Becoming a Better Mom

Thursday, January 4, 2018

There are several types of categories when I think of moms. And most of them have to do with the moms of television. You have the 1950s mom with June Cleaver. The put together mom who vacuumed in pearls and heels. She made sure her boys, husband and sons, were served a nutritious breakfast and an equally nutritious lunch served up in a brown paper bag. She had a snack waiting when the boys came home from school. She was loving and nurturing. But, she never raised her voice or disciplined. She left that to Ward. June was a classy mom.

Then you had Carol Brady from the 1970s. Carol was a stay at home mom to a bunch of kids who worked along side her Nanny Alice. Together, they served up breakfast that seemed to be a little more realistic. Usually bowls of cereal or toast and juice. But like June, they provided each kid with a brown paper bag lunch that I'm sure consisted of a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and possibly a cookie. I mean Alice cooked all the time. Carol was understanding, loving, and nurturing. But unlike June, she would discipline. She would also defer to Mike, but she didn't necessarily wait until dad came home. That was a change in parenting right before our eyes.

The 1980s brought you Clair Huxtable. A no nonsense mom who was also a high powered career woman, something you didn't see often. She was sassy, tough when needed, wasn't afraid to get angry, but always supportive of her kids. She held the kids responsible which hadn't been seen in previous decades. Mom did it all before that. Or at least she appeared to. Clair created a different footprint in the television mom category.

For the 1990s, I didn't watch as much TV as I did in previous decades. I was in college, and then out on my own, and time was limited for TV viewing. And, the shows I tended to watch no longer featured moms. Sure, you had Cindy Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210, a Midwest mom just trying to make her way in the wealthy new zip code. But you didn't see many moms on shows like Sex and the City and FRIENDS. Monica's mom made an appearance from the time to time, and who can't relate to Judy Gellar? One very relatable mom comes to mind and that's Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond. A frazzled mom who is running after kids all day, lives in a house that's constantly in a state of clutter, deals with in-laws who are ever present (something I can't relate to), and simply tries to raise her kids as best she can. I think everyone can relate to that on some level.

So where am I going with all of this, you ask. Well, over the long winter break, I found that I struggle with motherhood. I'm a mom that apparently moms from day to day and it's not consistent. I mother based on my mood, McKinley's mood, the weather, and so many other factors. I lose my cool. I raise my voice. I smother him with kisses. I snuggle him to death. I smother him to death. I discipline when needed and sometimes I let it slide. When I'm in a bad mood, I'm not super understanding. When I'm frustrated because the house is a mess, or because McKinley's playing in the middle of the floor and I trip over something, I get mad. I start to grumble. And instead of taking a deep breath, or leaving the room to take a minute to calm down, I find that I harbor that moment and stay frustrated most of the day. Not a very great trait. And I'm aware of it. And I fear that McKinley is too. But, when all of this goes down, I find McKinley is his same playing spot, without a care in the world, so maybe he just figures my behavior is normal. Is it?

I'm not a great mom. I can admit that, but I don't like that either. I wish I was more patient. I wish I didn't get frustrated so easily. I wish I didn't lose my cool when I do. I wish that McKinley and I wouldn't argue, but when you are raising someone who is pretty much your personality equal, it's hard! I get angered that he won't compromise, but maybe I should. I get so frustrated when he simply refuses to do something I ask, which can set the tone for either my mood or my day. But it doesn't seem to impact him. Unless when I raise my voice in true anger, and then he runs to his room and cries it out in his bed. I should caveat that by saying, he cries for less than a minute, and then he's back in his original spot playing. Or chatting with me about some random subject he dreamed up in his head. Is that normal? Is that his way of dealing with the situation? By trying to change the mood? And it works. I will immediately be back to my "normal" self, listening to him talk and chiming when I can. And regretting the fact that we had to have that moment to begin with.

I've already declared my New Years Resolution, and becoming a better mom wasn't on there, and maybe it should have been. I think deep down we all have that resolution year after year and we just don't verbalize it. But what I'm going to try and do for me might help in the better mom category. Maybe taking more time for me, and it doesn't count that he's in school for eight hours because during that time I'm cleaning, doing laundry, going to the grocery store, or helping at school, and that is definitely not me time! But, I'm hoping that a little time away in the evenings or on weekends might help. I do need to work on taking deep breaths, not huffing and puffing, to calm myself when things get heated. I need to leave the room and compose myself before just raising my voice to get my point across. And, I truly need to work on my patience because it really sucks! However, I will continue to kiss him to death, smoothing him to death, love him, nurture him, be tough when needed, discipline when needed, and spend as much quality time with him as humanly possible. And, I will try my hardest to give him a good breakfast, a fully packed lunchbox with an occasional cookie, a snack after school, and possibly wear pearls and heels while doing it all. 


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