Category Archives: Parenthood

Teacher Appreciation – and so much more

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and today, in particular, my eyes have been opened to the severe inadequacy of the title of this week.

Let’s start with the fact that I volunteered for lunch duty today so the Teachers at our school could grab a few extra quiet moments in honor of this special week.  For two-and-a-half hours I watched (and HEARD) 500+ students shuffle in and out of the cafeteria.  I opened approximately 20 juice boxes, 17 tubes of yogurt, and 6 cups of fruit – 4 of which squirted juice in my face.  I answered 6,483 questions – the majority of which were pretty random, reminded 172 to use their “walking feet,” and gave permission I-don’t-even-know-how-many-times for someone to use the bathroom.  I came home EXHAUSTED.

The kids at our school are GREAT kids… They listen really well and are quite polite – even the scary fifth graders who look like they could be in college! But as I watched them all come through that cafeteria, I realized how many different personalities and needs our teachers deal with on a DAILY basis. There are kids that need extra attention and kids that want to be left alone; kids that are funny and kids that are shy; kids you can be silly with and kids that need straight answers; kids that need a hug or a high-five or the “I mean business” stare… and our Teachers are able to dish those out… on demand… to the exact kid that needs that exact interaction.  “Teacher” ?!?!  I think not. Let’s go with “Mind-reading Personality-deciphering Super-human”. It’s a little wordy, but much more accurate.

Teacher Appreciation 1

Back to my cafeteria experience: let me point out my responsibilities included keeping the children from injuring themselves or others and trying to keep the noise level at a minimum.  My co-Lunch Duty volunteer and I decided to just focus on the first responsibility and let the noise level go a little bit.  I mean, priorities.

Our Teachers have responsibilities that BLOW MY MIND! They teach those kids to read and write and add and multiply and how to find the area/volume/circumference (which I may or may not have forgotten). They teach history and science and art and music and P.E. They teach how to stand in line and keep your hands to yourself. They teach how to cope when someone says or does something unkind. They teach that life isn’t always fair. They teach cooperation, patience, perseverance, self-control, integrity, kindness, selflessness, determination, dedication, generosity, friendship, love.  How do they prioritize those?! “Teacher” is an understatement. “Developer of Brain, Body, and Spirit” is more like it.Teacher Appreciation 3

 

Let’s also not forget that these Teachers have lives outside the school halls and classrooms.  They are spouses, parents, pet-owners, mortgage-payers, schedule-jugglers, budget-balancers, hobby-havers, and so much more. I know a good number of our Teachers are blazing through real-life challenges and curve-balls right now, but they continue to show-up for our kids. “Teacher”…. Pffft.  “Tough-as-Nails Focused Fighter”… that barely covers it, but it’s the best I could do in a pinch.

Teacher Appreciation 2

Teacher Appreciation Week, eh? Appreciation?! You know what I appreciate? When someone holds the door for me or let’s me scoot in front of them in traffic. For the Teachers… I am indebted to them, astounded by them, in awe of them, and yes, thankful for them.  For a week?! No way!  FOR. EVER. AND. EVER.

 

One afternoon of Lunch Duty has led me to announcing:

Teacher Appreciation 5

(AKA… Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, but I really really really mean it.)


Motherhood: The Half-Time Report

My daughter turned nine years old yesterday. She is my eldest child. When she was born into this world, I was born into motherhood. Now, this morning, the day after her ninth birthday, I realize she is closer to her eighteenth birthday than she is to the day she was born. With the revelation that I am, essentially, at the halfway point of my parenting career with her, it’s hard not to take a few moments and consider where I stand.

I stand a near-decade away from those interminable nights of lying awake wondering if my brand-new daughter was safely asleep in her crib down the hall. While she slumbered, I wondered if I should swaddle her tighter, use organic bath wash, or pay more attention to “tummy time”. I would gradually drift asleep with one thought remaining, “I guess I will do the best I know how.” My feet are firmly behind the war-zone lines where battles and wars were fought regarding which side of the slice of bread the jelly goes on, why sandals are not appropriate winter footwear, and why toddler hands do not belong near a stove-top. Those battles were sometimes long and drawn-out when the wee toddler showed the determination and stubbornness that had only been seen in the likes of… well, her father. My strides have taken me through emotional storms of postpartum hormones, seemingly insurmountable doubts of my parenting abilities, conflicting desires to hurry-up this tedious job and at the same time beg the clock to just SLOW DOWN FOR MINUTE OR TWO OR THREE!!! I have slipped and fallen; I have tripped and stumbled; and I have skipped and leaped and jumped a time or two. I have stepped along so many milestones cheering her on; first steps, lost teeth, two-wheel bikes, new schools, diving into pools. The moments have been photographed or recorded, but mostly the journey is imprinted on my heart.

