Tuesday, April 08, 2008
On Being a Mom
This morning I am rushing around to get my own stuff done so I can get Max an appointment to see the doctor. Yesterday he took a spill on his skateboard and may a fracture to his heel. OUCH!! I returned home yesterday to find him with the frozen bag of peas, which we keep plenty around due to their excellent ability as ice packs, and he had propped it up on the coffee table. Yep, there was a good size bulge and it became increasingly difficult for him to bear weight on that foot. So, called him off school today and now the rush to get in the doctors office begins. But, as I say, better some other body part than the teeth!!
That, along with the stores already pushing Mothers Day cards, along with current news about "bad moms" not raising their kids in what are considered correct ways, giving your kids candy as a bribe or letting them watch cartoons as a babysitter and so on. Has given me reason to think about and contemplate my own experiences and qualifications as a mom. Or lack thereof!
I started out this adventure as someone, who in their twenties, never wanted kids. I was not one of those people who spent time pondering the joys of parenting or dreamed about marriage and children. That was not in any part of my mind or vocabulary! Then, lo and behold, one day closer to thirty I found myself pregnant. Not totally unplanned, but certainly an interesting prospect. The whole 9 months and birth were all just a blur that lead to the moment, before leaving the hospital, when I said to my own mom, " After I get home, what do I do then?" She laughed and said, "You take care of him." And so I did.
Now, we zip ahead to the present day where Max is now 17. This August he will be 18 and both he and I are quite excited about his first year to vote. The idea of his last year of high school is very odd. It seems as if this kid has always been in either day care or school. I have no idea what I am going to do with myself when I am not contemplating scheduling, packing lunches or shopping for "school clothes". Where will he go to school next? Where will he live? Who will reach those wine glasses on the top shelf for me?
My plans were to put cloth diapers on this kid, make all my own baby food. This kid was never going to eat hot dogs or macaroni and cheese! Well, since he often ate clumps of dirt, and I managed to get over that, the other stuff sort of fell by the wayside too. Not to mention the bribery that would take place as one was preparing to enter the grocery store. The best day of both of our lives was when my favorite grocery store added a day care center!! He used to cry when he had to LEAVE the grocery store!! I can not tell you how many times I got all the way home to discover that I was still wearing one of their pagers.
There were those times that I am sure that some people, maybe those that write the books on "perfect parenting" would say that I did things that were less than stellar in my child rearing practices. Like running in the house for a moment as he played outdoors, letting him sit in the bathtub for a second as I ran and grabbed an extra towel in the hall closet or letting the VCR play "babysitter" as I had my coffee and tried to wake up on an EARLY Saturday morning and was not quite up to early morning chatter with a 4 year old. Did all of that make me a bad mom or make him a problematic child? In my mind I think not. Like they say, all the best laid plans will often go awry. You do the best that you can at the time. Learning not to beat yourself up along the way. As long as what you do is not causing great harm, then I think that you are ahead int he game. It was only as he got older, and I grew more comfortable in my role, that I also began to see that I was in good company. All the other working moms were doing the same things as me and hell, I ever learned a thing or two from them. I think that is why moms need other mom friends.
The fact that he still needs me is a good feeling. Along with the Advil we looked for some old crutches last night. Put him to bed early and woke him up this AM to tell him I was calling him off school. I saw how he still needed me to care for him and offer comfort. To look at the "boo-boo" and tell him what needed to be done. Still needed me to make it "better". Although I was not kissing it like when he was four. Not the bottom of his foot that had been in a skate shoe for several hours!! The lessons learned as a mom, patience and selflessness being the top two, are and have been so important in my life. I had never anticipated how much it would impact me. As this Mothers Day approaches I would hope that we would all commend ourselves on a job "well done". Appreciate you for raising that child or those children and making it through an exceptional time, not only in your life, but in theirs as well.