The only two certainties in life are death and taxes. I’ll add to that by saying that the one thing most moms are guilty of, is when they open their mouths their own mother comes out. The things they (mostly me) swore they would never say or do are the ‘crimes’ they (again, mostly me) commit on a daily basis. In case you’re wondering, YES, I too have given my son the infamous “I brought you into this world and I’ll take you out of it” speech. I don’t remember my mom ever using that one on my sisters and I so my usage of it is quite third rate.
There are plenty of self help books on the shelves and with too many resources it can be quite daunting to pick just one. The problem I have is the contradictions between the various advice you get from books. So much so that the aunthentication of motherhood for me and lots of other women stems to how we were raised as well as a few tried and tested methods we’ve seen in practice. Reading materials aside, I always thought that I’ll be an uber cool mom. In those daydreams I also envisioned cute girls with ribbons and not a hair out of place and a perfect gentleman of a son. They would have impeccable manners and speak with inside voices. My perfect kids would be bookworms and speak one language at a time with no Engli-Kaans babble in between. We would laugh and play and they would be excellent sports players with grades to match. Heck I even thought I’d be a PTA mom and have a seat on the school governing body. Reprimands would be of no concern and parenting would be plain sailing. You may think it naïve and you would be right. Thanks to father time and some seasoning of the real life variety, I have come to my senses.
Turns out that DNA and genetics have more than just family illnesses to pass on. Personality traits are of the few things I miscalculated and it comes from two sides. Double whammy. Only some of my dreams materialised and the rest have long since been revised. I’ve got three kids who each have more of my personality than I care and hoped for. Strongwilled and stubborn, to mention a couple. Though I am somewhat of a cool mom, I have more sergeant-major in me and my stripes are those silvery lines three pregnancies have left behind. FYI: If anyone ever tells you that you can tan stretch marks away, they’re lying!
My girls are two very spirited individuals. Taming their hair would be like teaching my 70+ year old gran about Twitter. A near impossible task. My son on the other hand is turning out to be the perfect gentleman but being a teen, his forgetful nature is quite trying. They happen to have good manners and when we’re in public it’s impeccable. The same could be said of me and my patience. The best place to fake it is in public. It’s not lost on me that they have learnt how to put on that facade. Thus far they excel at school and I’m an award winning mom. (Thank you Google)
Here is where the daydream ends. They don’t excel at sports. Obedience is selective. They don’t enjoy reading. (To a bookworm like me it is upsetting.) The girls cannot speak with inside voices even if I offer to pay them for it. Which I did a few times by the way. Engli-Kaans is one of the things we fight about constantly.
We all know that there is no instruction manual to raising kids and no amount of advice will ever help to get you through a lot of your sticky situations. Being a mom is not just about trading your manicures for short nails or loose hair for ponytails. I’ve seen those emails too… To me motherhood is about being flexible, adapting to your circumstances and constantly changing your game plan to stay abreast with new trends and threats. It’s about getting to know them and accepting them for who they are (with caution obviously) and unlocking the potential you see in them. They’re your responsibility but not your second chance to relive the life you didn’t live the first time around. It’s about allowing them to explore and guiding them (sometimes nudging them, by force) in the right direction.
All things considered, genetics and all, my kids and I seem to be ok. At least they’ve inherited recessive genes and most of the hubsters good qualities. They inspire me to do many things myself and I learn from them daily. Sometimes more than they learn from me because, let’s face it, I’m nothing but a child trapped in this adult body. Hopefully they don’t realise this bit of information anytime soon.
Two of the not so authentic things I usually tell (or more aptly, shout at) my kids that makes me want to hush my mom’s voice is:
– You WILL eat it and you WILL like it!
– I don’t care what the other kids are doing, you are my child and you’ll do as I say.
Try as I might I’m hooked on those two and it dates back to my own childhood. I guess it was effective enough for me to say it as naturally as breathing.
I’m no PTA mom but this year I’m going to run for a seat in the governing body. It’s a three year term and one I think I am ready for at this stage of my life. Yep, that dream hasn’t been scratched as yet. I guess you could wish me luck 😉