Nothing brings into sharper focus your perspective on your life as a sometimes frazzled Stay at Home Mother, than an invitation to apply to appear on a Reality TV show.
'Supernanny' to be precise.
Yep - that's what I got for my whiney post on Monday - an email from the casting producer of the ABC Show Supernanny that basically said 'You don't like Supernanny's book? Well, then come on our show'.
In asking if Supernanny offered refunds, I was kidding. I have had success with Supernanny techniques. They're simple, and they work. We're just having a bumpy patch right now and I was facetiously looking for someone to blame, you know, because that's a better option than having to admit that it might be my fault!
Despite my apparent frustrations in parenting a spirited child, I know we do a lot of things right. Lately my mommy ego took a bit of a bashing, and I was reaching out for tips, advice, and solidarity and I got all three. Thanks to all of you who responded in comments, and via email. It is so reassuring to know I'm not the only
Vanity had me bashing on my keyboard demanding to know how I could get this right, and pride drove me to seek the magic answer that would suddenly turn me into a perfect mom.
Reflecting about this whole issue, and reading your responses two things are crystal clear:
- There is no magic wand that I can wave, and make things better in an instant (damn!)
- I don't have to be a perfect mom.
I'm willing to bet that the Supernanny producer didn't read beyond the first paragraph of my last post, nor did he read any of the other posts in my blog. But, I have to admit, after initially laughing about receiving the email, I did feel a little defensive.
We are not a train wreck family - our kids are by no means out of control. They are completely normal. Miss E in particular is testing boundaries lately, in other words, she's doing her job and she does it well.
What she also does well however, are things I have blogged about before, and feel the need to do so again in the interests of balance, is show us love unfaltering. She makes us laugh, makes us proud, and makes us unbelievably happy that she's in our lives.
Miss E is most definitely a feisty child. She has been this way since the instant she was born, announcing her arrival with lusty cries, letting us know she was not happy to be so unceremoniously evicted from her cosy cocoon. Who could blame her? (I on the other hand was mighty relieved ha ha!)
In her infancy and toddlerhood, Miss E commanded attention from all around her. She is a thoroughly engaging child who regularly amazes all who meet her with her articulate conversation and the depth of her feelings. She has always been extremely affectionate, and repeatedly tells me 'You are the best Mommy in the whole wide world' and 'Mommy, I love you all the way to the moon'.
As a big preschooler, Miss E is now exercising her independence, which is thrilling and sad all at the same time, but it's wonderful to see. She is teaching her baby brother so much, is so playful with him and is undoubtedly his protector. She has come a long way since for the first months of his life, she was the one he needed protection from!
Miss E is creative and a very fast learner - she can pick up concepts in a heartbeat and has a memory for facts and conversations that blows me away. This of course means that we can't pull the wool over her eyes on any matter. She keeps us on our toes.
This is Miss E's first day back at preschool. I am excited for her that she has a wonderful new teacher. That she will make new friends, and catch up with some old ones. I am happy that she's in a loving and supportive environment where her little sponge like mind is going to learn even more. Despite all of this, and even though we've had our challenges lately and will be glad of the break some days, today, I miss her.
Being a stay at home mom in general, and a former career woman specifically, I think I have made the mistake of setting the expectation that I need to get everything right. I excelled in my job and my achievements there were a direct reflection of my skill. It's hard then for me not to take the challenges that we're not doing well with here, as a reflection on my skill as a mother.
I know now that this is wrong. Trying to get everything right is going to cause more problems than it solves, and so my motto from this day forward is in the words of Jill Churchill:
There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.