Tuesday, April 17, 2012

29 minus 9

Being a mother has never been a natural thing to me.  At the time when I got pregnant, I wasn't even sure if I wanted children.  I have a lot of common sense, and I'm relatively intelligent.  But a good mother?  That's never something I would describe myself as.  I'm not saying all of this in order to get a chorus of "NO!!  YOU ARE!", because that's honestly not my intent. 

My child is fed, he's clothed, he's relatively clean the majority of the time.  He's thriving.  He's loved, tremendously.  But, I yell too much, I let him do what he wants too often.  He eats too much sugar and watches too much television.  I don't make him eat organic, and I let him drink soda every once in a while.  I am NOT a perfect mother, and you will NEVER hear me claim to be.

I don't lock my son in a dog kennel (though the thought of doing that occasionally seems appealing...)  I don't hit him with a belt.  I don't leave him alone.  I am not a terrible mother. (most of the time...)

But what this diatribe is about, is for me to pat myself on my back for my successes as a mother.  The things I'm proud of myself for, the things I know in my heart that I did right.  Things that I know my son is better for, especially since he's stuck with me as his mother (poor kid.)

I breast fed him exclusively for six months.  I continued to nurse until he was just over 18 months old and he self weaned.  The weaning process was harder on me than it was on him.  I also remember the way it felt the last time he nursed, and how I knew it would be the last time.

I developed a bedtime routine very early on in his life.  We didn't perfect it until the last year or so, but I will still maintain that he is and always has been the easiest child in the world to put to bed.  Unless he's sick, he's very rarely up and down throughout the night.

My bed is ALWAYS open, and he knows this.  Whether it's a bad dream, a thunderstorm, or just because, he knows that he is free to come crawl into bed with me.  We co-slept until he stopped nursing, so we've shared a bed often.  His night time trips to my room have become few and far between, but there are mornings that I wake up with feet in my back, or breath on my face, not knowing that he had even crept into my room in the middle of the night.

I have instilled in him the acceptance of those around us, regardless of their differences.  People have different skin tones.  Aiden's greatest accomplishment is getting as dark in the summer as my friend Ed.  "Look at my back!  I'm dark like ED!"  He'll exclaim.  The conversation about gay relationships went something like this; "Why does M have a boyfriend and not a girlfriend?"  "Because M loves his boyfriend."  "Oh. Ok."  There are no strangers in my son's life, and although this scares me from time to time, it makes me happy to know that he's able to make friends with anyone.

He self-advocates.  There are things he's shy about, his feet for one.  He's not afraid to ask questions.  He orders his own meal when we go out to eat, he asks where the restroom is on his own without any help from mom, and a few times I have given him a dollar and let him run into the gas station to get himself a treat, he was beaming from ear to ear when he did.

He has never known poverty, even though we were neck deep in it for the first 6+ years of his life.  He knows what it's like to WANT something, but not to NEED it and not get it.

I am not a perfect mom.  My son is not a perfect child.  But he's mine, and he's loved, and for right now I think I've done a pretty damn good job.

1 comment:

  1. This made me cry.

    I think part of what makes you such an awesome mom is your willingness to learn and go with the flow and acknowledge you AREN'T perfect. (said as someone who isn't a parent of course but it's probably true of a lot of things!)

    You have done an incredible job.