I am here with nine years of parenting history behind and look out towards nine more years ahead. I just might have an idea about what the future holds for me. I will pace nervously in my bedroom during MORE endless nights wondering if she is safely asleep in her bed down the hall, or at a friend’s house, or in her college dorm. I will wonder if I should sign her up for more extra-curriculars, let her go to the movies with that boy, or insist that she make her bed every morning. I will try to find my sleep with the thought, “I am doing the best that I know how.” I will continue to try to find solid footing on battles over clothes and friends and school-work and tone of voice and curfews and music choices and music volume and cell phones and social media boundaries and car keys and which college to attend and so much more. I hope that while she may not look at me and see a friend, that she will also not look at me and see a foe. I hope our battles will be interspersed with peacetimes at coffee shops and practice fields and laying on her bed talking about whatever comes to her mind. I am confident that I will have to stride through tween/pre-teen/teen hormonal angst like none I have ever imagined. These next nine years will surely make me second-guess my mothering instincts and continue to have a love-hate relationship with the clock… it’s unfailing ability to neither tick faster nor slower. I nervously step up to the milestones that lie in front of me; school dances, wins and losses, driver’s license, first loves and heartbreaks, and so many more “real life” moments that will be so very important to her along the way. I hope I will know how to encourage while giving her space, letting her fall but giving her a place to land, letting her know she will always, always be my baby girl.

So here I stand, closer to embracing my daughter as a young woman than I am to snuggling her new-baby self.   I am not sure if I want to cry for days gone by or smile for adventures to come. For tonight, I will probably just sit down and do both.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…
well today’s blog is worth five doodles:Nine 4

Nine 2

Nine 3

Nine 1

Nine

Today’s quote isn’t famous, but just a reminder:

“I’m going to do the best that I know how.”
– an average mother


Military: 7 Signs You PCS’d This Summer

One month ago today we moved into our home. I’m sure there are many military families out there experiencing some of these moments right along with me….

  1. You can still spy one or two (or fifteen thousand, if you are like me) of those pesky moving stickers that never seem to EVER go away completely!
    PCS Summer 1
  2. While checking out at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (because you need stuff for your new bed, bath, and… beyond) you pause for a good ten seconds when asked what your zip code is. Zip code… right. WHERE exactly am I again?!
    PCS Summer 2
  3. The idea of going school supply shopping is entirely daunting because, didn’t we just get here?! Now I need to be organizing myself and family for a new school year?!
    PCS Summer 3
  4. Your bucket list for the summer is ten miles long. You MUST see all the new sites RIGHT NOW! Because you know, before you blink you will be looking at a new set of orders and your bucket list will still be about nine miles long.
    PCS Summer 4
  5. You assume all your neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ages, until you remember it’s a military community and it’s summer and almost everyone is new too!
    PCS Summer 5
  6. Signing your kids up for summer camps and after-school activities feels like the ultimate test of your Mom-hood. This dance studio or that one? We missed soccer try-outs but will they still allow my child to play? Where, exactly, does that swim team compete? Wait, what time does school get out anyway?!PCS Summer 6
  7. There is a sense of immense possibility with each new person you meet and each new road you travel.PCS Summer 7

To all my fellow military spouses out there who are settling in and exploring new hometowns… may this new adventure be your best! And in the words of Matsuo Basho, remember:
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”


Schooled in Parenting (By My 8-Year-Old Daughter)

classroomThis morning while I was getting ready for the day, my kids rolled into a very intense, very passionate argument. The likes of which I’m sure haven’t been seen (or heard!) since the days of old. Or maybe last week.  Of course, this argument was about, none other than, Minecraft.  From what I can gather from my unavoidable over-hearing, my 4-year old was continually pushing random buttons on his Xbox controller while my 7 and 8-year olds were trying to build something (apparently it was a very important “something” that could not be delayed by random button pushing). I will set the scene for you: To find out what I learned, click here


The Risk of Raising Independent Children

We recently moved to a very family-friendly neighborhood, which also happens to be a military housing neighborhood. This move has given us the opportunity to live in an ideal setting to take the risk of raising independent children. My kids are ages 8, 6 ¾ (it’s important to him to remember the ¾), and 4, which to me are ideal ages to risk the lessons of becoming an independent child.

