18 October 2009

Rules for sane mommies

As I was cleaning up today, I was also pondering how my standards have slipped since I was a single woman living alone. (For a very brief period before I married Rod, my friends actually teased me about being a "Marth Stewart" type!). But I also realized that my standards pretty much had to slip if I wasn't going to make myself and my family nuts!

That got me to thinking about all the ways our standards, our assumptions about 'how it ought to be', have to slip if we're to stay sane while our children are young.

There hasn't been much time for introspection lately, so in leau of anything really profound, here you go: rules for sane mommies

1) It doesn't have to look like you just cleaned, so long as it doesn't usually look like no one *ever* cleans.

2) They're going to blame you at 14 anyway, and as long as you actually *were* trying, they'll forgive you by the time they're 40, so you may as well do what you have to do without feeling guilty about 'always saying no", or insisting they eat their greens or whatever it is that gets you feeling like a bad Mommy.

3) Playing with your kids is fine, but it's important to realize that they will have many friends over their lifetimes, but only one set of parents. You can play with them if you want to, but if you don't want to, save your energy for parenting them.

4) Shouting "You're driving me crazy!" isn't a good example to set for your kids. However, if you save it for times when they really, really, *are* driving you crazy, it does send a clear message.

5) Kids don't like rules for rules sake, but they do need them. Being reminded all the time to always put their toys and shoes where they belong may not be fun and may not foster creativity or self esteem, but it does mean they will be able to find them when they want them -- and no one will break their neck walking across the floor and possibly break the toys! (And knowing whwere their shoes are may, indeed, foster self esteem.)

6) There isn't enough time to do everything, and childhood is amazingly short. You tell your kids what's important to you by what you make time for. Spend some time thinking about what you'd like them to remember, because once they've grown, there are no "do-overs". Which is more important, listening or ceaning the bathroom? A hug or being on time? reading together or an immaculate lawn? That isn't to say you shouldn't clan the house or rake leaves, but it is to say "think before you rush past your child's ouytstretched arms. Soon enough, they stop asking.


  1. I liked that. :)

    Is that a new photo of your house, with the tree with bright red leaves out front? It looks fabulous!

  2. Thanks, Valerie. :) (Not *new* exactly...just appropriate to the time of year.


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