But this one? BOOM.
Mother of the Year? My heart didn't just swell, IT EXPLODED.
In the article the author Kelly Bryant states, "In this age where bullying and negativity doesn't just happen in person, but anonymously all over the Internet, body positivity and self-love have become two of the biggest concerns parents have regarding their children." And she's absolutely right. Mothers (and I would argue fathers as well) may be the single greatest influence on their children's body image and self-esteem. (Don't just take it from me, doctors and scientists corroborate.) These kids of ours, both our daughters and sons, they listen when we tell them their bodies are strong and able and good and perfect as-is. They also listen to what we say in front of them, about ourselves and other people, and take it to heart. Not only are they aware that they are physically a part of us and love us just the way we are, they internalize everything we say. Especially right now, at the start of a new year, with January bringing out body shaming talk and resolutions to change physical appearance, we need to be so careful with our words.
"Ugh, that sweater makes him look fat."
"Well, she is dressed sort of slutty."
"Look at these love handles."
"No way am I putting on a bathing suit with these thighs."
"I can't have dessert tonight because I already ate a muffin at breakfast."
"I probably gained five pounds after eating Christmas cookies last week."
"We need to run this mocha off tomorrow."
"These jeans make me look so fat!"
"That haircut is really not flattering for her round face."
|Image courtesy of www.amightygirl.com|
This past weekend I also spent hours worrying and crying and yelling and, finally, hours on the Internet scouring resources to help us parent a child that was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder with severe Hyperacusis. Part of that diagnosis means that she is neurologically wired differently than most of us and hears sounds many, many decibels higher than we do, making her ears very sensitive to noise and causing her ear pain to the point of making her physically ill. The other part of the diagnosis means that she is sometimes volatile and angry, sad and sensitive, overly active and falls down a lot, difficult and amazing, exhausting and terrific. All parts of the diagnosis have been hard in so many ways for our little family. This past weekend we put together an Anti-Anxiety Kit and ordered essential oils and crafted up a Calm Down Jar. The jar is handmade from glitter, glue, a Lego guy and water. I thought, how hard can this be? Um....
|Mine. (Pinterest fail, anyone? Whatever it looks like, it seems to be helping her.)|
This past weekend I also bought tickets for a mama daughter date to Sights and Sounds of Cuba, an afternoon performance of Flamenco, piano, guitar, singing, drumming, and images of Cuban art. For my Lucy's 6th grade class project she's doing research all semester on the country. We've been having so much fun exploring Cuba from Boise along with her, from eating fried plantains and cubano sandwiches at Casablanca Cuban Grill just up the road, scrolling through a friend's photos and watching videos of her belt out jazz in Spanish at Cuban nightclubs, and checking out all the travel and history books on the country that our public library has to offer.
This morning I woke up to sad news that the beloved musician and artistic genius that was David Bowie had died at the age of 69 after a 18-month battle with cancer. I read this really sweet article once called "10 Things All Teenage Girls Should Know" by Caitlin Moran and the suggestions were so perfect - about beauty and sorrow and fear and being true to yourself. #9, though, really hit home today. Doing things differently, challenging the norm, standing out, and being brave sometimes really can change the world. We can be heroes, indeed, as Bowie sang in the 1977 song of the same title.
|Image courtesy of www.bookofsuccess.tumblr.com|
And while I was lamenting the loss of this treasure to the world and Facebooking on my phone and simultaneously trying to get dressed, Arlo grabbed an empty pint glass, dipped it into a toilet full of my old pee and filled it up. A toilet that I hadn't flushed all night long because 1) it wastes water 2) no way in hell am I risking waking the baby 3) I'm lazy. And then?
HE DRANK IT.
I didn't catch him until after a gulp or two (please please please let that be all he drank) and screamed, "OH FUCK! NOOOOOOO!" to which I completely startled him and he dropped said full cup of pee and it splattered ALL OVER MY ENTIRE BATHROOM.
(Which is a bigger parenting fail, screaming the f-word at my baby or letting him drink my urine? You decide.)
I won some and I lost some this past weekend, and every weekend for that matter. Mother of the Year? Probably not. But I do think that my stand for self-love was a huge win - for me, for my children, for all of you. So is being careful how I talk about my body and others' bodies, prohibiting food shaming conversations, being brave, taking risks, and showing my weird true colors to the world. Taking the time to do research on Cuba with my 6th grader is another "good mama" mark I can make. Yelling and flailing around a special needs child with a complicated diagnosis and swearing and letting my baby guzzle my piss? Prooooooobbbbbably not award-worthy parenting.
I don't know what I'm doing most of the time, but damn it, I TRY. I'm still figuring this out.
So instead of Mother of the Year, how about:
She's Trying Really Damn Hard
Sometimes Fucking Up But Really Doing Pretty Good
It may be the best I can hope for.