Oh Come On!


So..there have been some ideas percolating around in this head of mine. My first thoughts about writing this blog began about a month ago when I was sitting in my chiropractors office( because yes, I am of that certain age where I am attempting to keep everything working well) and picked up the Time magazine that was next to me on one of the office tables. It caught my attention because there was a young beautiful, very pregnant, naked woman on the cover. The cover was of course, tastefully done, she was covering all the sensitive areas, but she was also in great shape! (Hmm...I wonder how she will look AFTER the baby:) ) The picture of course, is why I picked up the magazine because it attracted my attention, but looking further, the article it introduced was what then caused me to ruminate....

The article accompanying this photo, was theorizing that what our children become, starts at the very beginning of their lives, as early as their first days in the womb. I was intrigued, and read on. As I was reading, my mouth began to open, which of course is not an attractive pose to continue for any length of time. Reading on, the article began to lay out the idea that all that our children will be and can become begins much earlier than previously thought. I was fascinated and appalled, and then depressed.

All of us mothers can attest to the fact that we think a lot about our kids. We think about what they need, and how to help them, and how to make them happy and how to make sure they are growing fine and well. Mothers think about how to help their kids do well in school and have friends and how to navigate the world in general. This article made me feel mother guilt on steroids! If I am to believe this article, what I did, yes me, not their Dad, did from the moment they began to evolve inside my womb has affected who and what they are. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It was way too early for wine when I read this.

I have enough guilt about anything that has happened in their lives! I know that from the time I realized I was pregnant I truly did my best to take good care of myself, because of course now I was taking care of two people. One of us had a choice, the other one was just along for the ride. But, come on! I don't want to know that every single thing I did, or thought or did not do or did not think, made a difference that far back! I made all the conscious decisions I could to do the right thing for my unborn child. I don't want to know that anything I did even before I knew I was pregnant contributed to the type of person my kids ultimately became. I have enough mother guilt already. I do not need more!

Then, my daughter, Megan went to a seminar this past month. She brought home a book for me. I appreciated her gift, she thought this book would be interesting and provide some research for me as I look to write each of my blogs. Well, it did just that. The title of the book is "I Just Want My Kids to be Happy". Then, the subtitles say " Why You Shouldn't Say It", "Why You Shouldn't Think It", and last "What You Should Embrace Instead". Well, I couldn't get past the first title and two subtitles to even think about what to embrace instead. I have spent countless hours thinking about what to do, and what to provide to help my children find the happiness that is important to them in their lives. I have spoke about that in this format, I have even advocated that sometimes we, as parents, need to put aside what we may want for the good and ultimate happiness of our children. Now, I have a whole book suggesting something else! Yikes!!

My husband and I listened to some radio program where the commentators where talking about how each Sunday they call their kids, and by the end of the day, they are only as happy as their least happy child. Bill, my husband, and I embrace that thought! We continually comment on how we are good if our kids are good! Now, of course, we realize that that is not the only defining factor in the quality of our lives, but it is a big one! Just last night my husband had received some great news about an extremely important initiative at his company, and he was truly excited and quite happy. Yet, as we talked, he told me as good as that news was, the news he got from our son, and our youngest daughter was even. better. They had each had a conversation with their Dad about what was going on in their lives and how excited they were, and that they were truly feeling good about the direction their lives were going. They were in fact, happy. He smiled and said that news mattered most!

In ruminating over all this stuff, and thinking about what really matters, cause as you know, that is what I try hard to think about and put words to in this venue, I am going to say that helping your kids find their lives and what makes them happy, is valid and necessary to help them become who they need to be and are suppose to become. If, in doing that, I have focused too hard on trying to help them find that, and focused too hard on what I think they might need, so be it! I truly believe that our most important job as a parent is to help our kids become the best version of themselves they can be. I have to think that involves happiness.

Having said all that, I am not going to waste a minute thinking about that Time article and all that I did not know about when I was pregnant! I did the best I could taking care of myself so that my kids would arrive healthy. I have enough mother guilt without adding those extra few months in, where I had no idea what I was doing or how to be a parent. That did not start until the baby showed up! And, as for focusing my mom energy on helping my kids be happy and find their way to the happiness that works for them, sue me! Dr. Aaron Cooper, author of the above mentioned book, I know that you have thought a lot about what you wanted to say in your book, and you probably have valid points. However, I am going for the happiness factor, I feel good when my kids are happy! I like to think that I may even have had a hand in helping them figure that out!

No mother guilt for me here. Come on, we do that to ourselves enough! Celebrate when your kids are happy! I am pretty darn sure that you good parents have worked hard to help them get there!

I know last night I felt a whole bunch of satisfaction knowing that my grownup kids were doing well. For that, I am happy. Forget about feeling badly if you help your kids feel happy! They have enough to make them feel badly, if we help them find their way to happiness, good for us!

I will feel guilty again I am sure. It comes with Motherhood. Today, however, I am not going there, no matter what anybody writes or suggests!

Until next time,