Back to school is not just about kids getting a new backpack, and a box of crayons. On back to school day, everybody in the family is going “back” to something. A norm, a rhythm, a routine. (more…)
After a long exhausting delivery, a baby boy was placed in my arms.
I remember feeling overwhelmed, I remember shaking from exhaustion.
But my fatigue and pain faded to the background, the moment I held him for the first time.
It wasn’t just a child that was born that day, a mother was also born and a love beyond comprehension.
Something in my mind and spirit opened up and I never saw the world the same way again.
From that moment on, I wept, whenever I saw the news.
With every casualty I realized that that was someone’s baby, someone’s child.
The irony is, that at the same time that an alertness and a desire to keep my baby close was awakened in me, a will and force to stand on his own was stirred up in him.
Yes, I had brought this little boy into the world, but he wasn’t mine. Yes, mine to hold, but for a short amount of time. He was born to walk his own course and to be his own person.
To emphasize this the cord binding us together was cut.
And thus started our walk together. His, a walk of learning to take his own steps and mine, a walk of loosening grip by grip.
“Hold my hand as you cross the street.”
“You get back here, young man!”
“Yes, you can walk ahead in front of me as long as I can see you”
“You may ride your bike, but you have to stay on the curb.”
I held him, carried him, I cheered him on.
I held his hand and accompanied him, I sometimes gave him a little push when he lacked confidence.
And on many, many occasions I held him back.
“No, don’t touch that, that’s hot.”
“No, you can’t watch that, you’re too young.”
“No, you can’t go there, that’s too far.”
And now I have to let him go beyond my grasp, beyond my sight.
A part of my job is done and my role is changing.
I can no longer hold him back.
I have to let him go yet a little further.
The other day I accidentally grabbed his hand as we were crossing the street. He quickly pulled his hand away and gave me a look fit for crazy people.
My mistake, I thought, for one moment I mistook you for the little boy you once were.
My little boy is going to high school.
Can someone please hold me now?
Do you have moments that you have trouble letting your child or children go?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mirjam of the Netherlands. Mirjam also blogs at Apples and Roses.
Photo credit: kwanie. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
(You have probably scrolled up and down to see if you’re at the right place. Yes you are. Continue to read.)
Short term goals are goals that you want to achieve instantaneously. There is immediate result and you benefit directly.
Long term goals are goals that you want to achieve in the future.
It will take you a while to achieve these goals and you have to be patient and persistent to achieve your goal.
Bear with me now…This is going to make sense, I promise.
Example. You are hungry.
Short term goal: I want to eat something.
Long term goal: I want to maintain my gorgeous figure. (ahem…Just go with me on this one…)
If you focus on your short term goal, anything will do: a snickers bar, ice cream, donuts, anything.
But if you bring in the long term goal, you will need to think about how you are going to achieve your long term goal, while keeping in mind your short term goal.
In other words:
how am I going to still my hunger without ruining my fantastic figure.
Got it? Simple, right?
So, why am I talking about goals?
Because they relate to parenting.
Parenting is a job where you constantly have to remember that it is about the long term goals.
But the present is so in our face, that sometimes we forget and go with the short term goals and eventually pay the price.
Example: You’re in the supermarket with your child.
Your child is tired cranky, difficult.
But you have to do this.
We all know that this is a scenario for a possible disaster.
And we all know how easy it is, to give the child some candy or a cookie and get the job done.
(I’ve done it, you’ve done it, I’m guessing we all have.)
But what is the long term goal here?
You want to be able to do your groceries in peace and quiet.
And possibly have a great time doing it, maybe even some skipping and singing.
Too far fetched? Okay, let’s back up..
How do you achieve that long term goal?
By NOT giving the candy.
By planning and repeating rules, by making sure your child is fed and well rested,
whenever you enter the supermarket.
By praising your child for good behavior,
by making sure you build up the amount of time you spend at the supermarket.
How do you achieve that long term goal?
This is what I do all day, it is hard.
It requires an enormous amount of energy.
Sometimes I have to be patient, because I am somewhere in between the process of achieving my long term goal
and I just cannot see the end of it. Sometimes I’m tempted to go for the short term goal.
You want me to give your ten teddy bears, little blankets and little beds for the night?
And you want me to make sure they are all in the right bed with the right blanket,
and you change your mind about it every second? Sure kid. If I get to crash on the couch and you finally go to sleep after that.
Sure, I’ll do it.
But then I ask myself this question:
Do I really want to spend my evenings running around, taking care of dolls and teddy bears
and every other stuff that you seem to come up with just around bedtime?
Or do I want bedtime to be quiet and peaceful and efficient.
And I realize, that I want the latter.
So I take a deep breath, and choose the battle.
On my last nerves, desperate to choose the couch instead.
I explain to my hysterical screaming child that it is bedtime, not playing time.
She will lie down now and Mommy will go downstairs.
