Thursday, June 24, 2010

Go ahead and LAUGH!

In an ideal world our children would be perfect. They would never say embarrassing things to Dad's boss on the phone, they would behave perfectly, and they wouldn't dream of being selfish, throwing tantrums, or picking on their sibling.

However, I have to state, in MY family, those inopportune times often have led to some of the BEST memories. From my Uncle Steve who refused to eat broccoli as a child because his knee was sore to the AWFULLY fated 27 hour driving trip of my new step-sister and I in the car that after her picking on me for 24 hours almost straight led to me whining to my mother (at 14 and completely intentionally) "MOM, she's breathing my air!" these are the moments that cause gales of laughter at family reunions and are also some of the best ice breakers in my repertoire of meeting new people.

So why do we, as parents, get so caught up in these moments of frustration? If we were casually observing another family we would have great difficulty trying to keep a straight face and, at times, not to bust out laughing. Why do we let these pure gems of amusement drive us crazy?

About 6 weeks ago I re-read the old maxim "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone." and thought about how that could apply more in my OWN life. My brand of craziness in my household is unique (as are all of ours!) but between post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury in my spouse and a son who is exceptionally bright as well as exceedingly precocious there are MANY moments I would like to tear my hair out.

(Fortunately, I have lovely long dark strawberry blonde locks (from Lady Clairol) that I'm just not willing to sacrifice to their insanity so I am not - quite yet - bald.)

So I thought - just MAYBE I could try to laugh about the things I'm going to laugh about later anyway NOW. I could try it. I could make an attempt to find the amusement when my son comes back from playing with a friend covered in mud while I'm on a road trip. I could find a smile when my husband forgets to pick up the groceries and give him a hug and let him know that it's okay. I can laugh when the puppy decides to dig ANOTHER hole in my yard and consider planting flowers in it.

I can LAUGH about it NOW. (okay - maybe not out loud when it's a discipline issue - but I can laugh inside and bust a gut later when I can get to somewhere else.)

Guess what happened? I'm a LOT less crazy as a Mom. Here's a small list of VERY real side effects that have occurred due to this new maxim:

I'm a much better Mom - because the small stuff that really doesn't matter, doesn't matter!

My blood pressure went down - nope - not joking - my blood pressure went from borderline hypertension to normal - in 4 weeks - no diet change except...)

I binge eat a LOT less. (which since I have mastered this better has led to an 8 pound weight loss - in under 4 weeks)

We get to do MUCH more fun stuff as a family because I'm seizing moments that passed us by before because I was so wrapped up in "stuff".

Bottom line - think about it - give it a TRY. Another mom and I were talking about this last night and it was breaking a barrier for her with something she's really struggled with (and the reason I decided to write this post). It's the cheapest parenting advice EVER - it doesn't even require duct tape! :) lol If someone had told me 7 weeks ago that for FREE and a little brain power I could do this and have these kinds of results on my life I would have laughed and told them to go get a life!!!! I would have laughed at their suggestion but not had the courage to laugh at myself, my family, and the very things that make us unique and interesting.

And if you have the courage to try this rather odd parenting method, let me know how it works!! (seriously - I'd REALLY like to know!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Welcome to Strings of Motherhood

As I travel this path of the next decade of my life I noticed there is a common thread.

I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. A child of God, a rebel, a woman.

I have noticed that lately, I seem to be surrounded by strings. Two months ago I started making aprons. Recently I purchased my first personally owned tight lace corset. The intricacies of my life are similar to that of a marionette maker - pull this string, give that one some slack - the giant balancing act of being a homemaker - everything to everyone.

The Mom who just happens to be at home so of course she can run 3 fundraisers in 2 weeks. The Wife who is of course available so she can do the last minute shopping for the children's gift bags for the company picnic. The Daughter who if obviously available for phone calls of tears or joy at any given time. The Friend who's shoulder will catch tears at midnight because, of course, she doesn't have a job to get up to in the morning...

...Save the child that is sick, the house that needs to be cleaned, the laundry that needs to be done. The husband who needs to be nurtured and loved, the math problem solver who needs an extra push, the friend who's husband is threatening to leave who needs a shoulder to cry on. The volunteer work that needs to be done, the dog that needs a walk, and the science experiment that just blew up in the kitchen.

Full time job? Funny - I don't consider it one. Maybe that's because at the end of a day at work in a full time job, you get to go somewhere else. The boss generally doesn't call you at all hours. You're seldom on call 24/7/365. If I were a paid employee somewhere I'd get time and a half when I had to come in after hours to take care of my ill "Jr. Employer". If I were a paid employee my mileage would be reimbursed for the errands I had to run for the bosses. If I were a paid employee...

If I were a paid employee I wouldn't be allowed to show up at work in my pajamas. I wouldn't be able to send my boss to his room when he misbehaved. I certainly couldn't make "the big boss" sleep on the couch.

I'd miss so much. The "Thank you so much for doing that for me. You're the best wife in the world."'s. The "Uh....Moooommmmm....(kaboom rattle rattle boom)"'s. The "Mom!!! I did it!!!!"'s.

Would this be worth giving up one second? Not a chance. I'll keep my corset strings and my apron strings. I'm the only one who can make this marionette do her dance...

...and dance I shall.