Thursday, June 4, 2015

I Offer No Apologies For Being a Mediocre Mom

I have my moments. My "I'm a kickass Mom" moments. I cater to my kids' every whim on their birthdays and the first day of school. I go to school parties and sometimes I even volunteer to bring stuff! I do my best to make sure Christmas is a balance of Christian celebration, childhood magic, and wonder. I try like hell not to fall asleep and forget about the ding dang tooth fairy. We go on memorable family vacations, which I document with eleventy thousand pictures.

But day to day, my approach to parenting is somewhat of a "less is more" approach. Some call it mediocrity. Whatever. I offer no apologies for it.

I will not apologize for not entertaining my children every waking minute of the day. It's called imagination. They should learn to use it on occasion.

I will not apologize for NOT taking my children to the amusement park or the zoo or the movie arcade extravaganza every time they have a day off school. We'll do these things sometimes, and they'll be a lot of fun and exciting and special when we do. But sometimes a day off is good for just that...a day OFF.

I will not apologize for occasionally "ignoring" my children while I use the computer or text on my phone. Because most of the time I will give them my undivided attention. It's better they learn that, while they are the center of MY universe, that won't be the case when they enter the great big world of "a whole bunch of other people with agendas all their own who aren't going to heed your beck and call". 

I will not apologize for expecting my children to behave like respectful human beings at home, in school, and in public. When they choose to do otherwise, there will be consequences. I will not rush to their side and blame ill behaviors on peers, teachers, or society in general. They need to learn about taking responsibility and holding oneself accountable. 

I will not apologize for not making a big production out of things my children should be doing anyway. They will be expected to turn in school assignments when they are due as well as make every effort to maintain decent grades. I will encourage them and offer every resource available to support them throughout their education. Their reward for doing these things will be a diploma. I will beam with pride at their accomplishment. When they get a job, the reward for doing said job will be a paycheck. Neither college professors nor future employers will throw a parade in their honor for simply doing what is expected. There is no sense in setting that precedent now.

I will not apologize for making my children do their own school projects. I'll willingly help where help is needed, but I've "been there and done that". And I did it by myself. There was a sense of pride when I turned in projects that were truly mine, and I want them to feel that pride, too. I've done my time at the science fair thankyouverymuch.

I will not apologize for making my children learn to "earn their keep" on occasion. A good work ethic is not going to appear out of thin air.  

I will not apologize for sometimes saying "no" to things even if we can afford them. Because that's a word they need to learn to hear on occasion. And because a lot of the time I'll say "yes". 

I will not apologize for not escorting my children back to their bed when they creep into mine in the middle of the night. I honestly don't believe that I'll look back on these days and say, "I sure do regret all those mornings I woke up to my babies' sweet sleeping faces." This phase will pass. All too soon, it will pass. (Admittedly Ryker just turned 11, but he will sometimes still sneak into my bed or fall asleep with me while watching TV.)

But most of all, I will not apologize for loving my children enough to do all of the above. While it may not work for everyone, and while I am by no means the best parent, I'm doing the best I know how and it's what works for me. It must work for my kids, too. Because I know without a doubt that they go to bed every night knowing they are loved. And that's really all that matters. 

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