Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Becoming the Happiest Mom: The Kids are Alive!

My husband went out of town and left me with the boys and when he returned, the dishes were piled high in the sink and toys were scattered all over the house; he looked horrified. I felt judged so I said, "you should be happy that the kids are alive!".

"Aim Low and Go Slow" is the title of the second chapter of the Happiest Mom. The chapter advises moms to set realistic expectations - for you and everyone around you - and be patient with yourself and others.

Today, I am reminded of the following:

  • No 2 kids are the same. Sometimes the "terrific 2" starts at 2, sometimes it starts at 4 and sometimes it starts at 18 months and lasts until 5.
  • Set the bar high for things that really matter to you. For me, any safety issue is a high priority. I wouldn't chose more than 5 things because if everything is important nothing is important. Set it low for routine tasks, such as sending the kids to school with matching socks or getting a gift to the teacher everyday during teacher's week. I managed to get all 12 teachers a gift card at the end of the week and I am sure they were still appreciative of the gesture.
  • I am sad that my six year old has a cavity but it is not the end of the world - the tooth fairy will appear, a new tooth will replace this one and I will do better with the replacement.
  • So happy to hear that my child is not the first to have mooned someone.  I will apologize to our relatives at Thanksgiving for the next 12 years but when he turns 18, he can issue his own apologies.
  • Don't rush the kids into reaching milestones before they are ready. I can guarantee that the boys won't go to college in diapers.
  • For the past 5 years, I have been meaning to create a "first year" photo album for my now 6 year old. Apparently I am not the only mother with this unrealized goal.
  • In addition to my "to-do list", it is ok to have a "don't do" list and a "don't do ever" list. Awesome advice. Thanks Meagan!
  • I can have it all and do it all but just not in the same day or month or even the same year. I can happily live with that reality.
After several unsuccessful attempts at a family meal at a relatively nice restaurant, I have learned that "aiming low and going slow" means stick to restaurants that are super kid friendly. Why spend the entire dinner asking a 3 year old to be quiet or prying the knives from the baby's hands or diving to catch the glass that he is about to throw. 

At my bridal shower, my friend Gladis gave me the best advice. She said "lower your expectations and you will have a happy marriage." I think this is also good advice for raising kids because it allows us to be realistic with our expectations of ourselves, our kids and our spouses and every good thing that happens is a reason to celebrate.  


  1. I can totally relate to your blog, I too have two boys, ages 5 & 6, only 15 months apart and presently doing it along (husband in jail). It's challenging, but soooo joyful at the same time, I reflect back at the end of the night when all is quiet how I cannot imagine my life without them.

    I've just started blogging a few months ago, using it initially to just vent and get out my feelings, but I'd like to turn it into something that other people can read and enjoy as well as getting to review products :) Keep up the good work, I am following you and look forward to more posts.

  2. Thanks so much Beth. It sounds like you are still finding some joy in what sounds like a very stressful situation. I came over to your blog but didnt' see a way to follow you. I will try again. Look forward to following your journey.

  3. So tonight, I heard the most amazing thing ever that brought tears to my eyes! After a horribly hectic day at work, with a husband out of town (for what seems like the millionth time), I was coordindating/hosting a 5th grade graduation party for my 10 year old twin boys' class. I'm not going to lie -- it was a big pain in the "you-know-what" and I was both frustrated by others and annoyed by myself for all the damn coordinating emails, but the party was huge success for the kiddos. What happened at the party came as a total surpise though -- my sons' teachers -- a fantasic male teacher -- approached me, and said, you really should know the one word your son used to describe you. Curious and skeptical, I said, "mean?" The teacher looked at me and said, "No. The word your son used to decribe you was "POWERFUL." He said, your son thinks you are a "powerful" woman. I have to say that it stopped me in my tacks! My son sees me as someone who is in control -- despite my mommy meltdowns -- who has something meaningful to contribute; who mkaes things happen; and who has a voice of her own. I was overwhelmed of this sense that it was all worth it -- the long hours at work and at home, the stress, the running around like crazy from baseball practice to the grocery store -- because I had earned the respect of my 10 year old son. It was a wonderful moment for me that I think I will never forget -- a lightbulb went off in my head, and I felt complete. Of course, all I wanted to do was rush over to him as he danced with his friends, but I resisted the urge -- knowing that I had to let him be his own "man" with his friends. But quietly, as we left the party, I leaned over and told him how much I apprecaited what he told his teacher, that I was so proud of the the young man he is becoming, and that I loved him. He looked back at me, smiled, and said "I love you too, Mom." Right now, all is right with the world!

  4. Wow, what a great story! Thanks for sharing it. When I think powerful, I also think STRONG. Your son thinks that you are strong and influential. He is clearly very proud of you and you should be so very proud of yourself!


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