A Letter to my future teenage kids

If you ever come asking: “Mom, how can I make my friends like me?” my only answer will be: “by never seeking their approval.” We are nice because being nice is an obligation, it’s something we, your parents and teachers, have worked day and night to instill in you. But to go out of your way just to fit in and be a part of a certain group: the cool folks, the elitists, the sports squad, the cheerleaders, the debate club, that’s never going to guarantee an everlasting friendship. Take it from your mother, the only friendships that have stood the test the time are those in which I felt loved, accepted and even celebrated for my individuality. Sure, they thought I was crazy at times, and literally had to pull me out of my shell at others, but we made it through the decades. At our time, nobody really cared whether you had thousands of followers and your social media content went viral. We saw the change each one of us could make, we wished each other well, we cheered each other on, we had each others’ backs, we were sincerely connected by the heart. We never needed an internet connection to maintain a friendship running that deep. Try to make at least one everlasting friendship, kids. Find friends whom you can connect with spiritually and mentally. Don’t melt in a crowd and wonder why you’re constantly feeling anxious, dissatisfied and depressed. Be people connectors, not just people collectors. Someday you’ll understand that rebels don’t spend their time at middle and high school breaking rules and having parties. It takes more to be a rebel. It takes a person who’s not afraid of being called crazy or weird for trying to live by their own terms. That’s a spirit that can’t be tamed.

~Z.

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5 things that parenting is NOT

Ah, parenting…the most exalted, most exhausting job ever. Bringing a child into this world is perhaps one goal we all seek to achieve at some point in our lives, but once we have this child our whole existence is changed. It’s very normal to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and even shocked at how parenting is nothing like what we had imagined it to be growing up. Who would have thought that dinner time, bath time and bed time would be so nerve-wracking at times? In our imagination we only pictured our little ones to be perfectly-behaved, obedient, sweet angels (not that they are not). Reality hits hard sometimes, doesn’t it? But wait, we’re NOT heading down desperation lane with this post. There’s hope, there’s always hope when it comes to how much we love our children. After all, when we are tired, wired and at our wit’s end, it’s only because we want things to go our way and they’re not. Those expectations of an ideal parent-child relationship are simply standing between us and our kids, keeping us from bonding with them the way we had hoped. 

What are we doing wrong? Why isn’t parenting as rewarding as the media portrays it? Why are some parents more fulfilled than others, you may think? Because we often conceive parenting as a set of rules and theories that apply to ALL children. We’ve been socially trained to follow the footsteps of our predecessors in raising our young disregarding the ever-changing environment we expose them to. As a mother of both a boy and a girl living in a modern city, under normal circumstances, I can’t help but observe those fast-paced changes and worry about my children’s future. Will I be able to raise healthy, kind, loving, well-rounded individuals? Just thinking about this grave responsibility makes me hyperventilate! But I know one thing I had to learn the hard way. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a child, a unique child whom you’ll learn to understand as much as you’ve already loved. It takes time. And you’ll get there. In this post I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far in my 8-year-long motherhood journey. I’ve summarized all the irksome, worrisome, troublesome parts of my parenting experience, which you may pretty much relate to. So here are 5 things which are NOT parenting. 

1. Parenting is not a race or a competition: I know, it’s tempting to compare notes with other parents, gather experiences and share advice but once you feel that you’re really failing at this thing called parenting because you’re not doing what other parents are doing, you need to stop. We’re not competing. We’re in this together. And if you ever feel that you can’t handle any more braggers, just keep your distance, there’s no guilt or shame in choosing what’s best for your kids, AND your well-being. 

2. Parenting is a means not a goal: you know that cheesy proverb that says “happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.” Well that also applies to parenting. Instead of worrying about accomplishing milestones and checking off lists, just enjoy every moment you get to spend with your kids. Your presence and role-modeling is enough of an accomplishment. So if you don’t get them to stick to a routine within a week, that’s really OK. Be consistent, yet flexible. Firm yet understanding. The last thing your kids want is to feel their home is more of a military camp than a cozy atmosphere to learn, grow, and just be themselves. 

