I’ve often joked about writing a parenting book titled, “Parenting the Rhea Way.” Rest assured, it wouldn’t be a ‘how-to’ but more of a cautionary tale. You can’t possibly fathom the number of times my children have been accused of lying by their peers (or parents of peers) who assume that their crazy, daily life stories are tall tales of imagination. No mother would really do or allow the things they say! What mother would throw an egg for her son to bat with a rolling pin in the kitchen resulting in a sticky gooey mess? Me!
So this Mother’s Day, I’m going to celebrate me. I’m going to celebrate being the kind of mom whose favorite game is “What’s in this sandwich” where I feed my children bizarre concoctions served between two slices of bread and laugh hysterically as they try to figure out what they are eating.
I’m going to celebrate that I not only allow my son to wear his hair long, but love and defend it that way! Read about that here. And I will celebrate that when my son needs to learn hard lessons through natural consequences, I will be there to teach them as you can read about here.
I’m going to celebrate that my precious little girl plays dollhouse in ways that would make others cringe… to me it is a beautiful display of individuality and reassurance that she will not fall victim to the pitfalls of typical gender stereotying of little girls that grooms them to be Disney Princess wanna-bes and only value themselves based on the husband they are looking to catch. Read here.
I’m going to celebrate that I laugh at fart jokes, real farts, and when my kids change the words to pop songs so that they are about poop. Maybe I should reprimand those things… but that would lessen the laughter that overflows our lives. Maybe I should put a picture on our Christmas Cards that is carefully chosen to make us look perfect and respectable; instead of this one that I sent out last year:
This year I’m going to celebrate the conversations that take place in my life almost daily that are much like the one you can read about here.
I am celebrating that my children are growing up watching parents that truly love each other. Sure, they see their parents bicker. They also see their parents laugh, talk, and even make out! They see their parents stick together and parent as one strong unit! One strong force against the pint-sized rebellion that they launch on an hourly basis!
I’m proud to go to the swimming pool with my kids even if I’m in a larger swimsuit size than I would have ever thought my arse would need. I know my kids will remember me jumping, splashing, playing, and swimming with them. They will not remember what I looked like.
They will remember me jumping into the tub full of bubbles with them fully dressed just because it made them laugh.
They will surely remember my loud angry mommy voice when I yell at them for all things that kids need to be yelled at because of. But I know that they will also remember how loudly I cheer and praise them. And they will certainly remember my laugh! I deserve a decibel system named in honor of my laugh. Sometimes it is embarrassing, but it will certainly be memorable. And it is 100% genuinely me!
This Mother’s Day I will celebrate! I spend 364 days of the rest of the year questioning myself. I torment myself with fears that I’m not doing enough. Not doing it right. I lay awake in cold sweats fearing that I’ve missed something crucial to the upbringing of my children. I question myself, “Am I too lax? Too protective? Too weird? Too involved? Not involved enough?” I agonize over making parenting decisions that feel right for our family but won’t make me popular among the other moms.
I once heard a pastor say that the biggest mistake most parents make is holding tightly to their children with both hands. He said that as parents we are much more powerful if we hold onto our children with one hand and keep the other hand firmly grasping God’s hand.
Today I celebrate that I am holding onto my God and my children. I might not pass the judgement of other moms. I might make mistakes. Big ones! I will have many failures and there are no guarantees that anything I am doing will be what was right in the end… But everything I do stems from my love. My love of my family, my God, and even myself. This is who I am. This is who we are.
This is the Rhea Way.