Monday, April 1, 2013

Be the mom you want to be

There has been a lot of talk lately about how out of control the holidays are "these days" (gah, I feel so old saying that!) While part of me agrees, part of me feels like people claim that they think it's over the top and ridiculous to make themselves feel better for being lazy.

There needs to be a happy medium and I think we've done a pretty decent job with our kids at finding it. I dye food to match the holiday, pink milk for Valentines Day, green eggs for St Patty's day etc. It's fun, the kids get a kick out of it and really? It takes me 30 seconds to do it. It's really not that hard and it's not over the top. We bake cookies at Christmas and I make a big deal out of decorating them, I love Christmas and having tons of gifts under the tree. Do I think I need to have a leprechaun that shows up and hides gold or some weird elf that I need to move every night for a month? Um, no. I will embrace my absentmindness  and tell you that I'd never remember to move that damn elf the way I'm supposed to.

If you're lazy and you don't want to celebrate the little holidays (or even the big ones), or even if you're not lazy but you simply don't care and don't want to do it and it's not your thing...then embrace it. Admit it. Say "you know what, I don't care. My kids aren't going to end up in therapy because I didn't put dye in their milk or because I think they should only have 3 gifts on Christmas" I'm fine with that.

What I'm not fine with is making us that want to do those goofy little things or make a big deal out of the bigs things out to be the bad guys. Don't blame us for the holiday being commercialized to make yourself feel better because you've decided your kids are too old for the Easter bunny and Santa Claus.  If you think your kids are too old, fine, they're your kids...but you know what? My kids will be in college and I'll still be hiding Easter baskets for them and signing gifts from Santa...and I'm okay with that because that's the mom I want to be.

There are some aspects that I get annoyed with along with everyone else. I hate that Christmas shows up before Halloween, it drives me batty when holidays turn in to a game of one upping each other and bratty kids are the worst. Easter is not Christmas and I don't treat it as such. My kids get a reasonable basket with candy and some toys, usually things they're going to need for summer anyway but they love it! I hope I'm the mom that can still do all the fun things I want to do and yet teach my kids to be thankful for what they have, to realize that they have more then some and less then others and to be okay with that.

Just as we're raising kids that we hope we can be proud of, I hope we're also being the parents we (and our kids!) can be proud of. When my boys are off with families of their own I want them to say things like "every year my mom used to make the coolest food on Halloween" or "oh yea, I have the best memories from the birthday parties I had growing up". And it's not just about the holidays/special occasions, it's about making the memories year round. I've been told by friends that it always looks like I'm doing something fun with my kids. Guess what? I'm not. There are plenty of days that we're lazy or that we spend the day doing one boring chore after another...but those other times? The trips to the zoo, the painting, the road trips, the swimming or picnics in the park...those are the things that will stick out when they're grown with their own kids. What do you remember about your childhood? What do you hope your kids will remember? For me, I remember the walks to the park, the walks around the neighborhood ( when your mom doesn't drive you do a lot of walking), the sleepovers with friends, the parties during the summer, family dinners during the holidays and camping! I hope my kids look back and remember having FUN, remember family traditions and smile a little when something like the smell of a campfire triggers a memory.

I'm not the mom everyone wants to be, I'm probably the complete opposite of some but I'm the mom *I* want to be...or at least I'm trying to be.