3. Parenting is not self-sacrifice: We’re always told that fully-dedicated moms are the best moms. Can you imagine how depressing this statement may be for working moms? Why is motherhood always portrayed in such an overly idealistic light? Please stop feeling constantly guilty for excluding your kids in some activities you pursue on your own or with your spouse. It’s perfectly acceptable to want some time for yourself to recharge. Your kids will thank you the most for being a happy, well-adjusted, and outrageously creative parent.  

4. Parenting challenges don’t get easier with time: you know what we parents don’t need along the way? Illusions. But negating the statement that things won’t be getting easier is not…”negative” (does that make sense?)  Actually, it’s not the parenting challenges that will get better, but you’ll be a more equipped parent to handle those ever-increasing challenges. Yes, sadly every phase of parenting has its glitches, but trust me, you’ll nail them. There will be tough days, tear-jerking incidents, and lots and lots of self-doubt along the way, but you’ll be ok. Really! Negativity, busted! 

5. Parenting is not all what you are: when they placed that bundle of cuteness in your arms, you instantly realized that nothing in your life will ever go back to the way it was before. But this doesn’t mean you’ll have to adopt a new personality as a protective, superheroic parent. Regardless of whether the kiddos believe mommy and daddy have superpowers or not, mommy and daddy are (Your name) and (Spouse’s name) first and foremost. Your interests, needs, likes and dislikes should never be affected by your responsibility as parents. In reference to point 3, keep those parts of you alive – for sanity’s sake at least. Avoid falling into the trap of begrudging the single life. 

So whether you think you’re doing this parenting thing all wrong and can’t help but feel lonely and isolated at times, you’re actually never alone in this. Loving someone who is totally dependent on you in their first few years can be quite scary. But have faith in this love and your strength as a caregiver, mentor and protector of this child. You were made for this, and this child is exactly the way he or she is supposed to be. If you can remember to parent the child you have, not the child you always wanted, you’ll succeed in every level of this parenting game, with a little help from them, believe it or not 🙂 

Happy parenting! 

~ Zeina

On raising happy daughters

Every night when you tuck your daughters in, tell them how much you love them. Tell them they’re amazing. Tell them there’s nothing in the world they can’t do if they put their minds to it. Tell them they can count on your acceptance and trust you with their problems. If they come crying to you, listen to them, validate their emotions. Silly things don’t make people cry. If they think their noses are too big, their hips are too wide, their lips are too thin, they’re fat, they’re ugly…hug them tight and tell them everyone is beautiful in their own way and that what matters most is the beauty of their minds and the gratitude in their hearts. Never ever tell them that if they don’t like their features they can have plastic surgery when they’re older. A nose job never made anyone happy. There are many beautiful women out there with the most broken hearts. Mothers, your words are of great influence on your little girls. As role models, you need to put your own insecurities aside when you address your daughters’ insecurities. Let your strength reflect on their thoughts and behavior. Let your kindness embrace their sweet tender hearts. The hardest part about raising a daughter is convincing her to just be herself in a world that seeks to teach her otherwise; nurturing her self-esteem is challenging indeed in an age where the fashion brands you wear define how likable or cool or rich you are. There will be days when she’ll feel so alone, confused, and indecisive. Be that someone she runs to. Your daughter would never choose anyone else over you if she knows you’re the only one who will understand. So make every moment count. Enjoy those little talks, the endless questions, the laughs, giggles and yes, the power struggles that never seem to end. They will be merely memories in a few years. Be sure that she will be as happy as you ever liked her to be by just carrying the best of those memories, and upon recalling those encouraging words you once said. The best way to raise a daughter is not to tell her she can be just as good as any boy, nor that she needs one to grant her happiness. Raising a happy girl always, always starts with a happy mom.
#to_my_daughter 

#my_happiness_for_theirs

#bonding
Love, 

~ Zeina

To those who can’t relate

It’s been a while since I’ve last written a parenting blog post. I don’t know why I always feel unfit to give advice or share my views on parenting. Oh, yes, I actually do know why. Because as a mother of a special needs child, I often feel that I can’t relate to the parenting styles that most people around me have adopted. Or, perhaps, it’s the other way around? Aha… that’s it! It’s mostly people with “normal” kids who can’t relate to my views and experience raising a different-slash-special-slash-unique-slash-amazing child.

