The holiday season has snuck up on us once again. Scrambling to plan, shop, wrap, bake, cook, and party with friends leaves little time for us to pause and reflect on the past year. Therefore, let us skip that part of the New Year transition and focus on other topics, such as…your awesomeness as a parent.
Rather than offer “Ten Ways to Telepathically Communicate with your Child About Sex", the objective of today’s piece is to focus on one’s awesomeness as parents/caregivers. Consider this my holiday gift to you during this sometimes stressful season, despite it being the season of Peace and Love.
Mommy Manual’s and Daddy Diaries
It is not that there are no Mommy Manuals or Daddy Diaries to assist us on our parenting journey; there are many manuals to guide parenting. You are reading one resource now, in fact. How do you choose which to read and how does one have time to read all those manuals AND have time to drink wine with friends? Priorities, right?
A friend once told me, “I have all the parenting books. I just don’t have time to read them. I want someone to just tell me what to do.” All my friends reading this are going to think I am quoting them. I am certain we have all muttered these words ourselves.
Here is where your awesomeness comes in: Merely by asking questions, talking to friends, and reading summaries in parenting book jackets, you are reaching out and gathering snippets of information to allow you to adapt the gazillion parenting suggestions into ideas that make sense for your family. Trying to parent without resources - human or otherwise - is lonely. Drinking wine with friends while bitching is a common social activity among women. A little wine with a little whine will often lead to some creative parenting suggestions.
The days of June Cleaver are history.
Your house is messy. Personally, I think it is perfectly normal to have a messy home. Your clean, but unkempt home, represents one (or two) of these scenarios:
a. You are spending time with your child in deep conversation about decision-making, future goals, values, and the state of the world.
b. You are (somewhat) mindlessly watching TV or a movie with your adolescent and mentally noting the potential conversation-starters featured in the current pop culture hit. (What? Sex without a condom!? Time for a conversation!)
c. You are relaxing and reading a book. And drinking wine. Always wine. Or beer. There’s that, too.
d. You are too dang tired after working all day, chasing kids, volunteering, or being awesome - fill in the blank with your excuse...or I mean reason.
e. Your child is scheduled to wash dishes on this particular evening but is nowhere to be seen.
f. You do not want to wash dishes right now. Plain and simple.
This is what makes you awesome: You realize the dishes are not going anywhere. They will be patiently waiting for you or another family member to wash them…later. One day, as you soak your dentures before bed and reflect upon your youthful decades as a parent, will it matter how efficient you were with the household chores? You are teaching your child that sometimes it is okay to slack off a little and just relax. Our society is so focused on doing, doing, doing to achieve some sort of perfection. Stress, anyone? Of course, if a messy house is what causes you stress, forget everything I just said and go wash your dishes while enjoying some wine.
You run your errands in work out clothes.
I totally do this. I work out early in the morning, so while I am in town I try to conserve my time and nature’s resources (i.e. save money on gas), and get things done before heading home. By lunch, or even mid-morning, I begin to realize my attire should have morphed into “real” clothes by this point in the day. But hey, I’m in work-out clothes. I have a reason to look like this. In fact, sometimes I just wear workout clothes to run errands so I do not have to shower, deal with my hair, or wear make-up. Who will know the truth? I know I am not alone in this - I see men and women wearing running gear while running errands all the time.
And to those of us who do: you are awesome. You are communicating to the world that you value the benefits of healthy living (as you hide the package of candy bars under the quinoa in the grocery cart). You are communicating to your children that a person does not have to be dressed in the best clothes or wear lots of make-up to feel good about themselves. Their self-worth and self-esteem are based on who they are as a person, how they treat others, and their values. Naturally, our children do not need make-up and the best clothes - they inherited their good looks from their parents. We are awesome example-givers.
However, there is a balance. Our children do need to understand that how we present ourselves to the world is a reflection of how we view ourselves on the inside. Our children also need to be aware the workout clothes can only be used as an excuse occasionally. Presenting ourselves to the world in clean, neat clothes - and maybe with a dash of pizzazz - communicates confidence and self-respect. So, go be your awesome self in your sweats occasionally, but you have permission to splurge a little on something nice to wear. After all, it is for the kid’s sake!
Yes, you are a perfect parent - because of your imperfection.
You are not a perfect parent, which is what makes you perfect. Being around someone who exudes perfectionism is incredibly intimidating. Besides, I have a little secret: There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, mom, dad, caregiver, child, teacher, human. In fact, it is peoples’ imperfections that make them perfect people. So, embrace your awesome imperfections while embracing the imperfections of others. People will want to gather around your awesome self and embrace your imperfect awesomeness.
During this season of Peace and Love, what I wish for each and every parent is to be able to let go of the craziness of the season and actually feel the peace and love we try to exude.
You are awesome. You reach out to others to support and be supported while raising your children. You understand that sometimes a messy house is a sign of a lived-in and loved-in home. You understand that sometimes, if you want to get stuff done, you just gotta get it done - no matter what you are wearing. You understand you are beautiful because of who you are on in inside - but deserve to splurge a little to beauty-up the outside, too. Finally, you understand that your kids are not perfect. Okay, neither are adults. Take time to sit back, block your view of dirty dishes, cuddle up and enjoy a fun Christmas/Holiday movie with your children while in your comfy leggings, and enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or cup of hot cocoa. With marshmallows. In other words, enjoy the magic of the season and pass that magic on to your kids.
THE MAGIC WILL BE AWESOMELY PERFECT.