Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why Parenting Advice is Like Trying to Solve World Hunger With a Single Spoon

This blog is courtesy of Project Motherhood NYC 

I often wonder who I am, now that I am a mother.

Believe me,  if I could gaze at my navel and drink Rooibos tea in yoga pants all day I could come up with a very poetic way to explain the changes that motherhood has made in me. But instead, I have a 20-month old son who I swear drinks Red Bull when I am not looking. (How could anyone have that much energy on a strict bean and pea diet? He is a vegetarian Tasmanian devil I have decided.)

But seriously, who is this woman I see changing diapers at NASCAR speed, licking her finger to wipe a stray smear of jam from her son’s eyebrow, and giving up a girls night on the town to climb into bed by 9pm? Oh, well that’s me. And if you have young kids, I think that’s a part of you too.

My son loves the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s kind of a staple in all young children’s reading repertoire- right? His favorite page, (aside from pretending to be eating all of the fruit and junk food in the middle), is the end when the big fat caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. He squeals and tries to take the book out of my hands so he can get a REALLY good look; (i.e.- smashes his face into the crease of the book in fits of laughter).

I think that’s my favorite part of the book as well, because its my favorite part of motherhood too. We get to go from these large “with child” versions of ourselves to these almost unrecognizable sacrifice-savvy supermoms. The term supermom is so overused- but all moms have an element of the supernatural. Because the super-power to love someone more than ourselves is the greatest of all.

I will be the first to say it doesn’t come easy all the time. In fact, I constantly think I am doing something wrong when my nearly-two toddler throws a tantrum over a broken straw in the checkout line (he is obsessed over straws, who knew?) or he isn’t speaking enough words to constitute as an average kid his age. All of these standardized milestones, check-ups and timelines are enough to tire any mom out who is just trying to keep it together; who is just trying to follow her gut, and love like only she can.

When Allison asked me to guest blog for Project Motherhood, my self-help author “hat” wanted to go on.
I thought, I should compile a list of ways to discipline in love. Or maybe I should write about how to get your kid to sleep through the night, or maybe I should just be honest about how much I love watching cartoons now without having to make excuses for it. Tangled- I heart thee.
We don’t know each others landscape of life. We can’t possibly believe that all children are innately the same. They all have different gifts, different struggles, different developmental delays and excellencies. They grow at different rates, become dependent at different timelines, and emerge as little people with their own personalities just as we are still trying to figure out who we are as adults.

However, I will say this. Don’t compare. Stop reading articles on how your kid should be, and start paying attention to who he or she is. Children need fans in the stands. So when you are having a tough day or simply aren’t sure if this whole motherhood thing fits you right, just remember who you are- you are their mom.

And that is enough to make me certain that I am just who I need to be- and so are you.

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