Lately, instead of sharing what it’s like to have such a child, I sort of drifted away from my goals for this blog. I haven’t been able to write, and I’d like to say I’m sorry to my readers who feel inspired by my “courage” to share parts of my life. It’s been quite hectic and tough in my household, and I honestly started questioning this whole “raise awareness” approach that I was so enthusiastic about during my early months of blogging. Was I really helping others understand my son better by writing about how hard our life is or was I just arousing pitty?

People still give me this puzzled look saying ‘How do you know he’s autistic, he “looks” fine?’ To me, that’s just saying “we really don’t believe this ridiculous diagnosis, but hey if that’s your way of justifying his misbehavior.” It hurts when people ask if there’s a “cure” for autism or whether he’s getting any better with all those endless costly therapy sessions, and all I want to say is “if you’re nagging about how long it’s taking, try living a day in my home and experiencing this unpredictability and uncertainty yourself…oh yeah, and here is our therapist’s bill just in case you feel so bad for us that you’re willing to pay it.”

I have no spite for parents who don’t have special needs children, in fact I’m always willing to answer any question related to autism and my son, based on what I’ve read and experienced myself. Why would I blame someone who’s never had to deal with all the things I deal with if they wonder “what it’s like” and genuinely wants to help? However, I would blame someone who deems her/himself a parenting expert or an educational specialist if they “can’t relate” to my confusion or struggle as a special needs mother. You simply can’t justify this person’s “lack of knowledge” or “failure to empathesize”. You simply can’t allow this deliberate denial nor tolerate this disregard to your feelings and your child’s.

In this day and age, more and more children are being diagnosed with all sorts of learning difficulties and mental disorders. We can no longer overlook those children’s needs or write off their developmental delays as “phases they’ll get over oneday”. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Until they do (and if they do) we must remember that special kids are no different, they thrive on love and understanding, they feed on support and affection. They need to be merged and mainstreamed, not left behind and isloted as if they were malfunctioning defected creatures. Yes, their lives are hard, but they won’t get any easier if we judge their parents or treat them differently, out of pure ignorance. So to those who can’t relate to my special kind of motherhood, I say: “Get a freaking book already.”

Stay awesome, special moms ❤

~ Zeina

An Open Letter To Moms 

Dear Moms, You must be excited that Mothers’ Day is just around the corner* wondering what crafts your little gems have been making you at preschool or how long your older kids have been saving money to buy you that extra special gift. You must be psyched that finally that one day when mothers are celebrated is here and you’ll get to have a “day off” (Breakfast in bed, anyone?) I know I’d be more than happy to have my family pamper me for the day but you know what would really, really make me happy? Watching my children smile and knowing that they are really happy! Ok, I KNOW we all want that, but sometimes I wonder if we want our children to be happy just to have a break from their nagging, demands and constant questions. Do we really take them out to the park to have fun or do we do that so they can release their inexhaustible energy and spare us all the bedtime agony? Do we buy them gifts to reward their good behavior or to bribe them to behave better all the time? Do we sign them up for karate classes for their physical and emotional development or just to fit in with other families who enroll their children in all sorts of extra curricular activities? 