My kids are learning the importance of being accountable for themselves. No one else can answer for the choices they make. This accountability is teaching them to think through their choices first, act second. They are testing their nerve and finding out how far they are willing to push themselves, whether it’s the speed they ride their bikes or how high they climb a tree. With that test of nerve I believe they will gain self-confidence as they realize they can do new things because they pushed themselves, not because Mom or Dad told them to try it. They are building a frame of reference on rights and wrongs. They are getting better acquainted with their morals and listening to their own conscience instead of Mom and Dad’s voice. Continue reading about the challenges of raising independent kiddos…


Minecraft: smelting by day, crafting by night

minecraft

Earlier this summer, while we were still living on the West Coast, a friend convinced me to download Minecraft for my kids. Since then, we’ve had an obsession in our house. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Can I play Minecraft?” I would be… many nickels richer. I could probably buy my very own crafting table, in real life! My son admitted the other day that sometimes when he looks outside everything looks like squares to him. On occasion I hear “Stampy’s” voice in my head when the kids aren’t even watching him. Friends don’t let friends download Minecraft.

That’s probably a little harsh. In fact, Minecraft afforded my husband and I sanity during our cross-country drive from California to Rhode Island. We were, in fact, that family. The two bigger kids each had a new Kindle Fire, and the littlest had our old iPad (decorated with dinosaur stickers to make it seem fancy and cool even though it wasn’t new). Our Odyssey was decked out with an extension cord, a multi-media plug-in thing that has a WHOLE BUNCH of outlets…. And…. the piece de resistance… a Hot Spot. Boom. The kids were set. More Minecraft goodness here…


Motherhood: Happy Mother’s Day to the many different mothers out there

Infant Grasping Mother's FingerHappy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there! Happy Mother’s Day to all the soon-to-be Mommies and waiting-to-be Mommies and new Mommies and veteran Mommies. Today is a day of flowers and breakfasts in bed and long, uninterrupted showers. Today is also a day of tears and heartache and arms that long to hold another. On a day with such a variety of emotions, here are my wishes for each of you…

For the mothers-waiting-to-be, I wish you a day filled with hope and faith. May today’s celebration not be a constant reminder for the family you are hoping and waiting to build. I hope you will see the impact you have had on so many others in your life – a niece or nephew, a neighborhood child, a friend – where you have filled the role of mother… comforter, caretaker, encourager, rock. I will not pretend that today is an easy day for you as you wait and wonder what the future holds for you. But I do hope you are able to see all the ways you have already begun your motherhood journey and have made a difference in the lives around you. May your next Mother’s Day see your arms filled with your very own Little One… and if that is not the case, I pray your heart will be filled with love, faith, and hope beyond your wildest dreams.

For the soon-to-be mothers, I wish you a day of long naps and a chance to put your swollen feet up.  You are undoubtedly filled with excitement and anxiety for all that is to come in the next few months.  I hope today you will be filled with confidence in your abilities to be Mom.  I wish you calm and peace and joy about the life that is growing inside you.  I wish you calm and peace and joy about the many different kinds of bottles, pacifiers, baby swings, blankets, diapers, formula, etc. May you realize that the only thing you really need is a heart full of love for your baby and your best intentions… and a carseat, so you can bring Baby home.  I wish you find a few moments today to realize what a gift and privilege it is to have a chance to sculpt and nurture a brand new human being.  More Mother’s Day wishes…


Motherhood: A Chapter at a Time

ChaptersMotherhood is hard.  We joke about it, we moan about it, we (I) write about it, we sometimes can’t get over it.  The fact that motherhood is messier, stickier, and smellier than you ever imagined is no hidden secret.  We have all heard or told stories about spit-up on clothes, boogers wiped on walls, trips to the ER, milkshakes dumped in laps, diapers removed during nap time, carpooling to activities, chaperoning field trips, and so much more.  Those moments are tough.  They can beat us down until we are searching the house for a clean white rag to wave in surrender.  But maybe those aren’t really the hardest moments of motherhood.  Maybe the hardest moments are camouflaged as our most triumphant; the moments we eagerly anticipate and countdown the days for, until at the last moment we realize the chapter is closing and we can not – will not – be able to open it again.

