|Syd in her zebra coat with her Pomeranians|
Her coming unglued usually involves me brushing her hair, to which she has adequately named "hair torture." I don't really pride myself in being a mom who makes threats that I cannot deliver on, but I have to admit the statement "we could get it cut short" has crossed my lips. Another source of contention is clothing. Her style differs oh so much from my own. She likes everything with glitter, sequence, animal prints, and tutu skirts. My mom got her a gift card to Justice for Girls for Christmas. When we went to spend it I felt like such a jerk...every other word out of my mouth must have been "no." She finally settled on a cute sweater dress, a fluffy scarf, and two Pomeranian stuffed dogs. She claims when she grows up she is having a Pomeranian as a pet. John told her she has to move out first. Ha! But seriously, I have to wonder what’s in store for us 10 years from now. I think I better buy stock in hair color because the grays are going to completely overtake me.
John and I watched Seinfeld when it was on (heck, I still DVR it and we rewatch it). There was an episode when George’s father, Frank, was trying to “keep his cool.” He decided that instead of losing his temper, he was going to speak the statement “serenity now.” The statement was supposed to deliver him from the frustration and give him peace. A friend tells George that the "serenity now" tactic of stress relief is ineffective, it simply bottles up inside until you eventually go insane. This is absolutely one of the funniest episodes of the show I have ever seen. I’ve been saying the Serenity Prayer to myself over the past couple days when Sydney is stonewalling over hair, eating breakfast, and getting dressed. This prayer does help me. I like to think I’m not as crazy as Frank Costanza, but there are moments when I am down in the trenches of motherhood, feeling I am not coming out alive; or at least not without significant damage.
I have to decide if I really have a choice in these matters. Ask myself, how important is it? In the grand scheme of life does it really matter if she pairs a black sequence, silver starred tutu with an owl-patterned shirt? Does it really matter that her earrings rarely match? Does it matter that she wears glitter shoes to Elliot's basketball practice, then attempts to participate wearing them? Definitely not! But, it does matter that she eats enough protein, remembers to bring home her homework, and doesn’t speak to me in a completely disrespectful tone. Is this what my mom means when she advises me “Kristin, you have to pick your battles”?? These are those moments, when as parents ourselves, we finally see that our own parents weren’t so “wrong.” Mom, you did SO many things right!
I flipped the pages one of my favorite books on motherhood this morning. I am packing it up to send to my sister, Emily. She’s in the toddler war zone. She’s in the mommy-stage that I was in that day 7 years ago in Target. My nephew, AJ, has meltdowns over things she cannot simply smooth over. She needs support, other moms, and comedic relief. The book I am sending her offers just that. But, at the end it had this perfect part that I could really relate to. “The awareness that life goes in stages, and that’s not such a bad thing, is priceless.” We moms (sorry dads) sacrifice so much when our kids are little. We don’t even realize it until we start to come out of it. I get normal amounts of sleep now (mostly). My kids don’t run away from me (usually). I don’t have to explain to a crying toddler why we can’t buy 10 bags of Goldfish (now it’s why Elliot can’t eat more than 3 slices of pizza at once, but at least he isn’t crying).
I still need my own timeouts sometimes and I waver between moments of being a Pinterest Mom or a Real Mom. At the end of the day though, or when I drop off the kids at school and the tense moments of 8 AM have passed, I can breathe deeply and know that this too shall pass--and again repeat the Serenity Prayer. More recently I have taken off on a run to smooth myself over. Maybe running really is a sanity saver.
So here’s to moms, whatever stage you may find yourself in. Serenity now, and not insanity later. Do one thing today that your future self will thank you for.
Thanks for reading.
|Sweet Elliot meltdown free|
|My favorite prayer|