Those who know me have heard a lot of complaints about parenthood from me. I started this blog to help me change that, to focus on the positive. I thought maybe by writing about the things I can do, rather than the things I can’t, might help me start feeling adequate as a mother, and maybe even happy. You may notice that I haven’t written many posts here. I guess the complaints are winning.
Reluctantly, I picked up this book at our local, amazing, toy library. Are We Having Fun Yet? The 16 Serets of Happy Parenting by Kay Willis and Maryann B. Brinley. Sometimes the cheesy sounding books really are just that, cheesy. They are surface and too simple to be useful in what I consider a complicated life.
The book however, really is perfect for where I am right now. It’s short and sweet, and not preachy. It really all boils down to how you can change your attitude to enjoy, rather than endure, parenting. Of course, there are some other good tips in there as well, and lots of stories about how Kay raised then children, and how successful she was at that. I do find myself feeling a little guilty at times while reading it though. Kay has always wanted to be a mother, since she was nine years old. Ever since I was nine years old I have wanted to be single, and to be childless. Of course I changed my mind momentarily… but that desire does come back now that I am a mother. I’ve read a lot of great articles this month though that have been helping me change my bad attitude about mothering.
The best resources will meet you where you are, and present an honest picture of mothering: it’s incredibly hard (an understatement), but has unimaginable and heavenly rewards.
The first suggestion in this book was that happy parents enjoy each developmental stage their child is in, instead of enduring it. So, I’m trying to take that to heart. Instead of hoping and planning for that next stage that will be so much better, so much easier, I am trying to notice the sweet things that my children are doing in the stages they are in. Instead of saying, “It will be so much easier when she stops wetting her pants!” I’m trying to focus on “It’s so fun to see the delight she takes in making it to the potty on her own initiative.” Someday soon it won’t seem like an accomplishment at all, but just an unconscious part of her daily life.
When you are in a crisis moment and are crying on the couch, don’t pick up this book and feel guilty. Just eat some chocolate and be kind to yourself. Allow those moments. But when you lay in bed and night, thinking over the day, wanting some ideas for how tomorrow could be better, read this book. Try making a list of all the things you enjoy about your child, and tomorrow, try to cherish them.