So You’re a Mom
And, just like me, you’ve probably realized that there are things no one tells you prior to becoming a mom. It is, for better or worse, one of those things that
you have no idea what you’re getting
yourself into until you’re already in the thick of it. As I sit here typing the post, my kids are in their rooms arguing about something. Who knows what it is? This is their 30th argument since coming home from school. I’ve stopped asking questions at this point. They’ll sort out whatever it is that has them so riled up. Instead, I’ll grab myself a cup of coffee and lament over the things I wish someone had told me.
I’ll start with parenting related Facebook accounts. In theory, they’re fantastic. These accounts are filled to the brim with so many different kinds of parents. Just a glance at the comment sections and you’ll find new moms, over-opinionated moms, curious dads, experienced moms, experienced grandmothers, and so many others. It is a virtual smorgasbord of parents from all across the globe looking to either receive or give advice or, in some cases, escape from the day in, day out of parenthood.
Some of the advice doled out by some of these parents, moms and dads alike, is fantastic. There are so many who are experienced in so many different scenarios. The downside to this is that there are so many who are waiting at the ready to rip apart others for the advice being given. The way one parent suggested isn’t something another parent would suggest, so the claws come out. In a lot of cases, differences of opinions just aren’t welcome. In that type of environment, drama becomes prominent and the pages lose their appeal.
Children have absolutely no filter. Honestly, I may have known this before becoming a mom, but I don’t think it registered fully. Children are brutally honest until they aren’t. They will over-share things that they really shouldn’t and lie about silly little things that don’t matter. It is absolutely astounding. How they decide whether or not to share is beyond me.
We live in town, yet out in the country. Our home is close enough to town to be considered “in town”, but there isn’t much around us. Four other homes and lots of wide-open spaces is what you’ll find here. Last winter, we found ourselves having a bit of a mouse issue. We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, but they just wouldn’t go away. The problem lasted on into summer and we were at our wit’s end. In September, however, our neighbors found a kitten abandoned on their porch. We took her in, cleaned her up, gave her a name, and she became a member of our family. The mice, of course, vacated the premises.
During all of this, my kids would tell everyone they encountered, stranger or otherwise, that we had mice. It didn’t matter if they had known the person for five seconds or five years, they felt the need to share. When we took in the kitten, they began telling everyone that we got a cat to get rid of the mice. Things I wouldn’t share with anyone, they share with the world. The funny thing is that they tell things like this to the world but lie when I ask if they ate a piece of candy without asking.
The tattling. Oh, the tattling. Even my oldest child is guilty of this. They tell on each other over every little teeny tiny thing. Cadence, who is my youngest, will tell on her siblings if they look at her in a way that she finds offensive. Jack comes running if either of his sisters step even a toe into his bedroom. Ava loses it if the other two start messing with whatever she’s building in Minecraft. It is a never-ending battle.
After finally deciding that I’ve had enough of it, I started thinking of ways to curb the issue. When my older two children were in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, respectively, their teachers had “tattle bears” in their classrooms. Okay, one of them was actually a tattle horse. Regardless of species, though, they were one of the best ideas. The idea is that the kids would go tattle to the animal and the teacher would decide if she needed to intervene. Brilliant!
Upon remembering this idea, I decided to put it to use. My children now tattle to the cat. As they’re tattling, I listen and decide whether or not I should get involved. This tool, when used correctly, helps in so many ways. First, my kids know that I listen to them, now more than ever. They get it. I’m listening to every word they say, even if it seems like I am not. Second, based on my reaction (or lack thereof), they learn which situations warrant telling an adult and which ones do not. Third, I spend less overall time mediating minor disputes over questionable looks, toes in bedrooms, or destroyed virtual houses.
Summing Things Up
I love being a mom. This journey that I began almost nine years ago is second to none. There are so many little moments that I would not trade for anything in this world. Most moms can agree that a bad day is worth it when a tiny child bounds up to you, smiling brightly, wraps their arms around your legs, and says “I missed you, mommy.” It makes every second of every awful day dissipate, for the most part. I just wish someone had let me know, in advance, about the judgmental, catty moms. I wish they had told me that my kids would tell everything they shouldn’t tell to everyone they know and don’t know.
Being a parent, though, is, of course never black and white. There are so many books written on how to be the world’s best parent. Those books, however, forget one tiny detail. Whether child or adult, most human beings are anything but textbook. Most human beings defy all of the rules that have been set for us. Honestly, the journey wouldn’t be anywhere near as adventurous that way.