I had just picked up the munchkin this afternoon and she was in a good mood...until. Until we got to the "big rocks." This child of mind thinks we have to answer every little thing she says. She points out the "big rocks" every.single.time. we pass them, and she expects us to answer with an "okay" or "yes, I know." And if she doesn't get an answer, she gets, ah, a little agitated.
I have started not answering her because it's irritating to have to answer her. I want her to know that just because we don't answer, doesn't mean we didn't hear her--and that she doesn't have to repeat herself fifty million times. Believe it or not, everything we say does not warrant a response.
Today, after about the thirty-eighth time she said "Mommy, big rocks" or "I said big rocks," I said as calmly as I could: Audrey, I do not have to answer you, now hush.
Then she clapped her hands and grunted at me with this little attitude she has. So I reached my hand around and popped her leg while scolding her. She's three and she talks back--I'm not looking forward to her teenage years.
She cried and whined almost the whole way home, all because I popped her leg one time and wouldn't answer her.
I had one of those comparison parenting moments. You know the ones. The ones when we compare how we parent to the parenting of those around us. The ones when we mothers compare our homes, lives, and bodies to those around us.
That woman's twin boys are screaming their heads off in the grocery store and are starting to throw things, and what does the mom do? She calmly leans down and says to them in a sweet voice, "Now now, Jimmy and Johnny. Calm down, it's okay. We don't throw things." And then she continues her shopping while the boys continue screaming.
That woman who seems to never lose her cool, never yells at her kids. Never spanks them. Her kids and her family and her life are just perfect. Peachy.
That woman who stares at me like I'm committing child abuse when I pop Audrey on the leg when she's acting up in public. Or threaten to take her to the bathroom if she doesn't behave.
That woman who is all about "love your children," "let them be free," and "oh no, spanking is something that should never be done." Spanking my child is loving her. There's a difference in letting Audrey be free and allowing her to blatantly misbehave and disregard what her daddy and I teach her. I was spanked and I turned out just fine. My mother was spanked, and she turned out just fine. Generations before my parents were spanked, and they all turned out just fine. Do I need to go on?
That woman who has five children but looks the same as she did when she was sixteen. And we look down at our three-or-four-size-larger self and sigh, wishing that we had even a fraction of that woman's beauty.
That woman who always looks so put together and whose children look perfect. All.the.time.
That woman who is amazingly happy being a stay at home mom or homeschooling her children...when you cringe at the thought of being with your children that much because you value what little sanity you have left.
That woman who makes you feel like a horrible mother because you aren't a stay-at-home-homeschooler mom. That woman who makes you feel like you love your kids less than she loves hers because you aren't.
That woman who judges you because you haven't turned your household into an all green household. *gasp* Do you know what that product that's been around for sixty-five years does to your health and home? (Please note: I am not bashing anyone who chooses to be green or gluten free or whatever else. If that's right for your family, go for it. Just don't bash me because I'm not as freaked out over things that have been just fine for generations of my family.)
Then to comparison game comes to a stop when I realize: there's nothing wrong my house or me. I am normal.
So what if my house doesn't look like it belongs on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens? Our house is lived in and it is comfortable. If my floors are littered with toys, if my kitchen doesn't stay spotless, if the laundry doesn't always get folded and put up--that's okay. We're creating a home, not a museum.
So what if someone doesn't like that I discipline my child instead of allowing her to run around like a banshee? She's my child and she will be raised right. She will be raised to know when it's okay to play, and when it's time to behave. She will be raised to know the difference in right and wrong. She will be raised to know how a lady behaves in public. She will be raised to demand respect--and give it.
So what if I don't look the same as I did before the munchkin? Would it be good for me to lose weight? Sure, it needs to be done for me to be healthy. And to feel like I'm at least somewhat pretty. But it doesn't make me less of a mother because I'm not a size four and I'm covered in stretch marks.
So what if I don't dress my daughter in homemade dresses and put bows four times larger than her head in her hair? So what if she wants to wear a tutu and cowboy boots while she plays in the dirt?
So what if I lose my cool at times and speak too harshly? So what if my first reaction sometimes is to yell instead of talk to her instead of at her? I apologize and move on. I don't need to feel guilty about being a normal parent who is trying to figure this whole thing out.
It's okay that I make mistakes. It's okay that I question my abilities as a parent--every parent does at some point. It's okay that I don't know all the answers.
Parenting isn't easy and it doesn't happen overnight. It's a lifelong learning process and I hope I never stop learning.
The day I stop learning, that's the day I stop becoming a mother.
I hope I never see that day.
Because, after all, showing this little girl how to grow up and be a strong, godly woman is what my job is. Showing her that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them is my job. Showing her that being perfect isn't what life is about is my job. Showing her that she is loved no matter what is my job.
Showing her that I, too, fail and stumble and fall is my job. It's all in how I get back up. Showing her that I, too, have fears and weaknesses is my job. Showing her that it's okay to cry is my job. Showing her that being a woman isn't about how you look, but that it's about how you carry yourself, is my job.
Showing her who God is...is my job.
May I never take my job lightly.
I am a creative, passionate introvert who is trying to push herself out of her teeny tiny box. I am a wife and mother who is just trying to find the right way to do this thing called life. God has been working on me for a long time and it's time I listen. It's time for me to be still. I write at www.girlbestill.com.