Thursday, June 29, 2006

Too Lame To Think Of A Title...

When Jake and Jack were babies and toddlers I was rather fantastic and let's just say adamant about getting them to the park and playdates and child focused activities. Many of these outings were more for me than for them as I needed to interact with other tall humans and if I had to do it at the park while trying to keep sand out of a child's mouth, so be it. I wanted to know what other moms were doing, reading, and feeding their babies. I didn't want to be the only one who didn't have her kids on Juice+ or enrolled in the Music and Movement classes with Mr. Gary. I was on the go, with the children's development and stimulation and basically doing all those wonderful things that are the focus of many a parenting magazine article and that my husband would rather pull out his fingernails with a pair of Fiskar safety scissors than participate in.... things like: Paint, Paste and Pour, the indoor playground at Jump-4-Fun or story and craft hour at the public library. And don't even think about fucking with nap/bedtimes. Sacrosanct! I was Mommy-Barbie... watch me shop for organic produce while wearing cute shoes. Let's read! Let's! Let's interact!

I was really very fearful that I would mess up and they would not get into the university of their choice because I missed some opportunity to challenge them and help them grow.

Shoot me.

My children, I am certain, were thinking, "Lady, take a Valium." I wasn't quite this woman, but I came dangerously close.

Fast forward a few years and I am now the mother of 3 and I swear to you people, I barely recognize the woman raising Eva. She looks like me: messy hair, flip flops, giant sunglasses, but she is a little more relaxed and not quite so insistent on doing.the.right.thing. She laughs a lot more.

Pringles potato chips for breakfast? Meh, not the best, not the worst, she'll be fine. Afternoon spent watching the same Max and Ruby DVD over and over again... it's good to have quiet days. Naps? They may or may not happen... depends on what else we have going on...

I have never taken Eva to the park unless we are waiting for one of the boys to wrap up a tennis or karate lesson. She goes several times a week with her nanny and has a whole little posse of toddler buddies that I wouldn't know if I fell over. And I don't care. I did sign her up for dance class and we very dutifully go on Thursday mornings to hop like bunny rabbits with Miss Linda who is a much nicer lady now that she has been introduced to the wonders of Prozac. We spin around with tiaras on our heads and do the Mashed Potato and generally enjoy the hell out of ourselves for 45 minutes. Then, we go out to lunch. We share french fries.

I don't worry about her and my failing her in the same way that I did about Jake and Jack. I know this child is a survivor. She thrived in her foster home. She came to us healthy and confident and that was from love and nurturing... not special toys and floor time. Eva reminded me that parenting isn't a contest with a finish line... it is an on-going and constant state of life and there are many ways to do it and do it well.

So I parented my boys differently. And they are lovely and charming and I didn't mess them up too much with my own neuroses. I was different then. Younger, insecure in my abilities as a mother and desperate and determined to do things right. Then, as a gift, my daughter came along to show me that there is no right way... there is just being their mom.

And we are happy.





someone put this child to bed... napping on the floor in her too big for her outfit... some mother's have no shame!

53 comments:

kelly said...

I am also a mother of three beautiful kiddos and yes we moms do relax with each addition to our family. I have also let go of my many neuroses since having our first love, Emme. It is survival of the fittest and, damn it, I will survive this motherhood thing. No longer do I wipe down the shopping cart in fear of my daughter picking up some mutation cold virus that will, no doubt, lead to an ear infection, a trip to the doc and antibiotics. My next two kids don't even know the doctor outside of their "well child" visits. And so it goes.....

Stephanie said...

I have tried to be the "anti-mom" from the get go. I don't over schedule my daughter, let her watch TV and try to just hang out and have fun. I just yesterday enrolled her in a dance class - it will start if a few weeks. I am already second guessing my decision. I guess I just don't want to be one of those women who are "keeping up with the Joneses." Like, who cares what other people are doing anyway?

crouching mother hidden diva said...

that is the sweetest picture of the Diva to date. Her little paw clutching the flipper! I can't stand it!

eastcoastermomma said...

Hooray the comments are back on!

rubyiscoming said...

Great post - Ruby will be my first, but I have made a PACT not to become neurotic momma (although it may just be in my genes!)

Nikki said...

She is so beautiful.

Good mommy. Good.

Becky said...

yay comments are back up!

Summer said...

URGH...I suffered from the gotta be a FABULOUS momma and do EVERYTHING just right craziness as well for a while. Screw that. My head buzzed with overly zealous chirpy women whom I felt judged me because I myself am not overzealous and certainly not friggin chirpy.
Hats off to all the laid back moms out there!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Beautiful.

desanibel said...

You've got some beautiful kids. Sounds like you're enjoying more and worrying less. Sounds great.

motherhooduncensored said...

I think your last line spoke volumes to me. And you know what you are right.

You just have to do what you can. And most days, I look like crap - however, I've been trying to make an effort - so I can feel good too.

Oh, The Joys said...

Great post!

Perrin said...

I love this post about being a parent that can grow too. I hear yah on this one. Good for you!

