Mother’s Day Gift

A memorable Mother’s Day gift this year was this affirmation from Ellen as we were bouncing together on our backyard trampoline:

Ellen: “That was funny what my friend said … that what she likes about our family is that all the kids talk to the grown-ups like kids and all the grown-ups talk to the kids like kids.”

Me: “That’s in a good way?”

Ellen: “Yes!”

Me: “What, other families aren’t like that?”

Ellen: “No! In other families the grown-ups are like, ‘Do the dishes! Do your homework! Bedtime. Bedtime! BEDTIME!!’ And the kids just look at them and say, ‘Ok.'” [Then she did a robotic-zombie walk across the trampoline.]

Me: “Oh, they act like robots? … Yeah, I’m not interested in raising robots.” [Find out why.]

And we bounced together some more.

Meanwhile, I joined a book club (another perk of this parenting approach is that I now have time for such things). We’re reading Anna Quindlen’s latest which offers this perspective:

“If your mother has been micromanaging your homework since you were six, it’s hard to feel any pride of ownership when you do well. You can’t learn from mistakes and disappointments if your childhood is engineered so there aren’t any. … How could they be excited about their jobs, their opinions, their lives, if they felt that they were secondhand, jerry-built, not truly their own, if they weren’t discovering the world anew? … It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: we are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”

The long-term benefits for the kids is clear. And for the parents? …

“I asked him once about his memories of my mothering … ‘You sorta freaked out during the college application process,’ he noted accurately. But then he wrote, ‘What I remember most: having a good time.’

There’s the problem with turning motherhood into martyrdom. There’s no way to do it and have a good time.”

Let the good times roll.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

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