I have been taking an honest look at my motherhood lately. I know for a fact that it is far from perfect, but you know what? It doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to do any of the things I mentioned to see my kids smile. Being a good mother isn’t really about what I do for my children but how I make them feel. I could be out all day with them, driving them from one playground to another, stuffing their tiny bellies with jelly beans and soda and all sorts of junk food they’re not allowed to consume everyday, buying them every toy they had ever wished for and they still wouldn’t be happy – not because they’re ungrateful, selfish or bratty but because they didn’t notice any happiness in my eyes while I was doing all those things for them. Kids are naturally inclined to seek their parents’ approval, they crave their undivided attention, they want to please Mom and Dad at any cost. Kids love to play and interact with their parents. They want to feel close, and they just want to feel loved. Unfortunately, this very simple fact of life often goes unnoticed with all the daily pressure and chaos in the background. We parents fall into the habit of buying to make up for all the lost time we don’t to spend with our children; That time which in their little minds is translated as love and caring. We are fooled into believing that our kids will be happier if they get that Xbox game or that new bike they’ve been eyeing for weeks. 

We complain about our toddlers’ restlessness to our besties, we hold mommy meetings to solve a friend’s “issue” with her rebellious teenage daughter, we are astonished at how tech-savvy this generation is as if we’re oblivious to all the hours they spend exploring technology – without our supervision at times. Whether mischievous, rebellious or overachieving, these kids may just be looking for attention or approval. How can we be so blind at times not to recognize their basic need for affection? I’m not writing this letter to condemn or patronize. I am certain that moms do what they do best: multitask and make things happen as they excitedly tick off items on their long to-do lists. I know they never miss recitals or forget vaccination appointments. I also know that I could use some advice myself on how to be a more patient and empathetic mother. But I think we moms are treating motherhood like a job at times, rather than a calling. We go about our days performing our duties so robotically that we rarely stop and think about what we’re doing and why we’re not doing what we should. We’re experiencing the ups and downs of parenting as if they weren’t even supposed to happen – with little understanding and loads of protesting. And the worst thing about it all is that we don’t restrain ourselves from publicizing our dissatisfaction – even in front of our children. I say it now with a heaviness in my chest; I am guilty of all of the above. I have sadly let my frustrations control me for far too long. I’ve allowed the fantasy of the “perfect child” ruin the life of my real one. That “perfect child” stood between me and my son, dictating the way I should raise and discipline him. I guess we all want our children to be a certain way. We’ve all had childhood dreams about how our life would turn out to be, including the tiny versions of ourselves. But children aren’t born to be our clones, they have souls and their very own dreams and ambitions. It is when we grasp the fact that we don’t own those little creatures under our custody that we truly begin to appreciate them for who they are. 

I’ve been focusing on “fixing” my child for most of his tender years. Although I have been successful at ensuring better treatment outcomes through earlier intervention, I have failed to notice all the good traits he has. He’s such a talented creative boy on the inside, but we’ve been too consumed with the defiance, aggression and anxiety to help him achieve his potential. One might not blame me for being overly obsessive about chasing after a diagnosis. Perhaps my paranoia is justifiable after all, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have at least done it with his best interest in mind. I confess to being selfish sometimes for trying to change him so that he’d fit in with other kids – so that I, in turn, could maintain what was left of my otherwise incompatible friendships. But some relationships are just not worth saving at the expense of one’s most beloved. I’m sure that we treat our children as a top priority all of the time, but deep down are we just disgruntled parents who are fed up with compromising? I hope that all the questions I raised in this letter would inspire you to accept your children for who they are; to place a hand on your heart as you remember your purpose; to sincerely love your parenting game. These kids may be giving you a hard time more frequently than they should but nobody said parenting was smooth sailing. Parenting isn’t torture either! Relax and be easy on yourself. And if there’s one tip that has never failed me in this journey that I might share with you it’s to pray for your children everyday, pray for their safety, for their health and well-being, for their obedience and devotion, for their happiness and success. Always pray for God to fill your hearts unconditional love they’ll need to lead a fulfilled life. 

What advice would you like to share with other mothers to help them appreciate and enjoy their motherhood every day? Leave your survival tips in the comments below. I’m always thrilled to hear from you. 

Happy Mothers’ Day

~Zeina

* Mothers’ Day is celebrated on March 21st of every year in Middle Eastern countries

What they don’t tell you about Autism

They say autism is a spectrum of symptoms varying in severity and functionality. They don’t tell you about the spectrum of disappointments, exasperations, fears and worries that will always be a part of your parenting journey.

