don't want to do, but you know it's what's best for your child. And then there are the nights sitting up with a feverish child worrying yourself sick. None of it's easy. But what a hole there would be in my life if I didn't have those children!

My kids--My car. Thanks.

Anyway, it's necessary to raise the children so you can get some grandkids. Now there's a reward for your hard work!! So, no putting the kids up for adoption when they get difficult. No stopping this car and leaving them by the side of the freeway. I mean, sure you can threaten, but you really just can't do that.

 2. Every child is different, and that's okay.

Just when you get your first child figured out and start to feel like you might be getting this parenting thing down, along comes a whole new person to show you that you still know nothing. So you've got a little girl learning her letters on Sesame Street, and your little boy is too busy climbing to the highest point in the house to care about Big Bird or Grover, and certainly not wimpy little Elmo. Or in your case it may have been a little boy reading books and a girl mixing "scientific formulas" with the cleaning fluids. But how boring would it be to raise the same child more than once? Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and I'm sure it's true.

Alyssa, feet firmly planted on the ground, and Ben ... not so much.

3. A mom's job is to help her children be whoever they already are.

We don't get to turn our children into whoever we want them to be. (I wish I could have convinced my ex-husband of that.) Kids are already someone when they're born. We can't turn an introvert into an extrovert. We can't turn a kid who's interested in science into a poet. Nor should we. All we can do is help them to be the best they can be, whoever they are. As my mom says, "All we can do is civilize them."
The four my mom tried to civilize.

4. We have to teach them to be independent, and that means letting them fall down once in a while.

One of those hard things we have to do is let our kids try things and allow them to fail. It seems like a lot of moms today want to protect their kids from anything remotely dangerous. I remember carving soap with a butter knife when I was very small. Ivory soap was best for that, by the way. When I was six I wanted an Easy Bake Oven. Instead my mom taught me to read a cake mix package and use the big oven! 

Those same moms are the ones doing their children's science fair projects and editing their essays. Kids learn from trying, failing, and figuring out why they failed. You have to let them go, or they'll never learn to fly.

That's my boy, the climber

5. You're their mom, not their friend, but that doesn't mean you can't like each other.

You have to find the balance between being the authority figure and being their pal. There were lots of activities that Alyssa, Ben, and I enjoyed doing together. We had fun, we sang, we played games. And Disneyland! Don't get me started on Disneyland! But when the time came to set and enforce limits, they always knew I was the one in charge.
Alyssa, Ben and BFF Pam

Did they always like that? Of course not! They were kids!  We argued, they got grounded, there were tears and anger. But we all still knew we loved each other. I didn't worry about them "liking" me. When they told me I was mean, I said, "Good. Then I'm doing my job." I think they got tired of hearing that, but it's true.
My kids back in the day

The bottom line is that Alyssa and Ben are close to me today. We still enjoy spending time together, and they know they can come to me when they need to talk. Yes, even though I grounded them!

My babies!

So there you go. Some random number of things I know about being a mom. I actually know other stuff about it, but I think that I've sufficiently whipped the brain chemicals and let them know who's in charge. 

How about you? What are your best "being a mom" tips? What do you wish you had known before you started? What are you still trying to figure out? Leave a comment!
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