Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Mama Club Only Has One Rule: There Are No Rules


Hi, I’m Kaitlin.

At least, I think I’m Kaitlin. I, hold on…

Okay. Hi, I’m Kaitlin.

Did I say that already? Sorry, hold on.

Okay.

Hello.

Today I was asked by a fellow mama if I had any advice on the topic of parenting.

I have three terrible and treasured sons all under the age of four.

It seems like I would have a lot to say on the subject, and, I do.

 If you know me well at all, you’ll quickly learn that I have a lot to say about practically every subject.

The more passionate I am about a subject, the more I have to say.

 It is very safe to say that I am extremely passionate about parenting.

 But. I don’t have very much to say about it at all.

I guess all that parenting has done (and perhaps all it is designed to do) is unteach me.

And at the same time, teach me.

Is that making any sense? It’s been more than an hour since my last shot of caffeine.

So, by request, here is what I know about parenting.

In no order, because I’m freaking exhausted.

Lesson #1: I was a much better parent before I had kids.

 Remember that parent you were going to be?

“Can we read another book Mom, maybe something by Chaucer?”

“Happy Meals? What’s that, Mom?”

“My kids would NEVER act like that/say that/eat that/touch that/do that. I simply wouldn’t allow it.”

Yeah, I remember her too. She died somewhere in between “I do” and coming back from Cancun with a plus sign on a stick I peed on.

Now my kids, God bless them, are stuck with me instead. And maybe, that’s a good thing.

If I’ve learned anything from having kids, it’s that I don’t know anything. And that’s okay.

 Lesson #2: “You’re special because you’re you. And there’s no one else like you!”

  Isn’t that a marvelous thing we tell our children?

And, isn’t it even MORE marvelous that we MEAN it??? Like, REALLY MEAN IT.

  So here’s a thought.

What if those children who grew up unique also had children and REMAINED unique?

That’s probable isn’t it?

  Take away: stop bashing other moms because they’re different.

Why is it that we can accept 90 different “learning styles” none better than the other, but we can only accept one “parenting style?”

 Seriously. Knock. It. The. Freak. Off.

 Look, we’re on the same team of raising responsible and caring individuals for the future of our world.

Act like it.

 Lesson #3: Saying “no” is awesome. You should do it often. Like, all the time.

  If you’re only going to do one thing with your child. ONLY ONE THING.

  Tell them “no.” Tell them to “knock it off.” Tell them and tell them and tell them.

Once time my husband got really honest and upset with our three-year-old and said, “Son, I’m only going to tell you SIX MORE TIMES, N.O.!”

  If they scream, tell them “no.” Especially when they scream.

Especially when they get that really good high-pitched-make-you-wanna-punch-the-cat scream.

Giving in may be easier right NOW. But parenting isn’t about RIGHT NOW.

Parenting is about putting up with (and society putting up with) that person you’ve created (so-help-you-Jesus) FOREVER. Like, seriously, forever.

Invest in them and give them a future by saying, NO.

Your kid can be the smartest person in the whole entire world. But, if they’re terrible to be around and entitled, they’ll be just as unemployed (and probably living in your basement) as the next man child who wouldn’t recognize a boundary if it jumped out and bit him!

Lesson #4. Babies don’t keep.

The good news? That screaming two-year-old throwing a fit over the fact that he imagined a red balloon and he wants, in fact, an imaginary BLUE BALLOON (seriously, this is my life) will grow up. Quickly. This isn’t forever.

The bad news? That screaming two-year-old throwing a fit over the fact that he imagined a red balloon and he wants, in fact, an imaginary BLUE BALLOON (LOL) will grow up. Quickly. This isn’t forever.

You have a gift. They are your legacy. They are your history.

They are yours for but a moment.

Don’t miss out. They’ll be fine without you to a certain degree.

But you will miss out on a GIFT that was given to you.

Do you really want to go to heaven and see wrapped up boxes of blessings that you were too busy climbing the corporate ladder/watching YouTube videos/playing video games/drinking with your friends/whatever to open them?

Me neither.

So, in conclusion, my advice for all you mommies out there?

Well, you’re already doing it. And, brava. Together we’re looking pretty great.

Now go find your secret stash of Oreos, and breathe it all in, sister.











 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mothers Day

What if each person was an individual in this world?

And what if each individual person started out as an individual baby?

Each child is distinct and perfect and unique in his or her own way.

Isn’t this what we desperately plead with the stars?

Then why is it such a stretch that each parent (who used to be babies by the way) is distinct and perfect and unique in his or her own way?

What if your child, with all of his weaknesses and strengths, was wonderfully and purposefully woven together in YOUR womb (with all your weaknesses and strengths) for a reason?

I am tired and sick and sick and tired of being a parent at days.

But please. Just please don’t make me waste extra effort on you.

Pick ME up, don’t set me down. Encourage me. Tell me my kids are wonderful miracles (because they’re looking like tiny dictators to me right now).

And please know. Making me, the mother of my children, smaller in your mind will not only make you no less big, but hurts ALL OF US MOTHERS.

I do not want to hear about rape culture and feminism and earning 30% less than men when you can’t even look me in the eye.

Keep your conversations about me as pillow talk in the dark.

Don’t bring them to playdates and birthday parties and organic gluten free recycle parties.

And while I’m at it, stop defining yourself off of how you are perceived .You need only answer to ONE PERCEPTION: that of the incredible gasp of air that flickers in your living room (and in your bedroom, and back into the living room) for this moment.

Being a mother is already a war. Don’t make me fight it alone.

We are TOGETHER raising the future doctors and missionaries and teachers and presidents of this world.

We are TOGETHER raising the future parents of this world.

Together.

And the fact that you and I are different? That we parent different? That we have different children?

Well, it’s because we were both once wrapped in beautiful linens and rocked back and forth under the stars and above the creaking two am hardwood floors. Different children in different arms under the same God, for different purposes: for raising different children, in our different arms.

This mothers day let's celebrate that there are different kinds of mothers for different kinds of children; of people.
We are all beautiful, like our children.
Our beauty will never fade under cutting remarks or layers of cereal crumbs.

I vow this mothers day to refuse to let the lies of social media or the playgroup bench define who I am as a mother.

I hope you'll do the same. But if you don't, out of exhaustion or sweat or tears, I hope another mother is there to pick you up.

We have so much more to give.