In the ten years I’ve been a mother, I’ve had a strange relationship with the “Mommy Wars.” At age 19. as a new mom, what other women were thinking was the last thing on my mind. I knew I was hopelessly young and unprepared, so I did what I do best…research. I borrowed every damn new parent book ever written from the library (remember those crazy things we had before Amazon?). I educated myself on everything from nursing, to episiotomies, and yes, prolapsed vaginas, which has been a recent piece of fodder for my nightmares, thanks to our very own sadist Julia Sonenshein. PLEASE do not Google this if you aren’t already familiar. You’ve been warned.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the judgement from…well everyone. I became a mom at the very beginning of the Internet’s version of the Mommy Wars. This level of self-scrutiny makes it hard for us, as moms, to sit back and appreciate everything we do right. Obviously the kids themselves do the work, but I believe that it’s the parents that do the groundwork. So here are three awesome things about my kids that I proud of myself for facilitating.
3. My kids are passionate about learning
Even as a kid, I was always eager to absorb knowledge and and excited about learning new things. I think all kids are. I’m not sure what the catalyst is that kept that natural curiosity running into adulthood, and that scared me. I used to worry and think “What if my kids don’t care?” I’m certainly not an exceptional teacher. But parenting is a funny thing. Kids learn so much through osmosis. Of course I am always trying to teach them, and I relish turning experiences into learning opportunities, but it always amazing me all the things I teach my kids without realizing it (and not just how awesome Star Wars is, though DUH, they’re right, it’s awesome).
2. My kids are kind
I’m a firm believer that you live what you learn. Bigots raise little bigots, DudeBros raise little misogynists and therefore in order to raise decent human beings, I had to be a good example. Becoming a parent made me want to be a better woman and make the world better by raising great human beings. A family member came out as gay last year, and my oldest was upset that people in this person’s neighborhood were shunning her. She watched Blackfish with me and cried for the animals. She read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and (in her own way) tried to make sense of the horrors and aftermath of war. My middle child is the first one to stand up for a kid being picked on at school. She is already a rebel rouser and has a keen sense of fair and unfair. But she’s also gentle and polite. I think she’ll make a great lawyer. My son, though still young, has a bright smile for everyone he meets. I have no doubt that he will follow in his sister’s footsteps.
1. My kids are brave
In the last few years my family has been through hell and back. My favorite aunt passed away in March of 2012, and a few months later my ex’s mom (and oldest’s grandma) who had been a mother figure since I was 15. Hurricane Sandy ravaged my neighborhood in October of 2012. About a month later, my husband’s beloved aunt passed away a few days after that, and a close friend of mine also passed, in a highly public and terrible accident. Through everything, my kids have been tough as nails.After every curve ball, we’re able, as a family, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on. It’ something I picked up from my unflappable dad and I am proud to be passing it on.