Melissa said...

I love it. Love the picture too. Hubby and I will probably have one more in a few years. Hell, even two. I will be different. I am more relaxe than I was the first year for sure. DOnuts and goldfish haven't killed them yet. Neither will not going to the dreaded library story hour or not doing Gymboree.

You are a good mom either way, Kristin. They will all three turn out great.

Mama C said...

I have been fighting the supermom pull for almost 4 years now. My oldest son used to go to Gymboree, but now just hangs out with the other daycare kids. My youngest has never taken a class in his two years. My sister, on the opposite end, has her daughter in gymnastics and will probably get her into dance as soon as she can. Oh well, there's no right or wrong way to parent. Right?

Kristen said...

I love the shoes! Are they Target? I was gonna buy those for Leah but her feet were too skinny and they were falling off : (

I've learned really quick even though Leah's my only baby- that I needed to let go of all the crap I thought I had to do- the organic food, the classes...and I just go with what I think is best.

Sandy said...

"... there is just being their mom.
And we are happy."

Beautiful post and great ending! Thank you for sharing!

Domestic Chicky said...

So does that make us Anti-Uber moms? LOL... I belonged to a moms group that was planning an event each day of the week-and these moms had their kids in mommy and me too!!! I was exhausetd just looking at the schedule! If we wanna go somewhere, we do. If we wanna make messes making cookies, we do. Pinky-do all afternoon? Sure, let's dance. There's plenty of time for structure later on...let's revel in the here and now.

Heather said...

Too cute! Glad you found your groove, so to speak (and even more glad it involves the mashed potato).

mamatulip said...

I was just having a conversation with another mom about this today -- how I am so much more relaxed as a mom now that Oliver's here, and how much more I enjoy my children and being a mother. Excellent post!!! (Three exclamation points!)

Joannah said...

Hopefully I can follow your lead and not worry too much about being the perfect mom with the first one. I think I'd rather not stress over it all. Although, with a type A minus personality that may be asking too much of myself!

Kris said...

I'm going to save this post and review it a year from now when we are off to China to get our first. There's so much information out there...dare I say too much...so you feel totally incompetent if you can't "keep up" with the uber-moms. It's so easy to get sucked into their vortex!! Thanks for reminding me that, as our friends John, Paul, George & Ringo said--"All you need is love"...and maybe a Pringle or two!!

mollymcmommy said...

she is such a cutie....i LOVE sleeping children!! LOL!!

i have 3 children, and boy have I changed and grown along the way! LOL!

m

Kathryn M said...

I love all her jewelery! All those bracelets are adorable.

InterstellarLass said...

I never understood the fabulous mommy thing. Well, I was also a young, single (or might as well have been), working, going to school mom. I didn't have time for those things.

Even today, I let my kids do things I think other people would gasp over. And my family frequently does. But so far my kids haven't beat other kids up and they're not mean, and they mostly use their manners, and I find myself thinking "did I just teach them something" and I feel good about it.

Colleen said...

This is a great post and a good reminder to those Mom's out there who are trying to out June Cleaver everyone.

Lisa said...

What a sweet photo!

Stephanie said...

I ended up back here reading everyone elses comments and noticed that I made a big mistake in mine. I meant to say that I don't overschedule my daughter, I DO let her watch TV and BLAH BLAH BLAH! When I re-read the first comment I realized that it sounded like I don't let Leah watch TV. As if.

Jodi said...

I think it's great that you are learning to mellow out and enjoy your kids more! That is awesome. :) I am soooo not an over achieving type of Mama so I don't really have anything else to add. I was just reading a blog today that had a bunch of anti TV comments on it, as in TV is BAADDDDDD and never let your kids watch, and THAT made me feel guilty. Or when I read about people feeding their kids organic foods. I consider vegs organic and feel good when my kids get one a day...you get the idea. :)
But, this was a PERFECT post, loved it. We all have to do what feels right for our family and try to have some giggles along the way I guess.

Love the sleeping Eva pic, she's toooo cute.

carrie said...

I could've written this myself (except for the adoption), but that doesn't matter.

I often joke that our 3rd is like a grandchild because I can enjoy her more, I notice all of the little things and I am waaaaay more relaxed than I was in my 20's!

In my opinion, good parents a) love their kids no matter what b) keep them safe (as safe as possible) and c) try to raise them to be compassionate, caring and contributing individuals.

Gymboree and Kindermusik do not make you a good parent simply because you showed up!

Bravo, and keep on chillin' with your daughter, I know how you feel!

Carrie

p.s. I hate anonyomous!

Mel said...

Parenthood is just as much a learning experience as it is a teaching experience. I'm pretty sure everybody would agree with this statement: "I have learned more from my child(ren) than they have from me."
True?
It is for me, anyhow. It's like boot camp for growing up and letting go and relaxing and letting the Universe unfurl without any attempts on my part to stage-manage it. Although that's hard, so very, very hard.

Christina_the_wench said...

Weren't we all really anal about the first child? The second one. Not so much. And god help the third one. hehe

You're in good company. ;)

Shelli said...