She screams, she cries, she stomps her feet. I go up and down the stairs four or five times.
She won’t calm down. I cuddle, but I don’t give in.
Finally she goes to sleep.
I throw myself on the couch, tired, discouraged.
“Mommy I want the big bear and the little bear and my giraffe, and…”
“You can pick two stuffed animals and then you will go to sleep. It’s sleepy time, not playtime.”
She screams. I kiss and cuddle her and walk away.
Before I reach the couch it is quiet. Really quiet.
I sneak upstairs to see what she’s doing.
She’s fast asleep with three stuffed animals..
I am well on my way to reaching my long term goal.
Does any of this sound familiar? What are your long term (parenting) goals?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in The Netherlands, Mirjam.
The picture used in this post is credited to the author.
Last month’s Atlantic Magazine featured a cover page story on the “Confidence Gap” between men and women. For a variety of reasons both biological and environmental, women drastically underestimate their own competence. This, the article tells us, is a big obstacle to women accomplishing the success they are due.
While it was interesting to me that womankind as a whole seems to value themselves more meanly than mankind, it was all the more interesting to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling anywhere from out of my depth to outright fraudulent in many situations. Apparently many other ladies in the room were likely feeling just the same.
But more than anything else, the article left me examining a gap within myself. The gap between where I feel my confidence ought to be and where is actually is. And where it is, quite frankly, is way….way behind. Let’s say…1994 behind. (more…)
Well, let’s see… so far, I have counted four.
First, there is robot mom. She is on auto pilot because she is up twenty two hours a day, doing pre-programmed tasks such as: feed baby, burp him, change his diaper, rock him to sleep for an hour. She repeats these tasks in a different order all day long.
Robot mom yawns all the time, does not shower every day, only wears PJs and looks like a zombie. Her conversations are very predictable, usually about substances coming out of the baby’s body.
Robot mom runs on batteries. They are rechargeable with anxiety. That’s why she does not fall asleep standing up; she is too busy worrying about the color of baby’s poop, or projectile vomiting. Yet again, it always comes down to something smelly firing out of that tiny little bundle.
After about six months, anxiety does not recharge the batteries anymore. Plus, the baby is exhausted as well from all the throwing up, pooping and screaming, so he starts to sleep a little. It’s time for mom number two to kick in: insecure mom.
Insecure mom deals with babies that sleep-ish up to eight year olds. She has no clue what she is doing, and is constantly reminded by her friends and family members. “You shouldn’t give him carrots at his age”, “Does she still wear diapers?”, “He is a bit small”, “How many? Only two teeth are out? That’s strange”, “Your daughter looks funny with so little hair”, “What do you mean he does not know how to read?!!” And so on. Insecure mom is at her best with her first child. By the time her second child comes along, she has learned to tell everybody to bugger off. She has realized that past the age of five, kids do go to the toilet, so who cares whether it happens at two, three or four? She has accepted that she cannot stretch her child to grow bigger, that there are no medicines to grow teeth, and that nobody wants to do hair implants on toddlers so yeah, whatever…
Insecure mom feels guilty about everything.
Guilty for the things she does wrong, like losing the plot occasionally, using TV to get a few minutes of peace, being caught saying “What the f@*&!” by her four year old, who then seems to only remember THAT word (never happened to me!!!)
Guilty for the things she does right, like punishing the kids for being rude, using a firm tone when they spit their food back in their plate, and generally for being firm but fair.
And guilty for anything in between.
After a few years of not trusting herself, insecure mom realizes that her kids are growing up to be fine, well adjusted and happy children. So she turns into cool mom!
Cool mom is going to enjoy a few years of honeymoon. The kids are big enough to understand rules and respect. They can express themselves clearly, so unless they run to you screaming, there is really no need to panic. If you don’t hear them, they are likely being mischievous, but they have learned the difference between stuff that they cannot do that are a big NO-NO (like drawing on the walls with markers) and the stuff they cannot do but, “Meh!” (like playing video games with the volume off so you won’t know). They give you priceless, magical moments where they tell you about their friends, their views on life. Nothing is more enjoyable than this complicity between you and them. They think you totally rock, although please don’t try to hug them in front of others!
Enjoy! Because this mom does not stay for long. After that, the kids become teenagers. Everything you thought you knew about them is just gone. Woosh!!! You have to start from scratch. The only part you don’t have to repeat is potty training. Other than that, you will have to deal with tantrums and other toddler-like behaviors: not sharing their phone with their siblings, refusing to eat, slamming doors, boyfriend / girlfriend issues (I am not sure about teenagers, but toddlers have a lot of boyfriend / girlfriend drama going on!). Except, you can’t put them in time out or tower over them with your grumpy voice and your look-like-you-mean-it. I mean, let’s face it, they are a foot taller than you are…
So you have to be cop-mom: lay down the laws, stick to the rules. And call for back up! Or maybe remote mom: move to a deserted island with your alien children until they become humans again. I have no clue, I am only entering phase three of my motherhood journey. That’s why phase four looks a little scary. But like with robot, anxious and cool moms, we’ll all manage when we get there. Because at the end of the day, we will try our best. And that’s the best we can do!
