I ran into a friend in the grocery store the other day and had to speak to him because his wife’s Facebook post that particular day made me smile. She had made a post asking how to clean fart slime off of the carpet. I wasn’t sure what this meant and my imagination took me down a weird path…but I began to read the comments and realized I had no clue what they were talking about. My babies are nineteen. I am not current on what toddlers and children are into these days. I discovered that this was a slime-like product that kids play with. I learned something new and got a laugh.
My friend and his wife have several littles right now and she usually posts cute photos of the kids playing and comments of her life as a busy mom. She keeps it real. Being a mom (especially a full-time mom) is all consuming and overwhelming at times. It has been a long time since mine were small but I can still remember those days where I stayed busy all day but it looked like nothing got done. I am a list-making machine and gauge my productivity by the number of tasks I can check off my list. A mom with littles running around can wake up with the best intentions and then see five o’clock roll around and be surprised at how fast the time had passed. Just bathing, feeding and dressing a child in order to run an errand can be exhausting.
I told my friend that I enjoyed reading his wife’s posts and he made a comment about how hard his wife works at home. We then began to talk about the pressure that women put on themselves to be the perfect mom. I wrote just the other day about this in my Graduation Luncheon blog. We do stress ourselves out to be that perfect mother and wife. Sometimes we work so hard to make things perfect that we miss those ordinary things.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Every family is different and every child has different needs. We don’t all fit into the same mold and what works for one family may not work for you.
Many years ago, I ran a page-long ad in a local magazine as advertisement for my real estate business. The magazine came out about every-other month and I didn’t want it to be all about real estate so I found myself writing about whatever was on my mind. I guess it was kind-of like a blog before there was blogging. Below is one of the short articles I wrote about my son, Trevor. It was titled “My Favorite Birthday”.
My Favorite Birthday
I was going through some of my son, Trevor’s essays that he had written for Mrs. Martin’s fifth grade language arts class. The title of one of the essays was “My Favorite Birthday”. Immediately, thoughts of his past birthday parties raced through my mind: Chuck-E-Cheese, Pump It Up, Funopolis, etc. Many of these parties I had orchestrated in hopes of a memorable time for him and his twin sister, Mary. I would have themed parties where I stayed up almost all night baking cakes and decorating them myself, planning activities and crafts and stuffing goody bags. Their first birthday was a Raggedy Ann and Andy theme and we celebrated it on Memorial Day 2000 with red, white and blue. Their third party was at the Staghorn Recreational Park and I had a bug theme…Mary had a ladybug cake and Trevor a dragonfly cake (both tediously constructed by yours truly). As they got older and began to invite school friends to their parties I spent more time, energy and money to pull off the “perfect” party.
So as I read the title of Trevor’s essay, I was curious as to which of my fabulous events he deemed “The Best”. As I began to read the words, I was puzzled. He began to describe in great detail a party that I did not even recall. The year was 2007 and we had just purchased a new home and moved in. Everything was chaotic and I decided to skip the big parties and let Mary and Trevor have small, individual parties. Trevor asked to invite two friends over to spend the night. I ordered pizza, bought a cake, gave each of the boys a flashlight and some glow sticks and sent them into the back yard with a tent. This is where Trevor’s essay began…
My other two children had some friends over that evening and a flashlight hide-and-go-seek battle began. The words flowed for pages and pages about their strategies, hiding places and the taking of prisoners. It was an exciting and detailed recount of the war that was fought in my backyard that night.
My first response after reading the essay was how wonderful Trevor’s writing was. He was descriptive, detailed and wrote in such a way that you wanted to continue reading to see what would happen next. Here is a paragraph from his story:
“Charge!” I cried like a commander. Sergio looked around. All six of us ran after him like wild hogs chasing hunters. He was running toward a car full-speed. None of us were swift or cunning enough to catch him but we came from every exit so he was trapped in the middle.
With pride, I finished the story. Trevor loves to write just like I did when I was his age.
My mind then went back to all of those labor-intensive and expensive birthday parties I had thought would be on the pages of his essay. At that moment it all became clear…we, as parents, can plan and do and try to make the “perfect” memory for our kids. We can buy them presents and spend money for birthdays and holidays in an attempt to make them feel loved and happy. But letting children be children and use their own imaginations may be the formula for the most memorable times of their lives.
Sometimes, the unplanned and ordinary things can become the most wonderful memories.
Trevor taught me this.
Today, Mary and Trevor are celebrating their 19th birthday. Dylan is 24. I’ve had those mountain top experiences as a mom and those where I felt like I couldn’t climb out of a valley. I am no expert but I am a survivor. You’ll have those highs and lows as a parent, too…sometimes in the same day. Just remember that we’re all human and tomorrow is another day. Your kids are watching you daily. As they get older, they may not recall a certain vacation, remember what they got for Christmas in 2015 or what the theme to their 4th birthday party was BUT they’ll remember you by the simple, little, ordinary things you do every day. They’ll remember the love and the time you gave. They’ll remember how you could laugh at yourself when mistakes were made. They’ll remember how you treated their dad. They’ll remember how you reacted to life when things got stressful and tough.
Give them good things to remember.
Happy Birthday, Mary & Trevor! I have so enjoyed being your mom and look for many new adventures in the future!
Until next time, thank you all dear friends for stopping by!