We've established a tradition for Mother's Day. I get to work in the garden undisturbed the entire day. Dave takes care of meals and P. It's such a great gift. I got so much done today. I'm tired and sore and love it!
Every Mother's Day I take inventory of what I've learned about the job of mothering. Each year brings on new challenges with P's development. However, I find dealing with P's changes is the easier part of parenting. If I could parent her in a bubble, away from most families I think I'd find the job much easier. Over the year I've found that it can be hard to find a balance where your child is socialized but not badly influenced. And it's not even the other children I find challenging, it's other parents.
Until P went to preschool I have felt like a fish out of water as a parent. The families we were surrounded by seemed to have such different expectations of their children, of themselves and of their families as a whole. To be honest, I found these parents weren't willing to go the extra mile for their children and in many cases seemed "tuned out" to them. I can respect each family's choices but what I found most annoying about these people was that they criticized me for expecting more.
From the very first day P went to preschool I felt like I found my "herd". I found parents who were fully committed to their kids. For example, I have been very, very selective of who I leave P with. I know it's gotten to the point where some have been insulted because I wasn't willing to leave P in their care. However, I'll put P's safety over an adult's hurt feelings any day of the week. I've been criticized for my "over worrying". At preschool I found mother after mother telling me the same thing. They are with their children 24/7 because they trust very few people.
So this year I found that not all parents are created equal. It does take a village to raise a child but it makes it a thousand times easier to raise that child if you find a village with your same values and goals. This past year I have found life to be much easier. We have dinner dates and socialize with other families and I never worry about P. I can relax and enjoy a great meal and a glass of wine with great people. The families we've befriended long ago and recently grown closer to are similar to our family in their core values. They may have some other differences but spending time with them is so relaxing. There is no fighting or meanness between the kids. We all for our children and I'm starting to realize it may be because all of these parents have some pretty great accomplishments of their own. Which brings me to my second big realization.
The more accomplished a woman is before she becomes a mother the better mother she is. By accomplished I don't neccesarily mean she needs to have gone to Harvard and been VP of something. I mean the more successful a woman feels in what she has done, ie, if she feel she has accomplished great things then the more confident she is which in turn, makes her a much better mother. Motherhood is hard for many reasons. One of them is that this is the only job that makes you really take a good hard look at yourself and analyze all of your shortcomings. The children we raise are a reflection of who we are. The "problems" we find with our child are more often than not coming from us. We have to change us first to change them. A confidant person can do that. Because misery loves company, an insecure parent finds other parents with the same low expectations and they belittle those that challenge themselves and want more.
I'm grateful that this past year I finally shed the heavy weight of bad friendships and returned to our old ones and found great new ones. I've learned to listen to my inner voice when it I meet new people. I've also learned that the best way to identify a family's true nature and morals is to watch young children. They are uncensored versions of their parents.
I feel blessed I am a mom. I feel blessed my parents had high expectations of me and gave me a huge dose of self confidence. And I feel very lucky to have a good village to help me raise my child.