I’m a firm believer in the old adage of ‘older and wiser.’
As a mommy, this term is now multi fold as I learn it applies to me personally, how I parent, as well as how my children grow and adapt. It’s actually fun to watch as they ‘get’ what you have told them for years. Why we clean under our beds (slippers found). Why we must go to school (knowledge is power). Why we don’t eat candy in excess (tummy ache). The list goes on.
Most recently I came to reflect on how much I have evolved in my now nine years of motherhood. As Sunday night snuck up on me one recent weekend, I revisited my two day ‘To Do’ list. Truthfully, little had been done. Vacuuming … nope. Grocery store ... nope. Laundry ... just barely.
The ‘new’ mommy, the ‘nine years ago’ mommy ... would have easily stayed up until midnight multi-tasking once the kids were asleep to complete as much of that list as possible.
Pintrest in my early years of motherhood would have been a dream come true. Creating just the perfect party invitations in the wee hours or searching for endless hours for the perfect picture hanging ideas.
Before you start penning letters, please understand I believe there is something for everyone and for me this is not it. It is hard, however, coming to terms and realizing in a ‘things’ obsessed society that you really and truly don’t care. ‘Perfection’ (really ... it’s the image) is one that so many strive for that at first, this confession can be a bit intimidating.
What I learned however is that once I ‘came clean,’ said it out loud ... the flood gates opened. Friends nodding in agreement, sharing the same sentiments, marveling at the commitment and drive of the others obtaining ‘perfection.’
The best part was when I realized that as I ‘relaxed’ so too did my children. Things break, accidents happen and yes, mud gets on the carpet but again, it’s just stuff. It takes some retraining to help your children realize that when you say ‘It’s okay’ your words are genuine. The word ‘but’ cannot follow those two words, the moment they do it negates everything which came before it.
Admittedly I have not gone completely off the deep end. I’m still not okay with writing on furniture, wiping our hands on walls or stepping on our clothes as they lay on the floor. Respect of things still holds a place. Honoring things more than one another, now that is a whole different topic.
So, as I looked at that very incomplete list I shared it with a friend via text message. The friend shared some things he had come to ‘let go of’ via hiring help to clean the house and handle laundry. An option, no doubt just not one I have yet to succumb to. As I viewed the incomplete list I came to the following realization.
My children were clean, fed and healthy. During the course of those two days they had attended a Harvest Party, as well as a local Pumpkin Patch and took in a fun family night with dinner at a friend’s house. The bills I did not get around to auto paying until Sunday night, they posted at the same time they would have if I had done them Saturday afternoon (on Monday morning).
The grocery store was open on Monday and there was plenty of food to get them breakfast and a sensible lunch. Were there a ton of choices? No.
Honestly, as my son sat down to breakfast that morning the question was indeed asked. “What are our breakfast choices?” To this I replied in complete honesty, “There aren’t any,” I said. “Today, it’s waffles. We live a big life and with a big life sometimes we run thin on ‘choices.’”
In turn, my son cocked his head and stated, “Then waffles it is.”
Life will never be perfect. So, I choose to see this way of parenting as a way to prepare my children for real life. Someday they will be in college and grateful to find a stale piece of bread in the fridge to make toast with. If they’re lucky they’ll have some jelly to scrape on it.
This builds character. Strong character breeds independent thinkers, which ultimately blossom into leaders.
Imperfection is the recipe to building leaders. Unconventional perhaps, but for ours and mine it is indeed what seems to be working.
Teresa Hammond is a former reporter and current circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.