Did you just hear that?
It was my huge sigh of relief caused by an article by Lori Gottlieb called “How to Land Your Kid In Therapy“, which was brought to my attention this week by Naptime Writing and Brenna in her comments at Suburban Snapshots.
Gottlieb discusses, in short, how you only have to be a “good-enough” mother to raise happy, successful kids.
You see, all those lovely supportive parents who coddle their children and sacrifice everything to keep them incandescently happy their whole lives are actually screwing them up.
This gives me hope.
I have recounted many times how I feel unqualified to be a SAHM, despite that this job is a deliberate choice.
I have admitted having a hard time not looking at my kids like a couple of drunken clubbers who have invaded (and trashed) my home.
I can’t stop from laughing
at them when they walk into walls. I can’t stop refusing to tell them every scribble is a work of art. Especially when I know they are capable of not walking into walls and drawing really cool pictures.
On a daily basis, my kids point at me declaring great injustices have been served when I follow through on my threats, dole out Time-Outs and remind them that You Don’t Always Get What You Want. They are not always thrilled with me*.
* PS: The feeling is mutual.
I don’t feel much guilt over not being SuperMom, but I do worry about being so far from it. I wonder at times if working on my own goals of writing, thus calling in a babysitter or turning on a movie while I hide out in my office, is going to affect them negatively.
I know being an example of a motivated and passionate human being is important. But what if what it takes for me to succeed in making that example, is moving me too far away from that already-distant SuperMom status?
I have worried about how other moms are sweeter, more generous with their time, less cranky than I am. Are their kids going to be happier because the moms aren’t a sarcastic-humored, sleep-deprived woman who refuses to spend every waking moment enriching her children with flash cards and phonics lessons during organic snack time?
This article tells me No. They will be just fine with you, Kim.
As bad as I am at this whole homemaker business, this Staying-Home-With-The-Kids as a job situation I’m in, I’m not actually Bad.
Yes, I step back from my kids a lot.
But I am always close enough to hear them if they need my help.
Yes, I joke around about wanting to ship them off to Siberia when they are being particularly annoying, and flip them off behind their backs at times.
But I’ll cut the 1st S.O.B. who tries to mess with them.
Yes, I am honest with them when they can do better.
But I’ll work with them to get better.
Yes, I let them know I am mad at them or disappointed.
But I will let them earn my smile again.
I grew up in a crazy household and somehow came out okay. I am very resilient, I am very aware of everything around me. But it took a long time for me to learn how to be able to ask for help, to know I don’t always have to go it alone. To trust. I have met people who came from super-supportive households, people you think would have every single advantage in life. Yet, when things got tough they didn’t know how to pad their own falls or get back up without someone reaching out a hand. They lacked certain survival skills, because they were never alone during a trial. They panic when making decisions, improvements, adjustments because they weren’t left to their own devices before, told to do better before, had to prove themselves before.
I see myself who wasn’t coddled and I see those other adults who were.
Lori Gottlieb says that somewhere in the middle might be a good place to try to land my kids.
As long as I am not Bad, I don’t have to worry about trying to be better than I can be.
It would be nice to be a Great Mom, but I don’t want to cripple my kids with a saccharine life. Also? Being great is elusive for me. I’m not great at much of anything, but good? I can totally do Good Mom.
It looks like, once again, finding a balance of who I really am and how I want my kids to be, rather than trying to over-achieve for the both of us, is the right solution to parenting these days.
Which is a relief, because this being “good-enough” is kind of what I’ve been doing all along.
And so? I exhale.
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