Thursday, March 12, 2009

Finding Joy

Recently Facebook has become part of my life... ok a big part! HA! I tried out My Space and never really got the hang of it and never really got into using it much but Facebook is much easier and enjoyable. There seems to be a common thread among moms... "what if I screw up my kid?"

Ok moms... let me let you in a little secret...most likely if you are worried about screwing up your kid you aren't likely the type really capable of screwing up your kid!! It's the ones that are "perfect parents" that are doing alot of the screwing up their kids!

One friend is worried about how to make her son understand that $400 for an activity that he now thinks he might not want to do is ALOT of money. If she were a bad parent she would just pat little Johnny on the head and say "no worries you can quit whatever you want whenever you want with no consequences to anyone" or on the other end of that she could punch him in the mouth and drag him kicking and screaming to the activity and sit there to make sure he did it and enjoyed it! Instead she's trying to remain calm and discuss it with him, trying to find ways to make him understand how much money $400 is for most people. Oh and the guilt! She feels guilty because he has a sibling with special needs and their family life can be much harder than the average family. He's a great kid and she wants to give him everything and feels terrible that he has many more burdens than most teenagers. I bet he doesn't consider his life hard, he loves his sister and he's never had a different sister so this is just his life which it appears he loves alot.

We moms do this to ourselves... our kids are not coming up with ways to make us feel guilty but we are capable of inflicting massive amounts of guilt on ourselves. My 4 yr old still has a binky, my 2 year still has a bottle, my kids don't bathe every night, I let my kids watch too much tv, eat too much sugar... the list goes on! Now lets take a deep breath.... there that's much better isn't it?

I found out a long time ago that kids are resilient...a little dirt doesn't hurt them, staying up too late now and again doesn't make them into sleep deprived, dark under eye circled waifs, eating too much junk usually teaches them that it's a bad idea (ever clean up after a kid that had too much birthday party?? ) and too much tv and computer doesn't melt their brains!

Now let me tell you what DOES screw up your kid... not respecting your kid as a person... as a HUMAN BEING. Children are not miniature adults and should not be treated as such but they are not subordinate beings either. They are human beings with personalities, passions, dislikes, dreams, ideas, and all sorts of other things. They deserve to be considered...not put "first" above all others but to be equally considered in a family.

If I run my family by only considering my own desires I am likely to have an unhappy family. Should my vegetarian child have to eat meat because I do? Should she just make do with whatever she can find that doesn't have meat in it? Her being a vegetarian can sometimes complicate meal times but would I really be doing my job as her mother if I didn't take into consideration her nutritional needs? I have kids with various different sensory issues so for them to be content and thriving certain things have to go on. Itchy clothing can't be purchased (and sometimes odd things are itchy!), strong smells have to be handled right away, loud noises are avoided and there are just some places we can't go. Does this change my life or make it less enjoyable? The places they can't handle I find another way to go if I chose, I send the other kids those places with another family or my hubby and divide and conquer by splitting up and going separate ways.

In our family each person has a vote... a say in how things are done, where we go, what we do and what we buy. At the same time no one gets voted down so to speak because we try to consider all needs before we do something. I have a friend who instead of saying no to her children says "no one is available to facilitate your need". It's long been my opinion that we would all be much happier if we found more ways to say yes. I can't tell you how many times I say no for no particular reason. Saying yes has become a conscious effort on my part. So many of my no's are laziness... I don't want to clean up after something, I don't want to stop what I am doing that I think is important (Facebook IS important!) , I don't want to change my plans or a million other excuses. Finding a way to say yes makes life so much more joyful for us all. How hard is it to put your child in a place of importance? We are all selfish by nature I think so we do first consider our own desires. Sometimes making the shift to a place where we try to consider others as well can be uncomfortable (some days it makes me downright cranky!) I continue to renew my effort to find joy in my day through saying yes, considering other viewpoints and being less selfish.

For all you moms out there living in guilt... STOP IT! Spend your time loving your family, living with the dust if it means you can fingerpaint instead, saying yes to baking cookies in an already cleaned kitchen, putting a smile on the face of a family member that only asked for your time and attention. Find your joy!


Joell said...

I like FB so much better than myspace.

That guilt will kill you if you let it...or at least give you an ulcer! You've GOTTA let the guilt go!! That isn't to say I don't heap it on myself from time to time, because I do. But I try to catch it and say..."okay, you've had your moment, time to move on!!"

Another great post, Lisa.

Susan said...

are you talking about me??? LOL..

I am so enjoying reading your blog. You do this long enough you can send it all in as a book and get it published. You can call it 'notes from a Mom' or something. tee hee.