I spent so many moments throughout the night feeding my little ones.  The house was quiet, my body was exhausted, but my little one and me awake and sharing a quiet moment.  I knew I would be tired in the morning and maybe begrudge this little alarm clock that I snuggle in my arms for the missed moments of sleep. I would complain and tell my husband how many times I was up throughout the night.  I would wish for a full night’s sleep and  wonder if I would ever feel well-rested again.  And then… after months of waiting, I woke up a full 8 hours after I fell asleep.  My little one no longer needed to eat in the middle of the night and no longer needed to snuggle into my arms while we both drifted between sleep and wakefulness.  Just a few weeks later I realized that the little one not only had grown past our night feedings but also my body had grown past nourishing my little one.  The secret quiet moments we had shared came to a quick end.  My little one had tickled me under my arm during a nursing session, he had cooed me to sleep, he had smiled the sweetest smile for my eyes only in the middle of the night. We spent so much time so closely wrapped into each other that distinguishing where one of us ended and the other began was nearly impossible.  The moment came when I realized that this chapter was finished for us.  The moment was a triumph for my sleepy self but so hard for my mommy-self.

Then the little ones grew and became “slightly-bigger” little ones.  We would play together and work together.  I would sing the ABC’s under my breath while I cleaned up magnetic letters off the kitchen floor only to realize there were no “slightly-bigger” little ones around to hear this lesson of literacy.   I would count in English and count in Spanish. I would sing songs about cleaning up and not biting our friends.  I would make sticker charts to encourage good behavior choices and try to use my kind words at all times.  I would be in full teacher mode and many times feel like I was more in I-want-to-poke-my-eyeballs-out-if-I-have-to-repeat-myself-one-more-time mode.  Life as mommy to a pre-schooler is hard.  My patience stretched and my nerves frayed. I worked hard to teach the little ones smart things and kind things, but all the while I wondered if my brain would ever function in grown-up mode again.  And then… after weeks of registrations, doctor check-ups, and school supply shopping, I walked out of his Kindergarten classroom and knew while my days of teaching him will never truly end, the days of me being his teacher were finished.  Another adult will help shape him, his mind and his character.  He would not look only to me for answers to his many questions, for encouragement when he doubts himself, for guidance on how to handle a difficult situation with his friends.  His world was expanding and my role in it was shrinking.  The moment came when I realized yet another chapter was finished for us.  The moment was a triumph for my college-educated self, but it was oh-so-hard for my mommy self.

Motherhood is hard.  The beginnings and the middles of each phase and each chapter have their challenges.  My “slightly-bigger” little ones have only grown into “quite-bigger” little ones… but still, they are little ones… so I haven’t had too many chapters to close behind us and for that I am grateful.  During the messy, sticky, and smelly days that seem to be one long chapter with a very dry, rather pointless, and completely redundant storyline that I would prefer to skim through and get it over with… I will know deep down that the end of the chapter won’t be easy either. Maybe, just maybe, if I remind myself that the triumphant end of each chapter will most likely come before I am truly ready for it, I will be able to slow down and appreciate each chapter for what it is…. another piece of my little ones’ great and unique stories.


Motherhood: It Is What It Is

IMG_6425

Baby #2. Sometimes motherhood turns our lives (and our expectations) upside-down.

At some point after having my first baby, I felt a heavy pressure to be the perfect super-mom.  I’m not entirely sure where the pressure came from, perhaps because many of my friends were first-time moms and we were all aiming for our too-high expectations of what stay-at-home motherhood meant.  The strive for perfection may have been exacerbated by the ability of fellow moms to post photos of the adorable kids, happy families, perfectly healthy lunches, and perfectly groomed selves on Facebook.  Surely, the never-ending pins of perfection on Pinterest cemented these expectations.  Regardless of where, why, and how this expectation came to be, I was definitely suckered into the unrealistic black hole of Supermom.

I busted out my label maker and bought cute baskets to maintain Pinterest-worthy closets; I dressed my daughter in cute outfits that coordinated with her blanket (and pacifier – oh yes I did); I did my best to actually get a shower and put on normal-people clothes.  I put on a smile and tried to “enjoy every minute” knowing that my little girl would be “grown before I knew it!”  Meanwhile, I had a nagging thought in the back of my head… how in the world am I going to keep this up for the rest of my life?!  Surely, this was how life as a new mom was supposed to look, right? Right?! Lucky for me, I got a valid excuse to let it go.

When my daughter was six months old, I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, and in the ensuing weeks of exhaustion, nausea, and moodiness I decided that Supermom I was not and Supermom I no longer wanted to be.  I just needed to keep my baby girl alive, my soon-to-be baby healthy, and me at least a little sane.  No more striving for some ideal that I thought I “should” be.  I’m not a Supermom; it is what it is.  If someone didn’t like that, well, it had nothing to do with anyone else.

