My ex-husband have physical joint custody of our kids. we live about 5 minutes apart, the kids never had to move schools, and it more or less works. it’s not easy, to be sure, for either he or i, but it works out pretty well for the kids. our parenting styles are vastly different, to be sure, but this way, they get to see us equally, every week.
every sunday evening, i take them over to his house, and they stay there until thursday, at which point, they ride the bus home to my house. they are with me thursday afternoon through sunday evening. no, i don’t think it’s enough, and i ache like hell every minute they are over there, but it’s the best thing for them. so, i have to force myself to not be selfish. i remind myself of the relationship i had with my dad, and i know how much i want them to have the same thing with him, no matter how much he and i can’t get along (and no, we still don’t get along).
every thursday, i leave work a little early and head over to rockstar princess’s pre-k, where i pick up little miss attitude and we head home. the last several thursdays, she’s been giving me, ahem, helpful hints, as to what good mom’s do. and by doing so, i’m guessing that i’m not falling into the good mom category, because she’s deigned it necessary to give me these hints.
so, swallowing my pride, and my laughter, i listened, very intently to her pearls of 4 1/2 year old wisdom.
a good mom:
gets Mickey D’s whenever the kids want it
never smells their breath to make sure they brushed their teeth.
likewise, never smells them to make sure they used soap in the shower (this must have been for the benefit of 12 year old brother who has soap avoidance issues)
considers chocolate to be a food group to be included at every meal.
likewise never feeds them tofu or other ‘gross’ vegetarian food.
gives hugs all the time (which, i kinda thought i did already, but i can always give more)
never opens the bedroom door to check after being told that ‘yes ma’am, the room is clean’
knows that all bed times are flexible and up for negotiation.
never gets upset and yells (which, yes, i do, but in my ‘i’m trying to rationalize with a 4 year old tone, i try to tell her that if she wouldn’t throw things at the cat, or whatever, momma wouldn’t have to yell)
that’s pretty much where her demands list ended, but it put me in mind of some other things that ‘good’ moms do:
hold your uber tough 13 year old daughter, as she cries and snots all over your favorite sweater, after her first encounter with a ‘friend’ spilling the beans about a crush.
going from doctor to doctor, and hospital to clinic, watching your kid lay there sick, holding his hand and just loving him until he’s better (yes, you, ya ya)
holding back tears as the 7 year old draws a picture of mommy and daddy holding hands, knowing full well that’ll never happen, and giving her a big hug and telling her what beautiful picture it is.
spending from 8 am to 8 pm (no, i’m not kidding) split between multiple fields and multiple teams to watch football and soccer,every saturday from august to november. with, of course, the requisite cooler of crap and tote bag from hell with crayons and Dora and gawd knows what else.
buying a king size bed, rather than tell a princess she has to sleep in her own bed.
sitting through wrestling practice. ‘nuff said. (even though i love it, they reek after practice.. hell, practice reeks)
standing up for your kids, when they have no one else to stand up for them.
being tough, when you absolutely don’t want to, just to prove a point or teach a lesson.
giving them permission to be kids, to play, to run, to be loud (when it’s appropriate).
creating memories..whether it’s family yardwork, or sci-fi movie night (LOVE it), or the smell of banana bread, or mom’s famous lentil/quinoa/split pea soup.
taking an activist’s stand on any issue that matters, especially those that are dealt with on a daily basis (autism speaks.. well, so does love)
talking to them about sex. candidly, openly and honestly. it makes me as uncomfortable as hell to hear some of the stuff the older two ask, but dammit, they are comfortable enough to ask.. i’ll answer anything.
letting the warrior be the man of the house.. even at 12, he’s such a man in my eyes.
fight with being stay home moms, or 40 hour a week moms, and both have a struggle with which one is right.
allowing the rockstar to be the rockstar, the princess to be the princess, the warrior to be the warrior, the brainiac to be the brainiac, and mini me, well, to let her be herself.
to realize that i can’t live their lives for them. this is their journey. and as hard and as painful as it can be, the joy from experiencing life can be tripled just by letting them experience it themselves. i teach them nothing by shielding them from the world.
they are fabulous children... gifted, funny, athletic and musical... they truly have received the benefit of the best parts of their father and me... they are all the things that we ever hoped we could be. they embody all the parts of me that i can’t ever seem to make work just right, and i have a feeling that their dad would say the same thing.
so, at the end of the day... this ‘good’ mom is pretty damn thankful that my kids make me look like a helluva better mom than i consider myself to be. they make my job a piece of cake.
which, by the way, was one more of rockstar’s demands.. cake, every day...
for you baby, anything..