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Women can be the best of friends, but sometimes, as Moms, we can be highly critical of one another. “I wouldn’t have let my child get away with that,” “She’s way too strict,” “Can you believe she isn’t breastfeeding?” And, then there is the recent iPhone Mom Controversy online in which one blogger criticizes a mother she saw at the park using her iPhone and missing out on the fun her children were having. I admit, I’ve been that Mom. Which Mom? Both!
I’ve been the Mom on the iPhone at the park simply because my clients in Public Relations crises demanded my attention, whenever they needed it! That meant that if my client in Hawaii had a crisis in the afternoon, I needed to answer the phone in the middle of the New Hampshire night. And, if I wanted to take my kids to the park in the afternoon or early evening, I needed to be able to answer an email from my clients in California, Georgia, Illinois. Maybe I was at the park, checking my iPhone between swing pushes and snapping photos of the kids on the slide. But, it was my iPhone that allowed me to be there, at the park with my kids rather than at home or in my office tethered to a computer.
I’ve been the Mom at the park disappointed in my fellow Mothers laughing and talking away on their phones, hunched over in a corner texting all the while with their backs turned to their young children. Sure, I was sad that they were being ignored, and a bit worried that anyone could take them and their Mothers wouldn’t notice. I actually asked a Mother once if my older child could push her daughter on the swings because she was being ignored by her mother and I felt like I was “too scary” as a stranger but that my daughter would make a great swing friend! But, I don’t think its fair to judge every mother based on a 15 minute snapshot into their lives as women and mothers. Each situation is unique, each we likely know nothing about.
Parenting is a hard job. For “perfect” mothers and the not so perfect alike. I truly believe that we all need to work harder at supporting each other and when we don’t agree with something, find ways to offer help and understanding when we can and ignore what we cant. You know, “God Grant me the Serenity…”
My biggest parenting challenge right now is that my children are starting to become angry with me because I work so many hours. I’m currently holding down the fort in four different, busy and time-varying capacities. I know that I am doing what I need to to provide for them, to give them “these cool shoes!” and the “In” clothes, Karate lessons, Summer camps, run the pool in the backyard; Oh, and to, you know, put a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their bellies. But, they take these things for granted, and with good reason. They are children! I’ve sworn off working on Saturdays and have made a point to ensure that they know that Saturdays are family days and they get my full attention. And, yes, while I don’t turn OFF the iPhone on Saturday, I do make sure that the primary reason I pick it up is to snap a photo of my kids in the middle of a rock wall climb, on rollerskates, in the pool, with family and whatever else I can conjure up for a fun and memorable day.
Thankfully I am blessed by two wonderful women, Mothers, that support me and help when they can. My own Mom who makes a point of spending an evening with the kids each week (and sometimes me when I can pull away from work). We call it “Mimi Night” and there’s always dinner and a movie and great family time. And, last week when I was having an extraordinarily bad day, one of those “The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back” kind of days, heavily influenced by fatigue and being overwhelmed, a fish tank was broken with a little help from my son. The fish tank sat on top of my antique dresser filled with my clothing. And, 15 gallons of water poured through it all on its way to my office floor, book bags filled with the books I used to teach, my stores of Christmas gift boxes and gift wrap. One phone call and Mom was on her way, helping me clean the mess but, more importantly helping to clean my soul! Thanks, Mom! I love you!
Then, there is Connie. She’s been one of my best friends since we met more than 10 years ago. Our kids have grown up together. We’ve both gone through some ups and downs and had each others support. Just last week while up in my “cave” (Home Office), I heard the vacuum start up downstairs. No, there isn’t a cleaning ghost, it was Connie and my cousin (brother in spirit), Jared. They were sweeping, vacuuming and cleaning away. Without me asking. Just because. And, I didn’t even have to turn in one of my Connie-made coupons! Thanks Connie! And, Jared! I love you guys!
What’s your Mom challenge?
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