Friday, May 31, 2013

10 Pieces of advice you shouldn't follow

i'm going to give you advice on advice. no, the irony doesn't escape me. i am not an expert on anything, i'm not a therapist or a doctor. i don't have a counseling license, half the time i don't even know what i'm doing. but all of these are things i've learned the hard way. i took the field trip. trust me.

10. Never go to sleep angry.  wrong. sometimes you just need to go to sleep. most of us are at our emotional worst by the end of the day. we're tired, impatient and done. trying to iron out marital spats while in that place is a disaster waiting to happen. there are few things that don't seem quite so bad after a good night's sleep. so give each other a kiss (forced) and decide to sleep on it. it probably won't seem like nearly as big of a deal in the morning!

9. You can't spoil a baby. Uh, sure you can. Obviously infants need their needs met to form healthy attachment. No one is debating that. But your baby does not need to be held all of the time. Or while they sleep. Because even though that seems precious now, in a year it will not. When your child screams outside the door every time you shower. When you can never have a date night because you're the only one who can put your little darling to bed. Or worse, when you haven't had sex in a year because that sweetheart will only sleep between you and your husband. No baby has ever died from being allowed to cry while his mother showered. Trust me.

8. Don't cry over spilled milk.  Listen, if that milk is spilled in your minivan, which now smells like curdled death every time you get in it? Go ahead and cry. It won't make your van smell better but it may make you feel better. Besides, it's good for kids to learn that sometimes mommy cries too.

7. Marriage is 50/50. No. Marriage is more like 150/150, if it's going to last. I'm not a mathematician, but i'm pretty sure that adds up. There will be days when your spouse gives far less than you feel like they should. Give even more those days. When the tables turn and YOU are the depleted one, they will hopefully give it back.  The premise is simple: if both parties of a marriage are focusing their energy on making the other happy, odds are you will both be happy.

6.  It takes a village to raise a child. Not so much. In fact, we really just need the village to stop telling us how to raise our children on facebook.

5. Boys will be boys! Yes, they will. Until their mother teaches them how to act likek civil human beings and doesn't excuse their behavior by their gender. I have boys that are ALL boy. I can let them be that without letting them act like savages because they have a penis.

4. It's the thought that counts. If the thought was "My wife would LOVE an ab roller for Valentine's day!" you are wrong and it does not count.

3. God will never give you more than you can handle! Uh, yes He will. If you could handle it all on your own, what would you need God for? He will not, however, give you anything that the two of you cant handle together :)

2. Enjoy every moment! If you enjoy googling how to get urine out of furnace ducts, I can't help you.

1. Fake it till you make it! I think this one is the most damaging to mothers.  You know what? If you are not "making it", you don't have to pretend you are. It's ok to tell people you are struggling and you need help. It is good for you. Sometimes we all just need to permission to be a hot mess.  If you fake it, how will your  friends know to bring iced lattes and take a kid for an hour? Be real. It's the only way to survive this thing called motherhood with a shred of sanity. Your friends will appreciate it, your kids will learn that it's OK to ask for help and you will model for them that weaknesses are not dirty secrets to be hidden away. You will teach them to be who they are, flaws and all. And isn't that what we really want for them?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mompetition, Part 2

if you've been here a while, you may remember this post. it was one of my most widely read. it was all about the competition that is motherhood. nobody talks about it but it's there. in the past few weeks i have seen it rampant on facebook. from judgement about where to send your kid to school to the great breastfeeding debate, it's everywhere. and now we have pinterest and facebook and etsy to really bring home all of the things other moms are doing that we aren't. have you ever searched "kid's birthday party" on pinterest? holy. cow... don't do it. if i've learned anything in 13 years of parenting, it's stop comparing yourself to other mothers. stay out of the race, you can't win.

and yet... i still battle it. i find myself justifying my parenting choices to those who disagree. or getting irate at a facebook debate with people i don't even know! i realized a few weeks ago how far i need to go while attending a parent's meeting for one of my children. my kids attend a phenomenal private christian school. we love it there and we work our tails off to afford tuition. that being said, we are probably not your typical "private school parents".  So i'm sitting in this meeting, looking around, noticing how different i am than most of the other mothers. i don't own a sweater set. i have visible tattoos. i've never once sent an adorable themed snack to school for one of my kids' birthdays. heck, most of my kids' teacher may not even know what i look like. but the thing that stood out to me the most was that i was the only mom sitting alone. most of the other mothers know each other because they all volunteer often.  i'm at work. i don't have time to be at the school in the middle of the day. i have five kids and a job and a business and a million other responsibilities. i sat there feeling judgement that probably didn't even exist. if i really think about it, i bet none of them had a thought about me at all. but it bothered me. i began that familiar condemnation of mom guilt...reminding myself of all the things i don't do.

i've never thrown a big party for any of my kid's birthdays. in fact, i've never even sent anything to school for them. 
i've never made a costume, a set of curtains or even hemmed a skirt. i bribe my dear friend Nicole to hem my kid's uniforms!
i've never decorated for a holiday other than Christmas.
i've never taken my kids to disney world.
my  kids don't play sports and i could not be happier about it.

the list could go on on and on of all the things i don't do that make me not good enough as a mother. if i allow it, my insecurity could convince me that i am failing in all areas of motherhood.

but if i pull myself out of that destructive pit for just a moment, i can think about the things i am doing for my kids. when they are grown, will they be mad that i never threw an elaborate party for them? or will they be glad that i taught them to love every kind of music from punk to gospel to blue grass to hip hop.
will they feel that they missed out on having a mom that does crafts and activities? or will they realize the value of a mom who taught them to dance in the garage, to laugh when life sucks and that it's ok to say "sucks" when no other word will work.
will my daughters wish i had taught them to clean more, cook better, sew costumes? or will they realize that i may have missed those things... i did teach them to think for themselves, to dream big, to be what ever they want to be.

at the core of judgement is our own hearts. what others think is only significant if deep inside we agree.  so if you are a crafty mom...craft on! if you are a dancing mom, turn up the music! whatever your style, be who you are and don't let anyone tell you it's not good enough. especially yourself.

homeschool, public school, private school, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, attachment parenting, staying at home, working outside of the home, car seats, booster seats, potty seats... whatever your choose...
 and don't let anyone convince you otherwise!