Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All Those Other Moms

I LOVED this post from Momastery about being brave.  YES YES YES.  Paul gets nervous when he is in a new scene.  9 out of 10 times he will eventually warm up and be fine, but for those first few moments (which can seem like hours, days, years) it can feel tense.  Really tense.  In fact last week we took Paul to his first swim lesson (and by we I mean Ryan.  I am still dealing with post traumatic stress disorder from the dentist).  Frankly I just want to get to the point where I take the kids to the pool, they swim and have fun and don't drown and I read books.  Anyway, Ryan texted me the play by play that Paul had his heads in his hands crying for the first 15 minutes of swim lessons. Watching your kid cry because they are scared, nervous, anxious, blah blah is agony.  I was not even there and I could feel the anxiety all the way within the walls of our home and had to text my friend Jenn who has twin 3 year old boys and 6 year old Cameron.  She assured me Cameron went through a similar stage and it sucks but then it was over.  That's exactly what I wanted to hear.  That is sucks but then something else will come along that will suck too and the cycle continues until they finally graduate from high school, move out and you can just pretend everything is great because they are not in your face constantly or sleeping under your roof and you can self medicate with red wine.  Yes?  Of course as soon as the first 15 minutes of the lesson were over, Paul remembered he loved swimming and did great.  Ryan said he talked the whole time even when doing back float.  Super.

I've been with Paul when he is in a new situation and where he needs a second to collect his bearings and my friends have said "come on Paul give it a try, it's not big deal, you can do it, BE BRAVE." And these are my friends so they have nothing but good intentions but I can literally feel Paul coil up around me.  Getting more scared that the pressure is on, that everyone is looking at him, perhaps even feeling guilty that he is not being brave.

That is why I love that article so much.  That it validates that being brave is as simple as listening to yourself.  Maybe we should listen to ourselves.  Maybe we should feel comfortable in our own parenting choices.  It's probably fine that I don't find it necessary to put my kid in soccer at 18 months.  And I used disposable diapers. And I didn't teach sign language, and sometimes they watch too much TV.  And for some reason many toys turn into guns.  And they hate dolls even though my mom bought them a really cute doll house.  And that I put them in swim lessons for selfish reasons.  And sometimes they are scared.

The point (is there a point) is that there is so many ways to do this parenting gig.   You can feel confident in your own choices, but you can also respect the bravery of those who choose something different.  Because I am pretty sure all of us want nice kids.  Who are happy. Who use manners and want to cuddle us on the couch while they watch Paw Patrol and eat pop tarts.  And it doesn't really matter how you get there, but that you have support along the way.  And red wine.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I literally was the girl at the top of the cliff terrified to jump and wondering how to get myself back down the mountain with my pride still in tact. I'm also the mom that tells my son to "be brave" when he's whimpering for me as I leave him at daycare. I have struggled with what to say to him when he is acting "like a baby" instead of a "big boy" without making him feel worse. On some level I say it because I don't want him to miss out on adventure and moments in life that I was too scared to partake in. I say it to him because I want him to take chances and to not coward all the time. But after reading your post and the Momastery post, I not only understand myself a bit more but also understand how I should rethink how I get him to calm down in scary situations. Thank you for this!


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