Monday, September 23, 2013

Thanks for all you did wrong mom!

When it comes to being a mom there is no one way to do it. In fact we all have our own rules and guidelines that we follow. Some of us follow the methods of our mothers. Others see errors in their own upbringing and take a different route completely.

My mom was fun. She'd dance with us, play with us, give us snacks by candlelight just for fun. She would bury us in the sand, wrestle with us. She towed us too and from practices and games. She loved us sooo much. There are so many ways that I hope I am like her as a mother.  But she wasn't perfect. Far from it.

I don't really follow the parenting style of my mother. In fact I think my mom did many things with raising me that I wouldn't do with my own kids. I turned out all right in the end. In fact, I think I'm better than just alright, when all is said and done, but she did many things that I as a mom wouldn't do.

Is that to say that she was a bad mom? No. It means she had a different parenting style and I took what I learned from her and have raised my kids using that (or not using it as the case may be). I believe my mother did what she felt was right. And honestly that's all anyone can ever really ask.

But my mom was very relaxed about what we watched or listened to. My exposure to slightly more mature movies and music not only desensitized me to what I was seeing and hearing but it also made me encounter themes that I probably was not old enough to see.

She didn't read my diary or as I got older check my pager or cell phone. She didn't speak to my friends parents when I said we were sleeping at her house. She trusted me. She didn't snoop or question me too much either.

Was her mistake to trust me? Well... frankly, yes it was. I was a child. And though I appreciate, love and am grateful for her trust in me it was misplaced. We were kids, we pushed the limits and tested boundaries. I believe part of the issue was I never gave my mom a reason to mistrust me. Not because I was such and angel, but I was that good at hiding.

But my mom also believed I had to make my own choices and learn responsibility on my own. And I did. Slowly I might add. Her discipline ranged from extreme to laughable and varied depending on her mood. Small rule infractions could reap huge punishments while a major rule break could get a warning. Because it wasn't consistent I honestly wasn't too worried because if I got in trouble I may or may not be grounded. Not knowing made the risk much less intimidating.

So what I am getting at, the surprising point of this is... I learned a lot from my mom. Sure I don't agree with her but that is what taught me so much. I learned that my child can be trusted but not trusted blindly. I learned that they can make their own choices when I present them with options. And they learn responsibility along with consequences. And when it comes to discipline I am firm, fair and consistent (usually).

So while many of us follow the model of mother we were given there are those who, like me, take a different route. I don't agree with all the things my mom did but I am using it to learn with my kids and I hope they will learn from my mistakes (actually I'd hope not to make any but let's be realistic).

So this is a thank you to my mom. Sure you may have not been the picture perfect model but  you turned me into the best mom I know how to be. And that means everything to me and to my kids and hopefully one day they will look back and thank me for all I did wrong too.