*** Originally posted on 6/26/13***
I have a very strong parental defense system activated in my world. It is a state of the art system designed to protect me and frankly my wee ones from the infamous syndrome that threatens our very happiness. This syndrome is a very common ailment in any era…yes *The Stay at Home Mother Monotony* that all too often progresses into the more advanced disease of *Crazy Momma Rage* is alive and well in the 21st century. Thankfully though, I get to do this job in this era and I have options to protect myself and my family…from ME. The me that hears the messages of what a *good mom* is supposed to look like.
I love me some Pinterest(TM)…of course I do. I’m one of those insane crafters that used to have file folders full of ideas I.will.never.do.but.want.to.so.bad.it.hurts. So now I can do that virtually. I also feel grateful for Facebook(TM) as it replaced the mothering message boards I relied heavily on as I nursed my wee ones. You see my kids were babies when Facebook(TM) was still mostly college students and though I was a cool youth worker who had an account, no one in my peer group did so my it was not yet a part of my parental defense system.
Smart phones came onto the scene somewhere in the middle of my 7 years of navigating 3 kids through toddlerhood. When my oldest was toddling about, I used to hand him my cell phone to play with, and he loved it. Of course he couldn’t surf the web while I was distracted, but then by the time my third one came along he could find game apps on my phone before I could. The smart phone allowed me to text with adults and snap pictures in such a way that I could feel connected to the adult world even while not actually being connected in reality. And finally, no system would be complete without the power of television and in my defense measures this option has evolved as we have evolved. What started as Baby Einstein(TM) and Sesame Street(TM), grew up into a Ninjago(TM), Adventure Time,(TM) Good Luck Charlie(TM) relief system. And now there is Netflix(TM), Amazon Instant Video(TM), and YouTube(TM) options for streaming from one of the three laptops sitting on my dining room table or the iPad(TM) and 3DS(TM) in the next room.
Needless to say, I have a fully capable, top of the line, pay through the nose system to keep the peace in my house. And I am not the only home with this kind of defense system so let’s just talk frankly about a few things:
I won’t be ashamed about the truth that I implement tactics of smoke and mirrors with my children or that I rely on technology to occupy my kids when I am just fried or the day ends with y. This job is hard. This job is even harder during the summer months. Kids of working parents go on massive trips to amusement parks and have built in play dates…and I celebrate that they have great options for childcare, in fact I want to be their children it sounds like so much fun. I also honor the truth that the grass is not greener on the working parent side of the fence, just different. I am the cruise director for my family though, and I suck at that part of this job.
On day two of our summer I had to have the, “We are going to have a long summer if you beg, whine, and act ungrateful with every answer I give to every asinine request you little people come up with.” Sometimes I will say yes, sometime I will say no. Cope. And if you choose to fight with each other the referee retired, so you’re going to have to fight to the death or figure out a way to live with your siblings without school friends to buffer. Hey it’s survival of the fittest…may the odds be ever in your favor.(TM)
I am not a social coordinator, sit on the floor and play for hours, chess playing, make food from scratch kind of mother. I am a legos on my living room floor 24/7 and those are just mine that I sometimes let the kids play with too, do awesome art outside, take you through drive thru when it’s too hot to cook kind of mom. I gotta work with my strengths man and my kids need to learn how to celebrate my uniqueness in the same way I spend every day trying to celebrate theirs.
I have many friends that are better at the things I suck at and I love their presence in my life…my kids would have never known what a home cooked cherry pie tasted like if it wasn’t for Miss Julia, or would never get out of the house in the summer if it wasn’t for Mama Christine or their grandparents.
So in the spirit of working within my strengths, here is what is happening at my house this first full week of summer:
I was designing scrapbook pages for an upcoming workshop and it inspired Baby J to make her own. See, she thought she was my helper…but really it was a distraction for her that she made beautiful while I had to keep my home business nurtured.(TM)
My kids made this while I was still in bed at 8 AM. I’m a night owl, not a morning person, and my kids are still alive which is proof that they have found ways to adapt to my particular brand of crazy.(TM)
I believe my kids need education in the summer and science seems fun until you have to clean up the mess of discovery. I bought this on line for like $20 and we all spent a morning doing the activities in this kit. I am not cool enough to come up with this on my own, but I am cool enough to order fun off Amazon.(TM)
My weest one has been sick since last week and I overheard this on the tv while I was going about our day and it cracked me up! I am grateful the tv is instilling the type of emotional intelligence I desire for my kids!
I am doing my best to be my kiddos real mom, in my real life, connecting with my real kids regardless of my circumstances or what the real world shouts I *should be* doing. I am me, and I love my kids, and I love them best of all when I relax and roll with the reality of messy living. I don’t have to be all things to all people. I need to be an honest, kind, and real mom to my three sweet souls. That’s my job, no matter what culture is saying constitutes a *good* mom.
***This blog post was created while one child was watching Sweet Life of Zack and Cody(TM) on the iPad(TM), another was watching the Avengers(TM) cartoon in the living room, and the third one was with Grandma and Grandpa(TM). all is right in our world! Oh and I am too hot and tired to actually research the legality of using all of these brand names in this post so I’m adding a few extra (TM)(TM)(TM) for good measure…***