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adequate

(Wed May 4 16:28:27 2011)

I may not be the perfect mom, but I know it's coming along all right

I feel like my children watch too much TV, play too much computer, are rude, unruly and slow.

And then, thank you God for other people. I know I sound like the Pharisee in the temple right now - but thank you that I am not them.

The reason I feel guilty about our habits and ways is because I'm comparing myself too much with a probably unrealistic ideal. I am not a mennonite. I do not wear long denim skirts and dickies, and yes, I get my hair cut. I don't feel obliged to take my husband's shoes off or get him a plate of food at a buffet. My husband is a COMPUTER engineer. If computers were not a part of our lives, I don't think he could cope! The schooling I will pursue with my children will not be along the lines of growing strong boys to do hard physical labor and dainty girls who can crochet doilies and arrange flowers. That is a bit limiting to the range and scope of abilities I believe my kids to have. So, I should stop comparing myself to that when I look at what I want my family life to compare to.

I also can't compare myself to the family output of Asia as exemplified in "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" http://www.amazon.com/Battle-Hymn-Tiger-Mother-Chua/dp/1594202842/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304542231&sr=8-1 As wonderful as it would be to have kids who can play Mozart on Violin at 3, there are so many aspects of that parenting method that I couldn't do to myself, let alone my child.

We may watch tv, but my kids don't watch it daily, have strict limits, and know it is a privilege. The TV is NOT in anybody's personal room. Same thing with computer games. We will never own Wii, Xbox, PS-anything, a handheld DS, a powerwheels, or any other noise-making, brain-draining, curiosity-sapping, bored-making toy or game. I never had them. They certainly don't. We have books. The children have hundreds just in their room. I have thousands in our 19ft wide, 8ft tall bookshelves. You can't be "bored" if you have books!

I feel guilty about taking "me" time, and I need to work through that problem. I NEED to be with adult friends 3-4xweek. Sure, most of those times, the kids are with me - that's FINE! I prefer it that way, But, Crochet group and Handbells, those 2.5hrs of the week - those are just mine. I need to stop feeling guilty about those sources of energy and joy in my life that make me a better person and better mother to my kids! I feel guilty for buying clothes. I have spent $100 on clothes for myself in the last 3 months: 2 shoes, shorts, 2 blouses and a dress. I needed most of those things, because mine were tattered and torn. I bought it all on uber clearance, paying only 10-25% of retail. I still feel bleh about it.

I got my haircut at a salon. First time ever. The hairstylist took one look at me and told me what I needed to make my hair look great. Beats the snot out of the $8 lady who fits you in between smoke breaks and drags on a diet dr. pepper only to make your hair lopsided! it was $38 +gratuity. Of course, I haven't had a haircut in a year. I felt ever-so-wonderful, and look great. I still feel guilty.

I got some more underarm laser work done - at a different spa than before. I had a gift certificate for 1/3 the cost. My husband said fine. I KNOW this time it is really effective. Mostly I just feel guilty about spending money on it AGAIN because what we spent last year was essentially wasted on a shoddy job. Guilt.

I really dislike getting babysitters. I don't like paying someone to watch my kids. It feels like it takes all the joy out of going out with my husband, if I'm burning oil later trying to have enough money for the sitter! And if I get a free sitter from a friend, I feel like I HAVE to keep it very short, because "goodness of your heart" offers go sour when kids start getting cranky. Guilt.

Then, there were these moms at Gymnastics today. These are all mothers od 3 and 4 yr old boys. One had her twin daughter playing big sissy's DS. Another talked about the "night nanny" they got when their child was a baby because they couldn't give the kids 100% if they didn't have their 40 winks. Well, obviously, after you get up 3 times and walk down the hall to another room with a formula bottle, you'll be pretty wiped. It can really take it out of you. And then, if you don't have that nanny, you won't ever be able to put on your bangles and bling, your Mary Kay face, and have energy for a Mommy's Day Out luncheon with your girlfriends, a mani/pedi and 1.5hrs at the gym with a personal trainer and relaxing in the steamroom. After all that, WHERE IS THE TiME FOR YOUR KIDS???? Literally, this mom did that. She was bemoaning the end of the schoolyear and was disappointed that MDO was only 2 days a week for her son. "Really, if it were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and he were gone from 8:30-2:30, then I could really commit and give him my all on Monday and Friday." Whoop-dee-doo, lady. You can only imagine committing to your child 2 days a week?? What did you have kids for? They look cute in professional pictures?

But, they DON'T!! I was so bold as to mention how I'd just made the effort to consolidate our outings to 2 weekdays, so we could commit to more home time, outdoors time, reading and life habits. I said, "I really need those three days at home to provide some consistency for the kids." Another mother replied, "I could NEVER be home with the kids 3 days a week! One is enough! I get the laundry done and pick up and then we have to get out or I'll go nuts." But your kids have no structure. You drive them around to playdates while they watch DVDs from the back of your citified SUV and they play DS every breathing moment. Do you ever TALK to them? READ to them? PLAY with them? Go for WALKS with them? snuggle, tickle, make silly noises? Oh, right, you can't. You have to get your hair set before their little league game.

I don't have an "end of a school year" to bemoan, and I never will. That's ok.

We told a friend that we were envious of his lucky situation. His parent, his wife's parents and his child's godparents all live in town. There's always a sitter anxious to take him. There's always a fun overnight to be had. We mentioned that the longest I have personally been away from my children was for 8hours, when I went to a Charlotte Mason homeschool conference in town. Now, my husband has been on the occassional business trip for a few days. But just he and I together? In the 3.5yrs since having kids, we have been away from them together for no more than 4 hours at a pop. We have never had a night alone, because we co-sleep. I don't say all that to complain. Just to contrast.

We have been thinking that sometime around our youngest son's 2nd birthday, we ought to have a weekend away, just us.

I'm not fickle, shallow, wasteful, self-obsessed, petty, or vain. Sometimes, I wish I were those things, in a distant, half-real kind of way. But then my 3yr runs up to me when he leaves gymnastics and slowly reads by hinself the card they gave the kids for their moms "'haappy Modder's Day. I Wuv you.' Ha! I wuv you, Mama." I glance around. None of the other kids even cared, could read, or even hugged their moms. Then, I don't wish it at all, and I can't feel guilty.

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This blag is tagged: Guilt, Parenting, Selfish, All