Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mind the Levies

What if the person that I am is the person I am supposed to be? What if some of my less attractive traits serve some important purpose that I haven't before considered? What if, instead of nagging myself to be more patient I embraced the burrs of impatience as an integral part of my individuality?

"Mom, why can't we be home schooled?"

This is one of those questions that shouldn't be asked of me when I'm in a rush to get through traffic and drop the girls off at school. This is one of those moments where I would trade my big toe for a universal remote that would stop the world from spinning so that I could formulate a kind, convincing answer that wouldn't scar my children.

"Because Mommy doesn't want to. I have so many other things I would rather do with my days than spend them designing lesson plans for you guys and making sure I'm teaching you all of the things I think it's important for you to learn," was my actual reply. Ouch.

"I wish we could be home-schooled because then I could be with you all day long and never have to leave you, Mommy," my five-year-old says softly. Ouch. Ouch.

Even though I know that this doesn't hold true for more than an hour at a time (she's also called me 'the Queen of Meantown' and 'the worst mommy ever'), I think she truly believes this at the moment she utters it. I'm feeling pretty guilty right now.

But what if? What if the mommy my girls are seeing right now is the one from whom they will take their cues as they grow older? What if they are learning that it's okay to make choices based on your own interests and desires as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else? What if my impatience leads me to believe I can do a large variety of different things and still be a good mother? What if I stop second-guessing myself and just accept that I am who I am right now and that is good? Not just 'good enough', but 'good.' So what if I don't exercise as much as the experts say I should? So what if the house is messy more often than I'd like it to be? So what if I occasionally blow off their gymnastics lessons so that we can go out for hot fudge sundaes to celebrate a personal victory?

I walk the dog nearly every day. I feed the kids mostly healthy food. They always have enough clean underwear. It's not always in the drawer - sometimes we pull our clean clothes out of the laundry basket in the morning. The car gets cleaned out every couple of weeks. The newspapers often sit on the driveway for a day or two before being picked up. We don't always brush our teeth before heading out the door to school. Isn't that okay?

We do laugh at least once every day. We do hug and kiss each other before bed every night, no matter how late it is. We respect each others' wish for privacy as much as possible. We try to understand that each of us has a slightly different value system and flexibility is important. None of these things is a hard and fast rule. They are more like the bumper guards at the bowling alley designed to keep kids' bowling balls from running amok. 'Just mind the levies,' Bubba says, 'and we'll be allright.'

All right.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

Bubba is vying for Husband-of-the-year, and he's got stiff competition with HT and STM!

I think if we are PERFECT mothers, we will *&^( up our kids worse, because the bar will be so high they will feel like failures when they reach motherhood. We model HUMANITY to them, and that is a great, great gift. Amen.

Deb said...

You are enough, perfectly, in every moment. What I read here is love, respect, reflection. Not only for your kids, but for yourself. They will only learn what they really feel. A mommy who focuses on what's important. Bubba is a wise man. He has a very wise wife!

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

When my daughter, at the age of 6 or 7, told me that "every" mother is a room mother but me, I was pleased to announce to her that if I joined the ranks of room mother, than the room would be overflowing with mothers and the children would have to leave. She giggled. Then I got serious with her. "Not every mother is meant to be the room mother, the only requirement I have is to love and protect you....and that I do well.

One of the best things you can give your children is the independence to be themselves...and the only way they can be themselves...is if they learn that from their mom....(in my humble opinion)

Jerri said...

You are schooling them in how to run a loving home, how to be a good mom, how to live in loving relationship.

You can't ask more of yourself. They can't ask more of life.

ammogirl said...

Wow, this is pretty inspirational! I want to hang it on my wall.

Booyah said...

You are clearly an excellent mother.

And I really must insist I get to come and hang out with your girls. And you know, meet you as well.

Also, this is Miss D's roommate. Not some frightening stranger online asking to meet your children.

Because I kind of didn't paint myself in the best light just now.

But seriously! Daycare teacher for 5 years! I'd love to babysit anytime!!

Suzy said...

The best thing you can teach them ever, is love, and you certainly have done that.

It's not just okay, it's perfect.

Love you


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