Chris at mombie tagged me with this meme on Mother's Day and I've been thinking about it ever since. Three things I'm proud of? Hmmm. Lately, I can rattle on forever about the things I fall short on, but think of three good things, without apologies, without qualifiers? Not so much.
But I realize there probably are three good things, and I just have to look for them, value myself, in order to see them. I'm not a bad mother, or at least not as bad as I think I am when I'm feeling depleted. So here goes:
1. I am not afraid to tackle big issues. When my grandfather died in January, I did not shy away from conversations about death. When Naomi notices that our two closest neighbors are gay couples (one male couple, one female couple), I explained that a lifetime partnership does not have to be a man and a woman, that love can thrive between all kinds of people. When we stroll our neighborhood and come upon the homeless and the crazy, I explain that we can be compassionate without being doormats, we can be friendly but perfunctory, that there are places we can give to that will make a difference for the disadvantaged in our society. Religious differences? Check. The importance of voting? Check. Within the Big Picture, I excel. It's the small stuff (y'know, the stuff that matters most to children, like routine and consistency) that I fall short.
2. My kids get good nutrition. I am proud that I am not the kind of mother that hides vegetables inside junk food. My kids eat their veggies. They also eat the sour jellybeans from Trader Joes on occasion, but not until after they've had their protein. Miriam doesn't understand the process yet but she will soon enough, because Naomi will actually ask for some protein in order to procure some "sours". Better yet, she'll eat the requisite portion of healthiness without complaint. I am proud that we don't keep cookies, soda, or dessert items around the house. My kids don't expect dessert after dinner. For them, sweets are a rare treat.
3. I balance (or I think a lot about how to balance) the line between teaching my kids how to deal with our culture and protecting them from it. For example, princesses. Naomi adores princesses and by extension, brides, and anything that involves fancy dresses and simpering femininity. Because restricting her access will only trigger the dreaded forbidden fruit response, I let her have it but offer my commentary at every chance. I think there's more value in teaching navigation rather than restricting access. Because if it isn't the disney princesses, it's going to be bratz dolls or the equivalent of hannah montana. The sooner they realize that all those images offer are empty promises, the better.
I'm not going to tag anyone, but I'll tell you that it would be good for you to take some time to think about your strengths as a mother. And it would be even better if you'd write about it. Happy self-congratulating!