Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothering Skill Meme

Oh my goodness my first meme!

Mombie (on the side bar in the blogroll. I gotta ask Zoom to tell me how to do nice tidy links *in* posts) tagged me to talk about my awesome motherin' skills. So here goes:

1. I am ridiculously FAIR. My kids never yell out "NO FAIR!", really, they don't. They will admit that they might not like my rulings all the time, but I am always fair. This is a skill I have honed with both conventional wisdom (when you share the last bit of cake he who cuts the cake lets the other choose the piece) and a lot of humour and hyperbole...its sort of like in the book Love You Forever, you know who can outdo the other on how much they love each other? Well I have running dialogues outloud in situations where I try to blow the possibilities in a situation out of the water with as much hyperbole as possible until the sane FAIR reaction makes sense to everyone involved. "There's only a bit or milk left and all three of you want a bowl of cereal for breakfast? Okay I'm going to wring out the box, QUICK Nature Girl, go get the eyedropper and I will divide this milk between three eggcups, I need tweezers, each 6 ml of milk will support 12 rice Krispies, help me count them out, each of you! I don't need to be included in this, I'm having a bagel and cream cheese, or waffles, or maybe an egg, but you will all get your sacred cow, I mean rice-milk portion!" Then of course everyone agrees to have something different for breakfast...and usually Dark Mirror gets the milk because he's the most rigid about acceptable breakfast foods - which is FAIR. This is a vitally important thing in a large family according to my oldest.

2. I am CREATIVE when it comes to "getting along" (I hate the term discipline for what really is punishment - discipline is internally motivated, it is a VIRTUE). I'm a big proponent of nonviolent communication and the ideals of "Taking Children Seriously" and the secret to it is to really respect everyone's feelings including your own, and think outside the box. I'm flexible and creative about conflict and while "SIGH, because I said so!" has indeed passed my lips it doesn't happen very often. I usually can find a solution with the kids that leaves everyone feeling heard, everyone satisfied, even me, and everyone "getting along"....I do require strong coffee and 5 minutes peace first thing in the morning to do this. Papa Pan knows this and keeps me in beans.

3. The first two skills are what my kids would pull out to say about me, this though, is my personal best - I absolutely LOVE every stage my kids go through. Even the maddening stages. I feel so blessed to be mothering these people that even the gut wrenchingly hard periods (and I won't go into the gory details of THEIR stories here) are tucked in my heart as the soul enriching experiences they are. Every milestone makes my heart swell. I will savour these sleepless nights with the Sprout because I know they won't last. I will savour the whiny stage Wild Thing is in because I already see it slipping away and it won't last. I can't pick a favorite age or stage. It seems every stage is my favorite with each kid and I think its because of the ghosts of memories attached, left by the other kids. Sprout's restless nights are tempered with now fond memories of Nature Girl's absolute need for physical contact with me whenever she slept. That intense little bundle of energy - quivering, even in sleep, who needed my calm even breathing to rest, is just a memory. She's that tall lanky girl bursting with energy now, quick to smile, quick to cry, quick to forgive, quick to love. With 17 years spanning these wonderful children I've got one in every major stage and really, none are any harder or easier than any other. It will all be over too soon anyway.

So...Monkey, Zoom, Deb and KEM - your turn - tell me three things you're good at in mothering, Zoom and Deb you have a special assignment - you need to include one skill that relates specifically to parenting adult children cause I'm always learning from you.


zoom said...

Ohhhhh...that's a tough question. Maybe I should get James to answer it. He's the expert on my parental strengths and weaknesses!

Kelly said...

Hmm. Ok. I don't think I can be as philosophical as you since my world is very concrete these days :) I'll post it on our family blog

zoom said...

I asked James, and he sent me back the sweetest email:

Hey Mom,

I think you're good at pretty much everything as a parent... it'd be a lot easier to answer if you were good at some things and bad at others :-P

You instilled some good morals in me, I was well loved, well fed, disciplined, had pets and toys, etc... Plus you're smart and down to earth, so I know I can always go to you for good advice.

You're basically the perfect parent, nobody could ask for better :)

Love ya lots,

deb said...

Ahhh, that made me want to cry...I will have to ask my kids what I do right.

One thing that I have learned from having teenagers is that you have to "choose your battles". I spent five years (ongoing, I am afraid) telling Billy to pull up his pants. He is one of those kids that wears his crotch down around his knees. His answer, every day was, "they are up". Did it affect me that his pants looked like they were about to drop to his ankles? No, so I have finally stopped asking.

I have learned to be friends with my adult chldren. I really "like" them. It used to be that you loved your kids no matter what but they weren't exactly friends. Now I can consider them friends. But no matter how old they are, you still get excited about their new achievments. Yesterday, the Lindsay invited me for Mother's Day dinner. She bought everything and organized dinner. She made the potatoes. Billy made a delicious marinade and did the steaks. Kati made a salad. I was so impressed by the quality of the meal. Also, I was so pleased that they all did their own little part.

I am rambling.......

Mud Mama said...

I love your rambling :-)

radical mama said...

I love that. I can't say that I love every stage, but I do feel so lucky to be mothering these specific children. I couldn't imagine my life another way.

monkey said...

i answered in my post from this morning and it opened up such a wonderful discussion with my mom. thanks for bringing this up :-)
it made me realize how wonderful it is to focus our energy on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. quite refreshing, actually.