They say autism is a communication disorder. They don’t tell you about the disorder and isolation that will turn your life upside down. 

They say many autistic children like things in a certain order or made in a certain way. They don’t tell you how exhausting it is for you as a parent not to be able to do things spontaneously without facing a major tantrum. 

They say temper tantrums are very normal for individuals on the spectrum. They don’t tell you about the nights you’ll spend crying, wondering if there will ever be a stress-free day in your parenting life. 

  
They say children on the spectrum have certain fixations and rigid interests. They don’t tell you about the time, money, and efforts you’ll spend trying to fix what is seemingly unfixable.

They say ASD children need love and understanding. They don’t tell you you’ll need that same amount of love and understanding yourself to carry on. 

They say ASD children have trouble making and keeping friends. They don’t tell you you’ll start losing your own friends too. 

They say some autistic children can have attention and hyperactivity issues. They don’t tell you you’ll be craving 5 minutes – just 5 minutes – of peace and quiet a day.

Autistic children are special indeed, but autism is a very lonely and foreign place for a parent. Though there may be hope, that hope waxes and wanes very unexpectedly. As you seek to make every day as systematic and predictable as possible for your ASD child, the outcome is almost always unpredictable. 

But as parents, we never give up. We never stop believing things will get better one day. Yes, we accept destiny  with a full heart but we all (secretly) wish we could have just one “normal” day for a change.

#honestyissuchalonelyword

~Zeina

M.O.T.H.E.R.

MOTHER

M is for every “Moment” you cherished for me

O is for every “Obligation” you fulfilled with glee

T is for the “Time” you spent ensuring I’m happy

H is for the “Home” you built on love and mercy

E is for all the “Efforts” I can’t thank you for enough

R is for the “Responsibility” you have taken with love

MOTHER you’re a gift sent from Heaven Above

“Back in the old days”…

With all due respect to the elderly in this society, but they all just need to chill! As a parent, albeit it a young thirty-something parent of two children under 10, I believe I have the knowledge and ability to run my life along a safe course. I don’t do drugs, I don’t commit crimes, I don’t feed my kids litter, I don’t keep them awake till after midnight, I dress them in clean clothes, etc… Basically, I count as a good candidate to parent, thank you very much. If that’s what’s considered “mothering”,  I surely can’t be doing it all wrong! Right? 

This short-sighted vision of parenting, however, does not work very well with today’s definition of the term. To be a good parent you have to be a lot of things, not just a housemaid who slaves away in the kitchen cooking, baking and scrubbing floors, or a hermit who severs social ties to raise a family. 

I’m so tired of hearing stories about how moms did nothing but handwash fabric diapers or those obnoxious braggeries about how they potty trained all their children by 12 months in that golden era. You can forget about stating facts and relaying scientific data related to the physical readiness to potty train which most children exhibit by age 2. If you decide to wait it out against your elders’ recommendations, you’ll be looked down upon as the lazy mother who’s too busy texting and tweeting to notice the signs (because, obviously, children at age one SHOULD already by ready to tell you “verbally” that they need to go.) Trust me, your great aunt is more experienced than your pediatrician. 

I’m really tired of all the well-intended yet unwelcome tips and endless guilt trips the nice old ladies take you on with their remarks. Why can’t they just let this generation of mothers be whatever they choose to be? Whose expectations should we be living up to, theirs or our own? Yes, their days are definitely different, perhaps they did have better days back then. Times have changed, and this stressful lifestyle demands a change in approach to parenting, caregiving and house management. The comparisons make no sense when it comes to multitasking, for example. Mothers in the olden days didn’t have the same tasks, interests or passtimes. In defense of moms like myself, I believe we’re all doing an outstanding job surviving this wretched heartless world while teaching our children all the necessary lifeskills to ensure a safer, brighter future for generations to come. More educated conscious moms means higher awareness (and earlier intervention) to issues that require special attention, like learning difficulties, delays and impairments, or physical disabilities. 

