I knew I was eventually going to include posts about touchy subjects that I deal with as a mom and as a woman. I didn’t know that it was going to be so hard though. I started thinking about how I was going to word some situations and thought about what to leave out so as not to annoy someone or more, not to cause myself any more grief than the situation calls for. But then I thought, “I can’t do that. It wouldn’t be fair or honest.”
So I won’t mince anything but I also won’t name names or deliberately try to call someone out either. That is just not cool. Sometimes I just need to share a story so that maybe I can get some suggestions or maybe you can share your own. We all go through varying degrees of drama in our lives that affect our function as a mom or as a woman and it’s hard to change it, fix it, or just get past it. What are these things?
Well, this particular subject is pretty easy, so I won’t freak out. I don’t like it when family members or friends who have had children before me try to tell me how to raise mine. This is old school but it is still so hard. Being a new mom for the first time in my late 30′s was a disadvantage to a degree because learning the ropes is different from someone who started a family in their 20′s. When I got married I was a late bloomer in everything from marriage, children, cooking, housekeeping, you name it. I was new at everything. Family structure here in this city is pretty well established for generations. You have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncle, grandparents, great grandparents, and a smattering of cousins galore. This particular subject is a continuous, sticky, sharp thorn in my side because the fact that my children are still so young seems to give the masses the GO! to step on my toes.
Don’t freak out! I have to admit that when my son was born I was supremely overprotective and didn’t want anyone to touch him. I was horrified when someone kissed his brand new face and left lipstick marks on his clean cheeks (YUUUUUUCK!). I hated the casual way he was held, not like me, who cradled him like a fragile piece of china. I hyperventilated when another woman who wanted to carry him held him too close to her bosom so his normal, automatic instinct was to cuddle as close as possible. Groan. All new mother’s are like that. I was no different. But over time I learned that I would eventually be able to clean him up, wipe him down and disinfect him again. I couldn’t help it. He was too precious to me. I had waited too long for that little miracle for me not to worry. I tried not to worry, but I couldn’t help it. When my daughter was born, I was a little bit more tolerant, maybe because I had already been through it with my son. However, the misguided “advice” from friends and family members continue today. Everything from what to feed them, how to dress them, if I don’t give them this or that they’ll grow four horns between them and two tails. It goes on and on and on.
Don’t be a doormat! I am not opposed to accepting advice, if only that is the only thing that is given or if it is just that, advice. I mean, how many times can someone come into your house and try to take over? In the beginning I took too much advice simply because I didn’t know any better and the women in my life had several kids already so to a degree I felt they had to know something, right? I soon realized that was always never the case. I think they saw a gullible me and I was dumb enough to be too trusting. As time went on, I pulled away from all that “advice” and just did it on my own. Oh boy! The most important lesson I learned about this so far is that just because someone has kids it does not make them an authority on the subject. It only makes them an authority on their own kids, for good or bad. One example I can easily give is when I am over at someone’s house and my kids ask for something that I strictly deny but the host tells them it’s ok or gives it to them anyway. Like candy. I don’t deny them candy if they’ve eaten lunch or dinner, not before, but you know how it is with children, all they want is the candy. In front of whoever it is at the time, I stick to my guns and tell them NO! They have to eat food first. I end up looking like Mother Dearest but I don’t care (not anymore, anyway). Sound familiar?
Count to ten. This works because it is better than blowing a gasket or like me, when my cheeks would turn hot and I knew they were red as hell. I could feel my inflamed ears too but I didn’t get mad, rather, I just start to cry. I’m a big cry baby and in the beginning, perhaps, I was overly sensitive because I was a new mom. Whatever the reason, I had to learn not to retort because all that did was disturb the hierarchy and shook some people off that family tree. However, just like I mentioned in my Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr post, I had to learn to pick and chose my battles. Some of them were just right down ridiculous, I was able to tune people out in some instances, but most of the time I would just silently count to ten and later write the sordid incident in my journal when I got home. It helped most of the time and that is better than fighting all the time. I didn’t want my children as witnesses and give them material for Alexis Stewart’s next book. (Too easy!)
Stick with your maternal instincts! Speaking of books, there are no books to teach you how to raise your kids or how to be a good parent. I firmly believe in maternal instinct. When a situation comes up, some of it is trial and error but a lot of it is an innate instinct on how to perform. A mom just naturally and automatically knows what to do, so don’t be afraid. It’s like old hat to us somehow, which is why I put my foot down a lot because I know that my decisions are right for my kids, even if it doesn’t seem that way to someone else who’s had eons of experience. Who cares!
The storm will pass. The challenges will continue even when your kids are out of your control. The only thing you can really do is your best and forget what everyone else says. That is hard when you have a yack, yack, yackity, yack mouth shooting off to you what a bad mother you are and blah, blah, blah. YOU know you’re not and that is all that your babies are going to really remember because they spend 99% of the time with you so you do have control. Your influence is enormous and profound. I pray a lot too. I hope that whatever decision I make will be the right one but I can’t worry about the vultures circling above me. Oh well.
Till next time!