Do you feel like you have evolved, or reached milestones, in your parenting journey? How has it been similar or different to mine?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Nadege Nicoll. She was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. Nadege also writes a daily blog for moms who need to smile at everyday life. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her website www.nadegenicoll.com
Drawing credits to Jake Nicoll, the author’s son.
My son is eight months old and clearly utters his first word, and quickly starts to add more words into his daily speech and quickly starts to put them together to form ‘sentences’…in multiple languages! At 9 months old I start to potty train him, and he understands what I am trying to teach him.
‘This child is brilliant’, all the adults in his life agree.
My son is about a year and a half. He goes to play at a nearby kids gym which has an area to climb and slide, a Lego area, an area to jump, balls, puzzles, magnets and blocks, etc. So many fun things for a toddler to do. Most kids are so excited. They run in and start playing with all of the toys. But not my son. He walks in and stands off to the side to observe the other children and watch what they do. To understand what is expected, I suppose. Once he understands what the other kids are all doing and how he is expected to behave and play with them, he joins the fun – and he has a blast – never wanting to leave.
When he is 18 months – 3 years old he takes ‘mommy and me’ classes on subjects he enjoys, like construction, art, French, music and cooking. He is tentative and does not participate straight away. It takes some time for him to warm up and I (or my mother, who is his daytime caretaker while I am at work) have to do most of the activity for him until about 10 minutes before the end of the 40 minute classes, week after week.
He is almost 3 and has started ‘school’, a few times a week, 3 hours at a time. The teachers comment that he would rather talk with them (and his vocabulary is amazing for a 3 year old – he started talking at 8 months after all), than play with his friends. He watches his friends and directs them (tells them if they are breaking a rule, or shows them how to do something), but does not easily go and play with them. He is more like one of the teachers than one of the 2 or 3 year-olds. I also notice that he doesn’t recognize, or confuses his letters (like mixing M and W), like other 3 year-olds.
This trend continues, although he does get better at socializing. He does get better at playing with other children, but only because he mimics their actions (good or bad). He doesn’t realize when an action is” not good”, because someone else did it before him, so it must be okay.
At 4 years old he starts having tics. His pediatrician tells me it’s normal for boys, there is nothing wrong with him. I take him to an eye doctor (one of his tics involves rolling his eyes), and he does need glasses, but the opthalmologist tells me that the tics are normal. I take him to a neurologist, who tells me nothing is wrong with him. Over the years I continue to express my concerns to the pediatrician. We realize that the tics are caused when he is stressed or excited.
“Nothing wrong,” says the doctor. This is not very reassuring.
I speak to his teachers over the years who assure me he is incredibly bright. He is mature. His vocabulary and speech are well ahead of his age, yes he is still mixing up letters, but the teachers assure me that it is within a normal range. He is indeed a very special child, teacher after teacher says.
But all of the reassurances in the world do not stop me from thinking that my son is different.
I watch to see if the other kids shun him…. they don’t seem to, but he is not choosing the friends that I would like him to have. That is to say, the nicer, gentler boys. I am afraid that he may be choosing the rowdier friends because he is over compensating. He is trying to fit in.
Fast forward to this past September. He started first grade as a normal 6 year-old. He was given a reading assessment (as were all of his classmates) and no red flags. About two months into the school year his teacher noticed that he was not doing as well as she would like, so she had him assessed even further. This time there were warnings. He is having problems reading (which I had asked his teachers about previously). He starts to spend one-on-one time with the reading specialist in his school and he has been making some progress, but there is some concern. I mention to the reading specialist that personally, I believe he may be dyslexic. She agrees that he does in fact have a “reading disability” (apparently dyslexia falls under that category these days), but that she is not qualified to be able to properly diagnose him.
That conversation was a few weeks ago. I feel relieved and worried. We have to keep working the system visiting specialist after specialist until I get an actual diagnosis. I don’t want to frighten him by taking him to see these specialists, but I do want to get an understanding of what I should do. And once I get a diagnosis, what should I do with it? How can this affect the rest of his learning, his education, and ultimately his life? What if the other kids make fun of him or shun him? How is this the same child who scored in the 90th + percentile on his kindergarten entrance exam on vocabulary, conversation and comprehension? (Yes they actually administer this test in NYC.) What if we decide to move, and have to change his school…will he have the help he needs to succeed? I have so many unanswered questions, and feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start…
Does you child have a learning disability? How did you find out? How have you helped your child learn to cope?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Maman Aya and was inspired by fellow WMB contributor Sophie Walker’s post, The Book I Never Thought I would Write.
Photo credit to Lesley Show. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.