I read a study recently which examined a shift in the way children are raised in the US. The old idea that “it takes a village to raise a child” is giving way to isolated mansions, suburban sprawl, and ideas that we shouldn’t ask each other for help when we need it.
My parents, and maybe yours too, talk about playing in their neighborhood until the literal dinner bell or dinner whistle called them home to eat. For most of us the idea that we could just let our kids run around outside casually supervised by a mom or pair of moms enjoying a gin and tonic or hot cup of tea makes our blood run cold with fear.
Outside is not baby-proof. It’s not safely contained or controlled. It’s scary for us moms to throw safety and control by the wayside even if our kids could benefit from learning independence, exploring their imagination, and even exploring social rules without their parents hovering reminders to share, use your words and be nice to your friends. I embrace control as a mother; parenthood is a scary thing and my attempts to maintain control makes life little less overwhelming. But it’s best for me and my kids that I let go of that from time to time.
I live in this unique little gem of a neighborhood. It’s like a big family, there is a lot of love and respect among the neighbors but we bicker like brothers and sisters sometimes in that happy dysfunctional sort of way. Our little townhouse community is like a throwback to the 1950’s and 1960’s. Moms sit on our front stoops watching the kids play, occasionally shouting a reminder to stay away from the street. We let the kids run and play until dinner time when, because many of them are toddlers, we have to carry them kicking and screaming home.
Our children aren’t afraid to say how they feel. They love nights like this. They love playing with their friends until the dinner bell rings and even then they don’t want to stop. If we’re being honest, sometimes, neither do we. We’d love to stay on the lawn chatting with each other until way past our bedtime. Bonding, commiserating and supporting each other.
The kids love running around barefoot past their bedtime because it’s a special end-of-summer party. We love it too; it’s a rare thing to find a true community among the suburban sprawl. It’s special. Even though we’re planning to move these people will always be my neighbors.
I could blame…
the summer heat.
my general fatigue.
my sweet boys.
or Plants vs. Zombies.
But… I’ve been unmotivated, unwilling or otherwise incapable of producing good-blog material for a while now. Bear with me. I’ll get back on the wagon soon.
When two mommies with 4 kids 2 and under get together, it’s happy chaos! My friend Jen from college had us over to meet her precious Bella, here’s mommy and baby girl- just 2 weeks old! Jack and Brody hung out too.
Finally, I think about my identity or what’s left of my identity as it’s becoming overgrown by motherhood. I love being a mom, I think I’m pretty good at it (except when I think I’m shit at it) but I don’ t ever want to be the type of mom who is utterly defined by the ‘mommy’ status. I used to do yoga twice a week, which I absolutely love, but it’s really hard to find the time with 2 little guys. I love to paint but my current house doesn’t have any more walls to spare for me to hang my art so I either need to start giving it away… or better yet selling it. I really should do that, the stager that came through our house commented on my paintings and asked who did them because one she was thinking another client would like and I said “Me” and she said “Would you ever sell me some?” … “Yeah.” … “Lemme get your number.”
So today we found out our deal fell through with the
Bank soulless demon who owns this house. I’m surprisingly cool about it. I was just so over the up and down and up and down and did I mention up and down about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, this house made me inspired, but I’m sitting here typing this with a list of 5 houses we’re going to see tomorrow. This house was going to be great… after about 10 years of me wanting to rip my hair our. What if I found a house that was great now, or good now and great because we could afford vacations and a new car ’cause, in case you don’t know, mine’s gonna die any day now.
I just don’t feel like this is the worse thing to happen. It’s just a thing, it’s time to move on… and I don’t know about you but I LOVE house hunting. Seriously, I’d go every year just for fun!
I play games with my kids… and sometimes my kids play games with me.
When we go outside Jack says “What’s that sounds, Mommy.”
And I’m supposed to say “I don’t know, Jack, what is that sound?”
Jack says “It’s the cicadas, Mommy. They are in the trees!”
When we’re inside Jack comes running up from playing in the basement and he says “I’m scared de dark, Mommy!”
Which is my cue to say “Why are you scared of the dark, Jack.”
Then Jack gets animated and his eyes light up and his hands start jesturing “There’s crabs in the dark, dey go pinch pinch.” Pinching his claw-hands.
“There aren’t crabs in the house, only at the beach! They’re scared of you!”
“No way, Mommy. So silly!”
Henry plays a few games of his own:
- rolling as soon as no one is near the video camera (or the card is full).
- pulling my hand (holding the spoon full of food) towards his mouth with both hands and both feet. Because two hands aren’t enough.
- blowing raspberries.
- doing sit-ups. A skills that makes most of his swing and bouncy seats totally unsafe. Bummer.
I’m working on this post about what’s going on with me right now and I’m having a hard time putting it into words. The problem is several things at once: I’m stressed out about selling & buying the houses, I’m feeling like a sub-par mom lately, I don’t know if I should just hold on for dear life and trust that it will all be over soon or I should put on my big girl panties and get out of my funk. I don’t know that I have the where-with-all to pull myself out of this funk.
Usually I’m pretty good at self-reflecting and seeing what it is that I need to snap out of it and then I just do it. I think I’m feeling like life is coming at me from all sides so I don’t know where to start.
Pedicure and a ladies night out, though always good for the soul, might not be enough this time.
I also find myself avoiding my friends because I’m such a Debbie Downer that I don’t want to subject people to me. Which I know is part of the problem…
I need to get some fun and not overwhelming activities on my agenda. I know I deserve to be in a good place but my kids also deserve a mom who can roll with the punches not a mom who gets KOed by them.