Delurking to say great post! I can so relate. I was so uptight with C and much more relaxed when L came.

Glad to see that comments are turned back on.

Stephanie A. said...

I love your perspective on this and it reminds me that sometimes I just need to chill the fuck out. Especially with the crawling thing for Hugo. Thanks Kristin! You rock, as always.

Tori said...

Nice one K! Great post.

I knew the first parent too. She was fab of course. She and I would dress our kids and take them to pumpkin patches and to airbases to sit in the planes... they were still babies but we felt sure they would remember something. And the classes where we would sit behind them in the circle - beaming - making their chubby hands clap together...
"Oh we're having fun - we're having so much FUCKING fun!"
The difference now is also that they have a ready-made playground and ready made playmates in the form of siblings. They need very little and we need very little more for them than to be happy and also a little bit quiet too sometimes so that their wonderful mommies can blog.... just a little....

Kevin Charnas said...

Excellent post, Kristin. I loved it. I read it with the relaxed demeanor in which you wrote it and I could feel the sigh in your self-examination.

I can't wait to meet you in person and hug you. HEY! THE LAUNDRY MACHINE INSTALLER GUY GOT TO!

Kim M. said...

As a mother of 3( 9, 7 and 2) I have to say that my youngest has a different Mommy than the older 2. However she has the older two siblings and that is something the older 2 don't have. That's the deal. I think it is a good one. She is so confident and independent. I believe it is because of her older siblings encouraging her and oh yeah my husband and I may have a hand in it.

By the way that picture of Eva will be a classic she is so sweet. I held our youngest through an entire dinner at Red Robin the other night while she slept. But big sis and bro had to go out to eat. Hey life goes on. Thanks for posting I've been thinking of this a lot lately.

Suburban Turmoil said...

I love it! I often feel guilty that I'm parenting my first like you're parenting Eva-- but I figure it comes from raising two stepdaughters for the last five years. Yahoo for laidback moms!

Overwhelmed! said...

Kristin- I'm not sure how you found me, but thanks for checking out my blog (I noticed your blog linked in Site Meter).

I just love this post! I'm a mother of one small boy, 18 months old. Even with just one, I've found myself relaxing a bit more as he gets older.

I used to read every page of the "What to Expect the First Year" book and check off the developmental milestones as Snuggle Bug reached them. I went out and bought the "What to Expect the Toddler Years" and probably read 2 chapters before I tossed it aside and haven't picked it up again yet.

I know my son is happy, healthy, and intelligent. I don't need a book to tell me what to expect or what to watch for (my pediatrician is good enough). It doesn't matter anyway. He'll developed at his own pace and I'll love him no matter what.

And all the things I swore I'd NEVER do as a mother, well, I've probably done most of them at least once. Guess what, Snuggle Bug is still happy and healthy. :)

Anyway, thanks for the great post. I'll be back to read more.

Angry Dad said...

Confuse-us say "There is no right or wrong way, there is just ... the way". You Rock! (And even Confucius would agree to that!)

Shelley said...

Well said.

Nicki said...

You are a fabulous Mommy- now and then. I am glad to know Pringles are a breakfast food in your house, because Cheese Puffs (of course the organic version) are in our house!

And do tell, who is anonymous?

J.D. said...

I think Anonymous knows if they showed their face, they'd have a butt-whoopin' comin' their way.

Mega Mom said...

Ha! My husband keeps saying "just when we can sit down at the park we're doing it all over again" and I INSIST that it won't be nearly the same. After all, kids start raising one another at this point, right?

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

Congratulations on reaching this new relaxed point. I need to take a lesson from you and your daughter.

I wish I could relax more as a mom and stop trying to be so f'ing perfect at it. I feel guilt over everything I do and don't do. I know you are right about what's important. You have the right approach.


Lisa

Ninotchka said...

Damn, you're brilliant. I knew I liked you for a reason! ;)

lildb said...

you're a delight, K. thanks for always giving your posts such a light, lovely touch.

(well, except for that post where you bitch-slapped the bigots. and I loved me some angry Kristen.)

Izzy said...

parenting isn't a contest with a finish line... it is an on-going and constant state of life and there are many ways to do it and do it well.

Truer words have never been spoken. My second child has a very different mom than my first did...which may or may NOT be to his detriment but either way, we seem to be doing just fine and it sounds like Eva is, too :)

Recovering Wino said...

Hooray..I get to read you again!

J.D. said...

Happy 4th to you too, Kristin :)

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I am so bad at getting playdates it is so tough. E/t else too always such a pressure. I guess it's easiest at the begining. I am sure yu are still great.

Lisa said...

Oh, I fell into the Be Perfect Trap, too. There's just something about that 3rd kid that changes everything. I'm still a total freak about bedtime - total. freak. But, I'm proud of myself, this is the first year of The Girl's camp that I haven't gone overboard with decorating her dorm room. I just shipped her off with a comforter and some sheets. She'll survive.

Good to see a new post from you!

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