Now, approximately seven years later, we (moms in general) have swung to the opposite extreme of expectations.  I have recently come across several blogs shouting the importance of “I’m messy and you should be too!” All of a sudden (or maybe it’s been a gradual shift and I’m just more aware of it now) there seems to be a push to strive for a chaotic, messy, and slightly disgruntled attitude about motherhood. While letting go of the desire to present our lives as similar to Pottery Barn Kids perfection as possible, there seems to be pressure to now participate in the “My Life is More of a Hot Mess Than Yours” competition.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love love love the idea of mothers having the freedom to be genuine.  To embrace who we are as women, mothers, and wives… the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful… is the best thing we can do for ourselves and each other.  I love the acceptance of the messy side of motherhood as I definitely land on the chaotic side of the motherhood spectrum.  The problem I do have with this pendulum swing from perfection to hot mess, is the judgments that seem to be attached to both extremes.  Now that we have finally seemed to recognize and accept that not all moments of motherhood are wonderful and delightful, we have also begun to shun those mothers who do actually celebrate the moments that are “perfect.”

For example, if a crafty mom sends her child to school on Valentine’s Day with perfectly perfect valentine’s for the rest of the kids, another mom is ranting about how over-the-top it is.  If a mom chooses to prioritize a clean, tidy, and well-decorated home, she’s labeled as disingenuous and her priorities skewed.  If a mom cuts her child’s sandwich into a fun shape and makes fruit art at lunchtime, she’s deemed to be one of those moms…. “Too much time on Pinterst.”  Heaven forbid a stay-at-home mom shows up at school drop off at 8am in non-yoga pants…. most likely she will receive a few glares and strange looks from fellow moms who chose not to get dressed up for school drop-off.

So where does that leave us?!  Well, technically right now, it leaves us with me being judge-y about other moms being judge-y about other moms just doing their thing.  That’s a whole lot of judge-y.  And that’s NOT the point.

The point is….. as women and mothers…. “IT IS WHAT IT IS.”

Whether or not your house is messy, should not reflect on anyone but yourself.  If it’s tidy, great.  Cleaning is obviously important to you.  If it’s not, great.  Cleaning is obviously not your top priority. IT IS WHAT IT IS.  If you go to a friend’s house and it’s a mess, embrace it. Who cares?! The fact is, it has nothing  to do with you. If your friend’s house is tidy, embrace it.  Who cares? The fact is, it has nothing to do with you.  The same goes for the mom who has the craftiest invitations and the mom who gives the plainest store-bought ones; the mom whose child could be a model for Gap Kids and the mom whose child is wearing the same cowboy boots every single day; the mom whose house is well decorated with throw pillows and art, and the mom whose house is well decorated with toys and laundry. IT IS WHAT IT IS, and it has nothing  to do with anyone else.

Let’s stop judging…. Whether it’s the good, the bad, the ugly or the beautiful.  If you see a mom do something you think is amazing, give her a compliment instead of making a snide comment, “Ooooh, don’t you always do just the craftiest thing?! Of course you would make us all look bad!” That’s really not a compliment and there’s no good reason to make another mom feel bad for doing something great.  If you are a mom who happens to be able to do some of those extra-fancy things, I encourage you to make sure you are only doing it for your enjoyment and the enjoyment of your family… it shouldn’t be about what other people will think of you or the expectations you think they have for you.

So… if another mother isn’t quite living up to your standards (whether they are high or low), try to remember… IT IS WHAT IT IS and it has nothing to do with you.


We All Need A Little Mama Love (From Ourselves)

Love (Two red hearts)

I had intended to write this post nearly two weeks ago.  I typed the title into the title line and saved the draft so I would remember what I wanted to write about.   So a few weeks ago, I thought I wanted to write about how us moms out there in the MotherHood need to take care of ourselves and cut ourselves some slack. We need to enjoy a little break from all things Motherhood.  Interestingly enough, I needed this post, personally, two days ago. However, the actual message I ended up with was pretty much the opposite message I had originally intended to write.    

To start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start), I was stressed out this week.  There were a variety of factors, including but not limited to: my husband heading out-of-town for training for a handful of days (not a long time in Navy terms but long enough to throw me off a bit), the Navy moved a dear friend away (again), I heard some really tough news about a friend’s health, and I had made commitments at my kids’ school that were a little bigger than I had anticipated. Plus, I had the general stresses when trying to be a mom, wife, friend, and human being. 

