I won't vent about all the injustices or how crappy my childhood was because it wasn't always bad. It's just many of the lessons my mom taught me were never intended to be lessons. I learned by watching what NOT to do. I learned how to be a mom because I didn't want my children to feel the way I did growing up. The ironic part is that I had two moms, and they both taught me things they never intended to be lessons.
The worst part is that as I struggle with my 17 year old daughter, I really wonder if I am a good mom or if I am failing miserably.
Here are some of those lessons:
- Thanks Mom for teaching me that affection is not a bad word. I hug and kiss my kids daily, and I am unapologetic about my displays of affection. I don't freak out when my son wants to run his hands through my freshly done hair or when my daughter purposefully licks my glasses. I am happy they want to be near me and want to hang and love on me. I want them to know that love is more than a word, or a gift. Love is a hug. Love is holding hands while walking out of the mall. Love is sitting so close to me on the couch that I can feel his little rhythmic breathing. I can't begin to tell how little my ration card was utilized when it came to affection growing up.
- Thanks Mom for teaching me that dedicating time to your children isn't a terrible task. I run my kids around to all sorts of activities. I run to Boy Scouts and stand in line for three hours for the latest midnight release of a game. I pick up children from work at 9:30 pm when I want to be sleeping. I pick up children from late movies and friends' houses even if I have other plans. I let them be in 10,001 things because I want them to be well-rounded adults but I also want them to have fond memories of their childhood that include all sorts of childhood shenanigans. Running them everywhere may be tedious and tiring sometimes, but its part of being a parent.
- Thanks Mom for teaching me that telling your children you never wanted kids isn't a positive way to teach self-worth. I express to my kids almost daily how important they are to me, and how they are my greatest sources of pride and joy. They know that I would lay down my life for them and wouldn't even think twice. They know that I will miss them when they are gone and enjoying their own lives. They know that I will never really be far away from them. They also know that they are my greatest accomplishments in life. I tell them because I never want them to doubt that they are my blessings and not my curse.
- Thank you Mom for teaching me that fairness is not the same as equity. I have two children, and I am fair to both in how much time I devote to them and how I treat them. However, I do know that what works for one doesn't work for the other. I know that I have to be a special parent to each child, and be who they need me to be based on their needs, not my own.
- Thank you Mom for teaching that a spotless house doesn't mean a perfect life. My house gets messy and sometimes the dishes are in the sink, and my kids aren't taking out the trash. However, we aren't obsessing about the chores, the floors or the nuances of house and home.
I know as an adult that my Moms did the best they could with what they had. I understand that completely, and I am grateful that my childhood was what it was because it helped me be a better mom so that my children would have a wonderful childhood.
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