They say we should respect our elders, but how about  a little appreciation from our elders as well? How about the respect we deserve for trying to fix a world our predecessors have left broken? We are certainly not the only generation of parents responsible for the moral degredation we witness today. Instead of constantly grieving over the past, we’d be far better off with a little more help and a little less meddling. It’s our time to make mistakes, just like they did, and our chance to learn the lessons they obviously didn’t learn: To live responsibly and teach responsibility, to raise well-rounded personalities not puppets we boss around at will. We don’t want our children to be us, we want them to be better. As a parent, I want to make sure I’ve left no stone unturned, no study unresearched, no effort unexhausted to see my children blossom. I want to bask in the satisfaction that I’ve done all that had to be done so my kids won’t be disappointed that I’ve been a neglectful parent. If that’s not enough for the generation of mothers before me, I might as well blame my inadequate parenting on every war that has plagued this country, wars that were caused by our elders’ unwise elections and re-elections of corrupt figures of state, rather than statesmen. At least we’re trying to change something instead of whining incessantly.
I will always pay much respect to every mother on this planet who would blindly give up anything to secure every child’s need, no matter what her age is or where she is from or how mean she can be to younger inexperienced mothers. We’ll always need to learn vicariously from parents who have longer years of experience in this domain, but we, too, can learn a thing or two on our own. That’s called life, and no one can live it for us no matter how knowledgeable they think they are. 

~ Zeina
Image credit: adweek.com

Beyond the Body: The Media Spin on Motherhood

Today’s Modern Mom is so different from yesterday’s. She’s an exuberant multi-tasker who can keep up with this age’s extremely fast pace, satisfying both her family and herself. She’s a competent career woman, skilled chef, meticulous housekeeper, affectionate nurse, Supernanny, agile yogi and fashionista. Her perfect life is just too good to be true. At least that’s what our subconscious mind is led to believe. Although this ideal mom exists only in the imagination of the marketing heads of famous global brands, her image of excellence has been promoted as the archetype of motherhood by the advertisers for many years now. This mom arouses our envy for all the energy she has to dress well and look polished while working in and outside the home. We covet her glowing complexion as we question the effectiveness of our own branded age-defying creams that aren’t doing the trick. She must have a nanny, a chauffeur and a personal trainer – we think – because all that daily stress from rushing through mornings, doing house chores, to preparing a hot family meal should surely show on her slender high-school-girlish figure. It’s exasperating to wonder what we’re doing wrong with our lives that we always look so worn out and feel miserable by the end of the day. You see this mom hanging out with friends, attending parties, and getting promoted. “Where does she find all the time and why can’t I be her?” a riled mother may ponder.

The media, which overly fixates on beauty, youth, and sexiness, is spinning motherhood against nature. It is no wonder that feelings of grudge would gradually sneak into a mom’s heart to the point of emotionally rejecting the noble, albeit confining, role of child-rearing. 

The Modern Mom is being shamed by every global female-targeted brand for her post-pregnancy body, dark-circles and grown-out hair roots. Every single commercial she sees on TV indirectly (though not unintentionally) mocks her rather scruffy looks, slowly guiding her to a more whimsical domain which, sadly, exists only in movies, drama series and ads. Yet she speculates on the chances of becoming like this or that star, graceful and polished, even while knowing they’ve got a team of make-up artists and image manipulation experts working behind the scenes.

To counter-market motherhood in “Real Moms with Real Bodies” campaigns is to simply limit a lifetime of love, devotion, and selfless sacrifice to a mom’s physique. A mother is more than just a body, she’s a soul. A soul that gives life…her life to other souls.

I’m not saying a mother should be allowed to neglect herself if she chooses to but it would be unfair to turn the focus away from her real mission to just her body and appearance. It is far more beneficial to market motherhood for what it really is, a journey of a passionate individual through the winding roads of parenting. A mom is not always in control of situations, she doesn’t always make the wisest choices, and she barely has time to eat a balanced breakfast, let alone make effort to look fabulous, before scurrying out the door.

