I’m not entirely sure who “that mom” is.  I imagine she’s a nice, happy balance of June Cleaver/Carol Brady/Roseanne.  When I initially found out I was pregnant with our first penis person, I spent those 9 months that I was carefully incubating the little one wondering what kind of mom I wanted to be.

Being raised by my own mother, I was pretty certain of the mom I didn’t want to be.  She was perpetually detached and uninterested.  She didn’t make friends with any of my friends moms and instead seemed to dislike them immensely.  She made it seem as if our friends were unwelcome in her precious inner sanctuary, therefore I never really invited friends over.  She wasn’t very participatory in any of my elementary school parties or activities.  She was all about punishing you for doing wrong and for pointing out your failures but was not very proficient at instead helping you find your inner best or pushing you to strive for excellence.

Not that she was a bad mom.  She was likely a mom, much like myself, trying to find her own way in the mind bending maze that is motherhood.  No one ever tells you that how truly difficult it will be or how many millions of ways you can totally screw it (and your kids) up.  If woman had the foresight into the magnitude of the things they will realize that they don’t know, I wonder how many might just opt to bow out gracefully.  And even when you spend your childs’ entire lifetime trying to do everything just right, there is still a pretty damn good chance your offspring will inevitably blame you for all the shit they find themselves unhappy about anyway.  And, right or wrong, they will be the way you measure yourself forever.

My mom was artsy/craftsy and made our Halloween costumes every year.  I remember the year she transformed me from ordinary girl in to a kick ass Rubix cube….using nothing but a large box that she painted every shade of the Rubix rainbow.  She labored over it for many, many nights and scrapped one entirely that didn’t fit her need for absolute perfection and started over.  When all was said and done, I won a prize in class for best costume.  The winning of this award allowed me to erase from my memory the fact that the box had been a little too oversized and I’d had trouble all day squeezing through door ways and into desks and had gotten wedged and stuck more than once.

She loved to bake and cook.  She spent Christmas after Christmas baking cookies in the shape of candy canes and christmas trees.  Pineapply upside down cakes.  A cake called “Better than S-E-X cake” (I don’t remember the specifics of how it was made but every woman my mom knew agreed that there was a smidgen of truth in the name).   Nothing store-bought could compare to her homemade handfuls of goodness.  She made awesome family meals that would sometimes take half the day to cook.  But tempered with these wonderful morsels of yumminess was the instructions to “get outta my kitchen”.  While she was an amazing cook who learned how to cook from HER amazing mom, she quite nearly refused to teach her own two daughters how to implement the making of any of those remarkable dishes.

She was also fiercely protective of her off spring.  Almost to a fault and often quite embarrassing.  When she once felt a teacher of mine was being unfair and presumptive of my alleged misdeeds, she told this teacher “Mister, when you can tell me that you parted your legs and birthed my daughter, you then can do and say whatever you please”.  I spent the remainder of the year with a permanent red haze of mortification on my face and could never look the teacher in the eye again.

…….So Betty Crocker I ain’t.  I find it much easier, and way more satisfying, to buy birthday cupcakes rather than bake them. Nicklas and I DO find a whole lot of happiness in selecting just the right ones to satisfy his current obsession.  Besides, I figure that the time not wasted baking up something disastrous and inedible can be better spent noshing on goodies and playing with my sons.  I learned how to cook from my husband (and a box full of her recipes that my mom gave to me when I got married). And when I cook, I welcome Nicklas’s presence in the kitchen.  Even if he’s not, at the moment, interested in helping me prep and cook, his delightfully endless stories while his ass is planted on the counter top near by keep me entertained, feet banging on the cabinets below to the beat of the whatever tunes we’re rocking too, while I complete this sometimes mundane task.

I volunteered in both his preschool and kindergarten class rooms every week.  I’m there for nearly every class holiday party that takes place, deep in the trenches of gluing things and game playing and necklace making.  His friends moms are my friends and we hang out as often as schedules will allow.  Sometimes I think the best way to teach your child how to be a good friend is to teach by example.  I thoroughly enjoy having his friends over to our house and strive to make it a very inviting place to be for them be.  I relish in the idea that one day, likely not a very long time from now, our house will be that house.  The house all the kids will want to hang out at.  I find comfort in this, knowing full well that if all the kids (and my kid) are hanging out at our house, its much easier to see your own principles and values are in place in your child and the people he surrounds himself with.

I thankfully inherited that “momma bear” gene….but I’ve dialed it down a notch or two from my own mother’s.  To be certain, I won’t allow anyone to mess with my kids.  But I also try to hang back a step and see if he can work it out for himself before I jump in ready to kill.

I try to be involved without being a hovering helicopter mom.  I try to show my boys how much I love them without smothering the very life out of them.   I tell them how smart and wonderful and talented they are, but not so often that they mistakenly think all things in life will come to them easily.  I impart on them both the wisdom of the things I know and the admission of the things I don’t.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers or be the final word on everything.  I recognize that I’m raising bright and opinionated little penis people and try my best not to thwart their passion for their own thoughts.

And I hope I will leave them with the specific notion of what they will one day want in a woman who will raise their own little offspring.

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