Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Day In The Life Of A Mom

I have teenagers now and people think that they don't need you any more. Nothing can be further from the truth. It can be tricky because they're teenagers. Being there for them and not appearing to be "be there for them." I've been very fortunate to not have my kids say I embarrass them or that I'm not cool. They don't say I AM cool and I'm well... cool with that.

I have a friend who is a fairly new mom and she's known me since my oldest was 6 months old. She said one day, "You don't know this, but I've watched your mothering like a hawk over the years." She said, "Something you have going for you that I don't see often is your kids like you. They like spending time with you. I want that with my child." I was surprised to hear it as I don't think I've done anything special over the years. I've just raised them as I would want to be treated as a kid. I think the fact that I like them and like spending time with them shines through.

Even when I've been at my busiest and the kids have wanted my attention if I can I stop what I'm doing to hear their little joke or watch them do a somersault. If I can't stop I make sure they know that they are a top priority just sometimes a cake needs to get in the oven before one can stop. I'd tell them "my hands are busy... just give me a second."

I think sometimes adults have children before they're ready for that type of time sucking activity. And yes kids are time suckers... but in a very good way. When I had my kids my plan was to spend the next 20 years devoted to enjoying motherhood. Some say you need to spend some time on you, but if you really think about it I am being pretty selfish in enjoying every minute of my kids lives.

I had a fairly good childhood. I had a loving mom and a strict yet loving father. A good amount of toys and a bike that my dad kept up to date with all the latest gizmos. (not necessarily a cool thing.) They weren't particularly physically loving. I do remember a hug and kiss here and there, but not nearly as many as I would have liked. I don't even remember cuddling. I felt uncomfortable asking for a hug and kiss or reaching out to hold a hand. They were raised you cut the ties as early as possible with your children. Make your kids self reliant.

So, when I moved out as a young adult I decided that every time I saw them or left them I'd kiss and hug them. I thought who would reject a kiss and hug. Not my parents. My mom was totally in to it. My dad would get a "Oh oh OK she's going to kiss and hug me" look on his face. It wasn't long before he was totally in to it too. I knew I had something going when a few years later my brother was coming back from a 6 month deployment on the USS Enterprise. My mother and I ran up and kissed and hugged him. My dad stepped up and my brother held out his hand for a handshake. My dad reached over for a handshake, but instead he pulled my brother in for an embrace. I teared up.

I strive for self-reliance in my children too, but I don't feel it is mutually exclusive from being a loving family. For my kids I wanted them to feel like a cuddle was never out of the question. I was really lucky in that my son kissed me goodbye at his school everyday until he was a freshman in High School. Each year I thought he'd quit as the other children had done. When he quit I didn't say a word I knew he was growing up. BUT at home he seldom misses a hug and/or kiss before he goes to bed. He's nearly 17 and he'll still sit next to me on the couch and throw my arm around his shoulders or lay his head in my lap while we watch a movie. He's even been known to sit on my lap and just about squish me. I just soak it in. I know he'll be off on his own in the very near future.

My daughter is another story. She's been glued to me since birth. I am not exaggerating. She's nearly 14 and she was just holding hands with me at the mall. I kept thinking what if a friend sees her holding her mom's hand. I finally said it out loud. She said, "I don't care you're my mom." I enjoyed every minute of it. She still lays all over me when were watching a movie and I do have to finally give her some guidelines on a cuddle and a smother. I say now and then "Don't smother your mother!" She thinks it's funny, but will back off... a little.

I have an antique telephone in my house that works and is hooked up to the house phone system. A contractor years ago saw it and asked, "Is that the world's oldest phone?" I laughed and then he asked if he could call his wife on it. He says, "Hi honey, I'm calling you from the world's oldest phone!" A few weeks ago my kids were in the dining room doing their homework and I was in the back of the house. My cell phone rings and it's the home phone calling it. I thought that's weird! I answer. My son says, "Hi mom just thought I'd call you from the world's oldest phone. Luv ya. OK bye." I hung up and felt properly hugged.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

What wonderful kids you have raised Lynne. My daughter is the same way. At 25 she still needs the occasional hug and/or cuddle.

It is great that you have been a role model for your friend. What a great compliment she gave you. One thing I have noticed is, you can tell when parents value their kids as people. Those are the parents who have amazing kids.

Keep up the good work.