Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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How I Spell Success: "Eh, Close Enough"

We parents are pretty hard on ourselves.

We beat ourselves up for letting our kids watch TV, and for stopping at McDonald's when we're too tired to cook, and for moving the clocks forward to trick them into thinking it's bedtime.  (Or is that just me?)

We worry that we don't help them enough with their homework, or that we help them too  much and end up doing all the work for them.  We fret that they should be involved in more extracurricular activities, and the next day we're convinced that they're overextended.

Well, today I'm giving myself a break.  Today I'm going to celebrate my own version of parenting success; I may miss the mark of perfection by a long shot, but the house is still standing and the kids haven't run away yet, so for right now it's close enough.

✓ I let Maddie make a mess when she's eating.

This one is surprisingly difficult for me, considering how little I care about messes in general.  But those are clutter  messes - this is a food  mess.  Food messes are sticky and get into crevices and negate all my bathing efforts.  Food messes sneak into the seams of the high chair seat and hide so they can later emerge as strawberry stains on her pants.  Food messes attract bugs and lead to errant hand prints on the walls and crusty patches of dried banana on my sleeves.

But the doctor says letting her dig in will eventually lead to her eating more, even though she still mostly just smears stuff around and drops globs of it onto the floor.  So what if she still gets all her calories from string cheese and yogurt melts and isn't familiar with the concept of vegetables?  I'm at least sitting her down in the general vicinity of other foods, so the Food Pyramid is just going to have to cram it for a while longer.

✓ I'm letting the kids use my Special Craft Supplies.

For ages, the kids have had their own stash of art stuff - crayons, fancy scissors, glue sticks out the wazoo.  But they're b-o-r-e-d with them, and although Experts agree that children who do crafts are 98% more likely to get into Harvard (I'll have to fact-check that later, but it sounds right), I don't regularly encourage them to whip up an origami summer home or knit their own legwarmers.

Meanwhile, I have so many scrapbooking supplies that I could easily create a life-sized diorama depicting The Fresh Beat Band facing off against the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba in a cage match to the death.  I'm not saying I would,  I'm just saying I have enough supplies for it.

I've been hoarding collecting said supplies for a number of years, and I've finally admitted to myself that I don't have enough time to work on a scrapbook; in fact, if I did nothing but  scrapbook from this very second until the day I died, you still wouldn't be able to locate my body under the heap of unused craft stuff.  So I'm letting the kids use my PRECIOUS, SEMI-SACRED paper crafting products in hopes of inspiring them to Be Creative and then get into an Ivy League school (on a scholarship) so they can support me in my old age.  So what you're saying is that you're proud of yourself for being slightly less selfish than you were before?  you ask.  Yes, that's what I'm saying.  You're welcome, kids.

✓ I'm allowing myself to indulge in inappropriate laughter.

I get so sick of the pressure to make every last second of the day a Teaching Moment.  Should I lecture Zoe about being a sass-mouth when she says, "How can I watch my attitude - it's clear?"  Should I call her out for lying when she's OBVIOUSLY faking a limp to get attention?  Should I discuss how you should Always Be Nice when Jake enters a fake contact for Justin Bieber on his phone, placing the Bieb on Poo Poo Lane Pee Pee Road with the Note "you're ugly"?

The answer to all of those questions is Probably.  But sometimes it strikes me as too dang funny, and I have to laugh.  So instead of feeling like I've missed an opportunity to prevent my children from growing up to be mannerless heathens, I choose to believe that they'll benefit from learning that humor is okay, too.  Plus, practicing your fake limp could come in handy some day.  You never know.

✓Alert the media - Madeline slept in her crib.

It's true that Maddie is 11 months old.  It's also true that she has had her own room and crib available for her use since the day we brought her home from the hospital.  But for reasons that are both pretty transparent (look at how flippin' cute she is) as well as a tad deeper (ohmygod this is probably our last baby so fortheloveofallthat'sholy don't miss a second of it), we have completely ruined her sleeping habits by holding her... pretty much all the time.  As a result, she'll probably be sleeping in our bed until we're in our eighties.

I know it's important for her to learn to sleep on her own, and I might like to have a decent, full night of rest someday myself (gasp).  So today I put her in her crib for her nap.  I refreshed my beverage.  I typed with both  hands.  It was the most glorious 10 minutes I've experienced in recent memory.  Of course she won't sleep longer than that unless I'm holding her, but it was progress.  A tiny step in the right direction.

