When I visited Portland last winter for my Momcation, I enjoyed a conversation with a mom-to-be and mother-of-one about parenting. While they are both in the education field, I was pregnant with my fourth, which elevated me to resident “professional” status in the world of rearing children. Or, at least, birthing them.
Through the course of breakfast (which, by the way, AMAZING. Put the Screened Porch on your list of Portland musts) it became clear that I adhere to a more hands-off approach to parenting. At one point I described H-boy and his tendencies to be perfectionist and want things just so. My new friend-of-a-friend remarked, “is your husband that way? Is that where he gets it?”
Um, no, I responded. That would be me. She was a tad surprised, given our conversation, so I explained, “I work very hard at being laid back.”
I do very little in my parenting life that’s not pre-meditated. I consider the short- and long-term effects of serving ranch with our salad and I find systematic ways to rotate who sits in the front of the bathtub on a given night, though NONE of the children seem to remember who did it yester-yesterday, as Miss M would say.
This brain of mine, it does. not. stop.
I try to take it easy. When I “let things roll off my back” it’s because I’ve contorted myself into some sort of Cirque de Soliel-worthy gymnastics. I’m not naturally an emotionally limber person.
However, I do find that with some stretches I’m doing better and it’s so worth it. Far less emotional injuries. And the better I do at saying, “ah, it’s just water” or “sure, I can help you” the easier it is to parent these children.
A wise person once told me to “say yes as often as you can.” I love this. I’m trying. Because is there really a good reason why he can’t sleep with the hockey puck? Or sort the salad on her plate? Sure, convenience can get a vote – but not be a dictator.
I’ll defend my need for order until the final high school graduation – we wouldn’t eat or show up for school without it. That mom, with her menu plan for the week and the budget for the month, well she sits at the table, too. But I’m glad that she’s let Chill Mom come out to play every once in a while. I’m hoping she can make more frequent appearances – especially on snow days.