There's a mom that waits in the lobby of the dance studio my daughter attends every week who has no problem smacking her ten year old son in the face when he misbehaves (and misbehaves is an understatement in this case). The first time I witnessed the punishment I winced. I couldn't help it. I was sitting just feet away and could feel the breeze from her hand blow my hair back before it made contact with the boy's face. *Pop* And the boy laughed. And I was mortified. By the exchange, by my own face turning red with embarrassment, and by my initial thought.... Finally.
I'm not a spanker. My husband is not a spanker because I prefer it that way, but the reality is that the thought crosses my mind more often than my fingers are willing to admit to the keyboard right now. Generally speaking, I live by the rule that I can't very well tell my daughter it's not okay to hurt others if I'm going to turn around and smack her any time she does something stupid. Anyone who has lived with a five year old knows that "something stupid" comes hourly. Unless sugar is involved- and then you can double that count.
I have learned to be content doing the fairly effective talking-through-clenched-teeth method of punishment. Add to that the eyeball squint or eyeballs popping out thing and you have yourself a variety of stupid disasters avoided or corrected. But as the number of candles in my daughter's birthday cakes increase- the efficacy of any combination of non-violent reactions I have in my arsenal decreases. That simple reality worries me.
What I started off writing was an introduction to my post about motherhood. And my small contribution to this project http://badladies.blogspot.com/2009/03/world-according-to-mom.html . And here I am blabbering about hypocrisy and eye-bulging anger. Two very prominent facets of parenthood, sure...but not how I want to declare my sentiments on motherhood as a whole.
So. What about motherhood?
1. The other day my husband brought to my attention that any time he asks me what I want to do, I immediately say what I think my five year old would answer. As if my idea of the perfect Sunday isn't sitting on the bench at the playground for an hour and then arguing with my daughter about candy at the Hannah Montana movie?
2. It's sticky hands on clean white shirts and poop smeared on stuff that couldn't even give directions to a bathroom or a changing table. A hundred bad hair days in a row for me and perfectly poised pigtails for her 365 days a year. It's saying "yes" after saying "no" eleven-trillion times just so you can complete an adult thought in your head.
3. It's giving up things like those last few semesters of college. Wild nights with single friends who don't have to be sober enough to find a way home before two. Sex in the living room whenever you want to! It's giving up travel, money, and unadulterated whimsy for million dollar smiles, backyard bubble blowing, fleeting winks of belly laughs and heavenly slices of toddler narcolepsy.
4. Motherhood is poring over news stories about missing children and then crying over the found ones. It's loving everyone's children, even the ones that make your kid look like Gandhi.
5. Motherhood is teetering on the edge of complete happiness most of the time and falling directly into it more frequently than your tired brain can recall when the woman at the grocery counter asks how you are. It's always having candy wrappers in your purse, but rarely ever candy when you really need it- and mostly- it's reveling in the unconditional love you promised yourself you'd never need when you were childless.
I'm not perfect. I have cried myself to sleep feeling guilty about something I said or did to my five year-old or even thought about doing, but held back. There are plenty of things I'll admit were mistakes I've made as a parent.
All I can say is I do my best at any given time. And it seems to be good enough for her.
Rest In Peace, Megs
17 hours ago