OK, so you know that ice breaker game that they ALWAYS made you do at youth group events (and as a former youth leader, I have the right to make that sweeping, yet accurate, generalization) where you have to list three truths and a lie about yourself and then everyone has to guess which one was the lie? Well, I thought I would be all clever and start a little SAHM ice breaker called "Three Truths and a Lie About Parenting". I figure it could be fun, and maybe if this is as hugely popular in blog-world as it is at those youth events, we could make this a semi-regular feature.
OK, here goes.
Truth #1 about Parenting: Sometimes success looks EXACTLY like survival. I heard this brief, but profound tidbit from my #1Sis who is a former military wife with about a ba-zillion kids. At first I just didn't get what she meant, but as I have thought about her statement it has become almost a mantra for me some days. I think as moms we all have this pre-kid vision of what we will be like. Quite frankly, I had a grand idea of what I would be like as a mom. Think Maria Von Trapp (creatively teaching my brood who adore learning catchy songs) mixed with the Reading Rainbow guy (because they need to be read to 8 hours a day if they are going to be well adjusted) combined with the Lambchop puppet lady (because who doesn't like puppets?) with a sprinkle of Mr. Rogers (so they would always feel comfortable enough to talk to me). Toss in some Ginger Spice (because even post kids I would be a stylish redhead) and a dash of Jesus (ala "suffer the little children") and there you have my expectations of myself as a mom.
How's that going for me, you ask?
Here's the deal. Not everyday is a Lambchop day in my house. Sometimes we just get by. Sometimes we are crabby. Sometimes we need more sleep or someone is running a fever or the boys, who normally get along, decide today to repeatedly wallop each other while I ineffectively correct and clean at the same time. In the end, if nobody dies, bleeds, or throws up (with bleeding and throwing up being optional) we call it a good day. Because sometimes survival looks just like success.
Truth #2 about Parenting: Best advice I ever got from a book was this: Start as you mean to go on. Kids seem like wild creatures, but really they are creatures of habit. My husband and I stuck very closely to this one with our first child. But with our second, I wanted to "just this one time" do things differently than we planned. A good example - having the boys fall asleep on their own - not CIO - (don't get in my grill about that!) but sleep in their own rooms and learn to drift off alone. With my second, nursing was going so well, it was so sweet when he fell asleep nursing, oh isn't he adorable snuggled up snoozing in my arms, just a minute more of holding him while he sleeps...next thing you know, I was a total pip pacifier (As an aside, you will learn shortly that "pip" is lingo in our house for "breast". Please see "Lie #1" for more information.). Now that was a nightmare to reverse. I am not saying you can't take those moments now and again to snuggle and smooch and rock, but for me those moments obviously went well past the "21 days to make a habit" phase. So I say, start as you mean to go on.
Truth #3 about Parenting: At some point, you will have a moment similar to an out of body experience. As you hover over your own body, you will see yourself standing just how your mom used to stand with that look your mom used to give you saying words your mom used to say that you-Maria Von Trapp, Reading Rainbow, Lambchop, Mr Rogers, Spice Girl, Messiah mom- SWORE you would never say to your children. When that happens (oh, and it will happen!), simply float back down to your body and head immediately to your nearest tattoo/piercing place and pierce something your mom doesn't have pierced. It won't stop this from happening again, but at least you will feel cooler than your mom.
And now for the lie.
Lie #1 about Parenting: Teach your children the correct names for their anatomy. Two words for you here - BAD IDEA. Now I have two boys who run around singing the correct name for their...anatomy. In public. Loudly. You see, if you make up a fake name for their anatomy they can sing it at the top of their lungs at, say, the Walmart Vision Center ("tee-tee" or "zoomer" for instance) and then you have the freedom to take the parental "I can neither confirm or deny" stance on your children singing about privates.
I know this is the better way because for whatever reason my boys have concluded that "breasts" are actually called "pips". Not so embarrassing when your son asks, "Where's you pip, mommy?" at the above mentioned Vision Center. (Which by the way, the answer is "About six inches lower than it was before I nursed you for a year, dear son.")
So there you have it. Three truths and a lie about parenting.