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was being affected by the stress because a few days ago I was told that my son’s kindergarten teacher needed to speak to me after school.  She kindly explained that my little dude had hurt another kid in his class. (Note: when your neighbor is sitting “criss-cross applesauce” on the carpet during music, it’s not nice to try to squash his knees into the ground.  You should probably keep your hands to yourself.) “Oh. Goodness.  Well, thank you for letting me know and we will definitely talk about this more at home.” says Betsy, who now wants to cry a little bit.  After talking to my son about his choices and my expectations for his behavior in the future, I thought I had it handled and went about my day.  And then I went about my next day until about 10:30am when the phone rang.  Oh, boy.  He was at it again at school and this time had decided that pinching another child during music class would be a good idea.  This time not only was I getting a phone call from the teacher, but he had been sent to “see the Problem Solvers” (a.k.a. “the Principals’ Office”). “Oh. Goodness. Again. Hmmm. That’s not good.” says Betsy, who now has quiver chin and tingling nose.  Thankfully my little dude’s teacher is a sweet and gentle lady who may have been trained by Disney princesses in handling awkward, uncomfortable, and “tragic” motherhood moments.  I didn’t burst into tears right then and there.  

So, I had been off kilter and feeling frazzled, and then in my over-dramatic mind anyway, I was failing my son.  Because, of course, it’s all my fault if he does something wrong, right?! Well, when I’m stressed out that’s pretty much the only logical answer.  It must be because I haven’t taught him empathy enough (I read an article somewhere that empathy  was the most telling sign that your child would be a contributing member of society, so now I have a mean kid who will become a bully and that will lead him to juvenile delinquency…. he’s pretty much straight on the road to prison) and I haven’t given him enough attention during the last week while his Dad (his buddy of all buddies) was out on the aircraft carrier (risking his life by landing a big giant airplane on a small bouncing boat in the middle of a big deep ocean for the sake of our country’s freedom).  Do you see how a little bit of frazzle can up my drama-meter?! Let’s keep going, because I surely didn’t stop there.  It’s my fault because I haven’t followed-through on absolutely every single warning I gave him, and I haven’t taught him self-control because sometimes I lose my patience which makes me use my “shouting voice,” and probably it’s all my fault because he’s a middle child and middle children are usually the ones that feel neglected, so “way to go”me for having a sister before him and a brother after him.  It’s all my fault.  I am the world’s worst mother. Ever. 

I pretty much sent that all in an email to my husband.  Lucky guy.  I’m sure he was thrilled to read it.  Luckily for me, I was also able to call my sister and tell her all of my frazzled thoughts too.  My husband (via email) and my sister(via phone), both of whom were apparently not frazzled, but very logical, reminded me that kids are their own persons and they make mistakes.  They test limits just to see what will happen, and sometimes test limits knowing exactly what will happen but do it anyway.  My son will cause problems and  get himself into “pinches” (pun intended).  My job is not to prevent him from making every single bad choice, but to make sure he learns from those choices.  My job is to respond to the little offenses in a way that will motivate him to make better choices when faced with the big offenses.  

In response to this potentially failing Mama moment,  I realized that while I need to maintain some “me” time, I also need to be more intentional in my Mama time.  I had totally been coasting through some of the parts of motherhood that needed a little more effort.  I had been focusing a lot of my time and energy on other people outside of my family, with good intentions but maybe to the detriment of my confidence in my ability to be the best Mama I can be.  That’s where I needed the Mama Love.  I needed to spend a day thinking about how much I love being a Mama, on the good days and on the bad days too.  

So I busted out my poster board and made a behavior sticker chart.  I put my phone away after school so I could hear more about his day and who he played with and how music class went.  We picked out books we want to read together and made sure I had one-on-one time with him every day.  Basically, I stopped being too busy, too frazzled, and too distracted to really love being a Mama.  

So bringing this all back to needing some Mama Love….  I had anticipated writing about needing Mama Love by taking the opportunity to take off our Mama hats.   But this week, I realized sometimes my Mama Love needs to come from taking off all the other hats I wear and putting that Mama hat squarely (or maybe on a jaunty little angle) on my head.  While it won’t always be easy, but because I have gained some confidence this week, I will wear that cap with neither pressure on myself to create perfect kids nor fear that they will make poor choices. I clearly know: they will not be perfect and they will make very, very poor choices (particularly during music time). 


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