Friday, January 06, 2006

The non-resolution entry

Is it a resolution never to make any more resolutions - at least of the New Year's variety? Oh, crap.

Seriously. I think part of it has to do with having declared 2005 "my" year (I think this had to do mostly with turning 30) and then having a burnout and a miscarriage and a bunch of other things go wrong. Otherwise, I can't think of a single thing I can resolve that I wasn't already planning to do: get back in shape/down to my ideal weight (or, if I can manage a successful pregnancy, not gain 60lbs. again). Market my novel no matter how much blood is shed. (Mine, I mean. I think.) And quit beating myself up for not getting my dual job right, and just do it.

The last one is probably the most important, but I didn't realize its importance until a few days before the new year (so it's not really a resolution. Ha!) as the husband and I talked childcare. I forget how it came up, or what else we discussed. The only thing that sticks out at me was the realization that it is perfectly OK not to be adept at toddler floor-play. I think it was a confluence of recent revelations that led to this:
  • Another mother who told me she much prefers working with toddlers and preschoolers. No particular reason; she just "fits" best with them. She has a son who's 8, and she cares for him and sometimes his friends, but she wouldn't want to be a third-grade teacher (for instance).
  • Realizing that my son and I are in a groove. He expects me to be on the computer for at least part of the day. Even if he tries frequently to drag me away from it, it's OK with him that I work - as long as I'm there for him whenever he needs me: to show interest in his activities, to comfort him when he falls, to fix his toys when they break.
  • Thinking about the things I do enjoy very much with him? sitting in a coffee shop sharing a cookie, talking about the things we see in the supermarket or outdoors, reading books together. So we don't bond on the floor. In fact, I think, it's the only place we part ways. And that's good for both of us.
All this time, I'd been beating myself up thinking of course I should be good at this - I'm a mother now; doesn't that make you automatically adaptable to every stage of your child's life? No. Just more patient, more willing to stretch your own limits - but not something you aren't. So I'm not interested in playing on the floor. I'm not interested in writing poetry or articles for audiences outside of public safety, either.

What do you beat yourself up about? Think about that thing. What are your expectations? What's your reality? Does it turn out that you're better at it than you thought? If not, do you think by focusing on reality instead of expectations, that you really can improve?


Blogger Meg said...

Where did I fail you?? ;-) In this one sense, I mean, I know there were many other places I did. But I thought that with a mother like me, you'd have picked up long ago that there is no such thing as the Perfect Mommy, who actually enjoys getting Down and Dirty with the kids on the floor. Your friend who loves toddlers? More power to her, I bet she'll hate her teenagers. And you'll love the teen years.

We all have our strengths, we all have our weaknesses. When you start to doubt that, just remember the last time your mother made chocolate-chip cookies. (raises eyebrows, repeating vow, NEVER AGAIN)

6/1/06 4:48 PM  
Blogger Mary Louisa said...

Christa, thank you for posting your wisdom. I can see that your load is lighter, and mine feels a bit lighter too, now that I've read your words. I knew there was a reason I fired up the intarweb today!

7/1/06 9:44 AM  
Blogger Silandara said...

Thanks for the reassurance I don't have to be perfect -- that I'm not even supposed to be. I have those things that I feel I'm supposed to do with my son that I just don't feel terribly competent at (or really enjoy). Glad I'm not the only one... :)

11/1/06 3:12 PM  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Hi, Christa! kids want to kinow why I stare at my laptop all day...

I linked to your blog. Thanks for coming by mine. Stop back again.

20/1/06 12:08 AM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

Thanks, everyone. I think we've all had times other mothers have judged us for one thing or another (or at least seen mothers who managed to nail what we struggle with) - so it's easy to translate that into a broader need to get everything perfect. At least for me. :)

I keep having to remind myself that if I were perfect, I would be freakish and everyone would hate me... kind of like in elementary school, only I wasn't perfect then either... gosh, I just can't win! ;)

22/1/06 11:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

My dear, unless you live in the town of Stepford, you needn't worry about perfection. All the "perfect" people you see secretly have messy closets, or even messier lives.

1/2/06 1:47 AM  

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