We’re all doing much better than we think we are

I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve been posting some pictures and updating you a bit on my pregnancy, but I haven’t written much about parenting. I feel like I have so much to share (from challenges, to behavioral improvements, to successes, etc), but ever since I wrote my post at the end of July about people being so judgmental towards parents these days (you can read that here), I just lost some steam.

It was almost as if my own post made me feel insecure in my parenting abilities. I’ve become so tuned into better behavior that I’ve almost lost touch with the fun of having three little girls. Three GREAT little girls. And while I’m extremely happy we’ve been focusing on changing certain behaviors (the screaming from Mackenzie…the listening skills with Abigail…), I came to the realization at music class yesterday that I need to CHILL. OUT. (at least a little bit – we all have improvements to make, after all!).

You see, every week I take all three of the girls to music class. They love it. It’s basically the only activity (short of playing at the playground and at home) that they all get to do together. Abby has dance class. Abby and Mac play soccer. Abby and Mac go to school. But Abby, Mac, AND Caroline get to go to music class.

It’s a lot. Every other parent or caregiver in there has one kid (except one other Mom – she has two).  That fact alone creates pressure.  I immediately feel the need to be super Mom…like since I have three kids, I should have three well behaved kids.  Kids that sit still and listen perfectly. Kids that set good examples for the other students. Kids that follow directions. The list goes on…

And trust me, I’ve received some pretty funny looks from the other adults in that room.  In my mind, they’ve all been looks of, “three kids!? is she crazy?” and “can’t she keep them still for more than 5 seconds!?!”  But is that really what those other adults are thinking?  I have no idea.  For all I know, they might be looking at me thinking, “wow, she’s doing okay with three kids…maybe I could do that one day” or “sheesh..that looks intense, but her kids sure do seem happy.”  I really don’t know.

But in my mind, I feel the pressure. Yesterday’s class was no different. I had my typical “pep talk” with the girls in the car on the way to class…a pep talk that went something like this,

Girls…remember, we’re working on listening right now. Let’s listen to our teacher, to each other, and to Mommy. Remember that you’re the big girls in the class and you’re setting an example for all the other kids in there….let’s make sure we’re setting a good one.  No fighting with each other either.  And one more thing, please don’t run around the room like wild banshees.

How annoying do I sound!? Goodness. And while all the things I say to them are valid and fair, when on earth do I say, “HAVE FUN at music class today!” I think I say it at some point…typically before my long and annoying pep talk…but I doubt they hear it in all the noise.

That being said, they manage to have fun. They always do. It’s just that their version of “fun” means running around the room, being goofballs, holding hands and dancing when everyone else is sitting down, and not following directions 100% of the time.

So, the pressure I feel increases.  I feel overwhelmed. I feel like they aren’t listening. I feel like I’m not representing parents with more than one kid very well.  I feel like I am SUCKING at being a Mom.

And then the class ends.  And I take a deep breath because, well, we’re all still alive and in one piece.

And at that moment, as if the world was trying to tell me something, a series of events happened that made me feel like I’m actually doing okay. The teacher came up and gave the girls high fives and told them she loved how much they were participating. One Mom walked up to me and said, “I just love seeing your girls together – it reminds me of me and my two sisters and how much fun we had growing up.” And another Mom came up and said, “Your girls are so great. They are SO wonderful with each other and the other kids.”

HUH!?!?  Were we all talking about the same kids?

And if all of that is so true (and in retrospect, it all is), why do I only focus on the things they’re doing “wrong” during class?  Instead of seeing the running around as fun, I see it as a problem because no one else is doing it. Instead of seeing the dancing together as pretty darn sweet, I see the fact that they’re not sitting down in the circle.

But really, they listen. MOST of the time.

They are kind to other kids. Almost ALL the time.

They scream. NOT very often.

They love each other and they love having fun. ALL the time.

They’re doing really great. And so am I.

My biggest takeaway from yesterday is the fact that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself, I need to stop assuming other people are thinking the worst (because clearly they’re not), and I need to realize that while guiding our kids and teaching them good behavior is important, FUN is important too. And so is independence. And so is a little lunacy every once in a while.

Kids will be kids. Kids SHOULD be kids.

And Moms (at least the one writing this post) need to chill the bleep out!  (please excuse my language)

We’re all doing much better than we think we are.

Until next time,

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