Watching all these celebrity moms smile, strut and strike poses on TV and social media, a Modern Mom becomes certain that she can only attain success by owning a booming fashion enterprise and would only be seen beautiful if she hides behind layers of foundation. Then again, any woman, married or not, childless or not, must feel extremely intimated by the immaculate picture of beauty and youth portrayed in the media.

We don’t need to see a mom’s stretchmarks as a proof for conception. We know it’s terrible to watch one’s body age but there’s far more to motherhood than a sagging body and thinning hair. A mother is an amazing strong spirit, wrapped up in a fragile shell. I hope that someday the media would  truly honor her human side instead of compounding her insecurities. If we don’t owe that much respect to the woman who endures the hardest pain to welcome a child into this world, then to whom should we?

 

Putting parenting into perspective

I try to remind myself each day that my kids won’t stay kids forever. The tantrums will finally subside, the power struggles will end, they’ll eventually understand that rules are rules and they might actually like structure in the house (or so I hope). The whining will cease, the crying fits and sibling fights will no longer be. I am being a little too optimistic  right now, but I really have no choice but to adopt a more positive attitude through all this. If I keep reminding myself of all the things I should be doing but fail to do, or keep beating myself up for not coming any close to the “ideal mother” image in my mind…I’ll just subject myself to more stress than my body and mind could handle. I’m trying. I’m always trying to make things better. I seek perfection sometimes which is a very bad thing to do. Well, I’m trying to recover from this perfectionism. I’m trying. [Say “trying”. One. More. Time!]

Well, it’s true. What is parenting but a long tedious trial and error process with a few sporadic fun breaks? Stress on “few” and “sporadic”. LOL. You try a few disciplining theories, a couple of sleep-training techniques, some tips to banish picky-eating, and you either fail or succeed. That’s it. But you’ll need a whole lot of patience and effort at remaining consistent while you apply any of the above. AND…If your heart is not it, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. Parenting shouldn’t be this hard and a lot more fun but the truth of the matter is if you want to raise happy, successful children there’s a dear price to pay. Your comfort and sanity. Maybe I’m exaggerating here, but I honestly don’t think I can have a clean, quiet home and happy, obedient kids ALL at the same time. It just won’t work. I would be asking for too much if I expect that they’ll choose to play quitely in a tidied up room over chasing one another around the house making silly loud noises. They will want to defy the house rules at some point.  It’s getting them to comply that’s the trick.  Getting them to like being neat and tidy is one way of teaching them how to become more organized, paving the way for a successful responsible adulthood. Which reminds me of how hard my mom has tried to teach me to become this organized, to the point of OCD. And yet, I have my flaws. Perhaps I try to make up for my absent-mindedness and attention-deficit by being a picky perfectionist. So how can I expect my journey through motherhood to be any less hardwork? I am really disciplining myself and my children at the same time. I’m learning to control my temper and tame my reactions as I teach them to control theirs. I structurize their day aiming to have many valuable lesson ingrained in their lives early on. 

When my mom reminds me of so many negative incidents that have happened in my childhood, she recalls them in so much detail while I remember only the highlights. I sense the pain of her memory. I think of how long that day that I vaguely remember must have be for her. I imagine how worried she might have felt, how disappointed or frustrated. “Will she turn out OK?” She must have thought. These are now my everyday thoughts, at least. “Will they turn out OK?” And while nothing can guarantee that except my deep faith in God guiding me through this whole parenting quest, I can be certain that these long long days will soon be just memories. No matter what feelings they’ll evoke, they’ll only take me briefly back to a time when my babies were young and needed me the most. I’ll miss that feeling of being called upon to zip up a jacket, tie a shoelace, or fetch an object out of reach. I’ll miss the tiniest of details which I probably won’t be able to recall vividly as I age. 

It won’t be long before our kids launch into life on their own. The years are indeed short once you put things in perspective. All I could pray for is remembering these seemingly long days in good light.