Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mom Panic!

It is Saturday.  We made it.  And nobody died.  Or spent time in an asylum. 

I'm surprising myself by even thinking this, but I'm not sure it was worth it.  It turns out that kids complain a little when moms ask them to do anything, not just turn off games.  It turns out that siblings will always fight a little, not just over controllers.  It turns out that moms will always stress out and convince themselves they're doing something wrong, not just over allowing too much screen time.  Moms will worry themselves over not hosting the proper number of play-dates, making sure their kids are eating vegetables, or whether their child is wearing clean socks.  Moms drive themselves crazy over everything.  Games were just my thing last week.  I'm sure I'll have moved on to some new insecurity by tomorrow.

As I'm writing this, I'm holed up in my office appreciating my coffee and the quiet that the morning provides, and contemplating all my crazy kid-induced anxieties.  It's a rabbit hole I really shouldn't have gone down.  Do I yell too much?  Do I hug enough?  When my kids are grown will they remember all the fun birthday parties, family nights and vacations, or will they only remember the time I summarily banished their video games?  Mom panic.

I know that I am not the only parent who has these thoughts.  My own mother has confessed to me at times that she still has regrets and worries that she did things wrong (For the record, she did everything right.  My mom is a parenting ninja bad-ass.  Just look at how well I turned out.  My sisters too.  We are walking, talking evidence of her mothering superiority.)  My beloved Gran once told me the same types of things.  She said she knew she made mistakes, but everyone does.  The trick is to let yourself off the hook for them.  She told me that I'll make my own mistakes too, because no matter what we do or how hard we try to be perfect we all mess up our kids our own way.  I think of that conversation almost daily.

The more I think about it, the more it amazes me that mothers have this innate ability to worry themselves over the littlest details of everyone's lives, while simultaneously forgetting to feed themselves, or shower.  Moms are funny creatures like that.  I find myself freaking out about my daughter brushing her hair, while I'm flipping my head over and tying mine in a knot.  A hairbrush hasn't touched my head since...well...I don't really remember when.  I worry about my son getting enough protein (he's my growing boy after all) so I'll make him a big breakfast before school.  My breakfast usually consists of a coffee poured hastily in a travel mug.  I even worry about my husband this way, and he is a grown, capable adult.  I worry a lot. 

My point is that maybe instead of worrying about everything and everyone else all the time, I should try teaching by example.  Maybe my daughter would learn to keep her hair neat if I kept my hair neat (lofty goal.)  Maybe the kids would learn that a nutritious breakfast is important if I could manage to eat something before 11am.  Maybe they would learn to keep their rooms tidy if I stopped doing everything for them (I'm very skeptical on this point).

My anti-tech experiment has taught me much more about myself than about the way my kids cope without games.  I didn't expect that.  It's made me all introspective and junk.  Perhaps my next experiment should be an internal one where I just calm the eff down for a week or two.  I'm not sure I can do it without the aid of pharmaceuticals, but it's worth a shot.  I'll let the kids be kids, and maybe I'll actually get a good night's sleep. 

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