So that's me today - relaxing my already pretty lackadaisical standards and cutting myself some parenting slack.  When the kids come home from school I might let them watch an iCarly marathon on Nickelodeon in preparation for spring break next week, during which time I plan to leave Maddie in her pajamas 24/7 and serve waffles for dinner.  And I'll keep reminding myself that TV isn't completely  evil and nutrition is overrated, and just having a good time can be as important as learning a Life Lesson.  I'll celebrate the minor victories, because sometimes the hardest lesson in parenting is learning to live with imperfection.

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The Blue Orchid of Texas said...

Nice job Mom. And the house is still standing too.

Jen O. said...

Oh, man. You just reminded me of my hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of scrapbooking supplies I have hidden in the guest room closet. I gave up all hope of ever scrapbooking again probably 4 years ago, so why not let my kids use the supplies? Someone might as well enjoy them and, like you said, they're bored with their own stuff. You've inspired me! This weekend, we'll craft! Although, I might keep the various X-Acto knives hidden. I hope to make it out with all our fingers and toes.

RobynHTV said...

@TheBlueOrchid, that's right! It's all about lowering standards. ;)

RobynHTV said...

Jen O., that's a good idea about the X-Acto knives! Unfortunately I lost all four of mine - I'm assuming the kids will let me know when they turn up...

Abby said...

Sometimes you have to challenge yourself and your "rules" just to prove that the world won't end if there's a mess or you can't do something the exact minute that you want to do it. Your kids probably had a great day and fun with their mom, as they won't remember how clean the house was years from now ;)

That said, I'm totally hypocritical, but this is a good reminder. Eh...close enough.

Vanessa said...

This is just my opinion, but if one of your kids thinks Justin Bieber is ugly, then you are raising some seriously smart kids.

Stacey said...

You've touched on somethig very important about raising kids, maybe even the whole purpose of having them, and that is having someone to take care of you when you're old.

Crap. Why didn't I think of that?

RobynHTV said...

Abby, it's so much harder than it seems like it should be, isn't it? To just reeeeelax and not beat yourself up over not being perfect? Sigh - it seems that not matter which part of my to-do list I let go, I always think I SHOULD have done THOSE things and skipped what I DID do. :)

RobynHTV said...

Vanessa - SO TRUE! My son is anti-JB for sure, and my dtr claims to be but occasionally I'll catch her being crushy. Of course then her brother jumps in and teases her mercilessly until the crush is squashed. ;)

RobynHTV said...

TruckingT, you've got that right! But don't you fret, you have Himself - he's got you covered! If not, we have lots of kids you can borrow. :)

little.onion said...

Every time I hand my son a chicken nugget (against my better judgement) and he shakes his head "no" at me - I get the feeling that he knows how badly it makes me feel to offer it to him in the first place. And on the other hand, it seems like all those shows on food network has made him into a foodie.
One day at a time...

RobynHTV said...

That's so funny, little.onion! My son does the same sort of thing, but with arranging and cleaning his room. He's waayyyyy more organized than I am and likes everything just so, which I think might come from all those hours of HGTV running in the background on TV during his formative years. :)

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

So true- I cringe when I see Zane eating food himself and making a mess, but it is way they learn. And I need to start scrapbooking badly- I say, I am going to do it but never do! Hope to see you tonight on my Saturday laughs:)

RobynHTV said...

Melissa, as much as I love scrapbooking, I just never have the time, and it just became a source of stress because I was always behind. Now I do Project Life, so I can jot down stories and slap photos in the slots without measuring or cutting or picking out the perfect brooch to decorate the page. I'd say more, but the Project Life people don't pay me to talk about how awesome their stuff is (ALTHOUGH THEY SHOULD - HINT, HINT). ;)

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

THey should....hint, hint:) Hope they are reading!

Sarah @ Made in USA Challenge said...

Sounds like you are doing everything right to me! My son just turned two and is still in bed with me and I'm not too worried about it. They grow up so fast right? Might as well enjoy it now.

RobynHTV said...

Sarah, thanks for saying that. Seriously. Sometimes I need a reminder that it's okay to go with the stuff that "feels" right, even if it isn't textbook. :)

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