Keep Calm….I'm Just Not That Kinda Mom
Makesha D ~ TMN guest writer
Ok, so how many times have we seen toddler shows where the kids are dressed up like combinations of Ballerina Barbie and Chi Chi Rodriguez in “To Wong Foo”? Great movie by the way. Well ,maybe John Leguizamo is a stretch, but the just of it is, there are a lot of little pint-size pageant divas in the making that have the unyielding support of moms that secretly may not want to confess to living their adolescent prom queen dreams out through their daughters. Poor babies. Here’s the thing. I have no problem with encouraging our kids to try an array of different artistic and cultural experiences. Certainly the idea of creating well-balanced, artistically- diverse, kids is one that will not receive too many challenges. For many of us, the opportunity to expose our children to tap dance, ballet, kick-boxing and mural painting is a far stretch from our days of playing the second chair flute in concert band or being chosen as “Best Break Dancer” Spring Fling 96. We are opportune now in that we are able to afford more luxuries (sometimes to a fault) to our children. The complexity, however, happens when we lose balance between the true interest and desires of our mini me’s and the secret, unfulfilled aspirations of ours own. And while we may have not realized, we are attempting to manifest through pageant preps and cheer sticks in the very being of our antsy 4 year old all for the sake of being that kinda mom. Hitting home? Well, let’s not take away too much. There is hope for us yet.
I can admit, growing up, I was just not that kinda girl. Most of my youth was spent scuffing my knees in mud mountains, indirectly practicing for Ringling Brothers doing somersaults off trampolines, and getting my Jackson dad on with writing and producing a music group composed of whatever weekend cousin visited and could be swayed with a loaded rubber band. No rehearsals, no Nintendo. Sorry guys. Denim ruffled skirts, Glitter Magic, and polish parties were certainly not on my Kid Survival Guide. So as I got older, of course the pressure known as “Peer” set in. I can honestly say I made attempts to be that kinda girl. Junior prom was the first time make-up and I ever saw each other’s face and as a Friday ritual my crew would be decked in polo-styled Tommy Hilfiger dresses and mini-bags. So attempts were made. My idea of “showing” was a pair of tight flare-legged Angel jeans and an Old Navy fitted tee. Mom unapproved fitted. And of course you had the sentiments that all girls have at that age for crushes and the mystery known as men. But I never settled into the girly girl kinda girl. Through college and adulthood I went in and out of phases from heels, to extra shiny lip gloss, to Chuck Taylors and long denim skirts, to sports jersey dresses and baseball socks and everything in between. And when talks of children came along in my adulthood, I always felt like the Stork Deities would surely be gracious and bestow me with a rough and tuff, Afro puff little boy that I could teach my tumbling act. Boy or Girl was I wrong. At 28, those bird brains got together and decided to shift my plans. Along came my sweet little girl. Boy or girl (sorry I keep doing that) was I in trouble. Or at least I thought.
As a mom of a now 16 month old, not so rough, but pretty tough, Afro-puffed little girl I have found that I added pressure to myself to be that kind of mom. I was plagued with thoughts of “What if she wants to have polish parties, or want to wear matching maxis on Saturday trips to the mall? What will I do? And when she gets older, what if she wants a tutorial on how to apply foundation and color and make-up components that makes me nervous just thinking about them? How will I manage? Ok, I love maxis, but the just was that I felt as if I was not equipped to be the kind of mom she may want. Boy, or girl, (see, did it again) was the struggle becoming real. Or so I convinced myself. Like we all do, as moms, we feel an added pressure to be all inclusive, open, fear-less and free-spirited when it comes to our children. Ideally, we would love to have the savvy of Clair Huxtable, the warmth of Carol Brady, the style of Victoria Beckham and let’s admit it, the business genius of Momager Kardashian. But the reality is, sometimes we are limited to just who we are. And believe it or not, who we are suits our bundles just fine. They will soon come into their own journeys in which those hours, days, lifetimes spent pushing pageants, demanding dance or living out our lives through lasso lessons could all be pushed aside for their aspirations of becoming anything from an elementary school teacher to a reality show somebody, who does something, with really rich people and happens to become rich doing what she does. Either way, we must learn that who we attempt to be and who we truly are both have influences in the lives of our children. And all of us can probably agree that in order for us to allow our kids to be proud and sure of who they are, we must be proud and sure of who we are.
So, how do learn to balance our lives with those of our children. Well, we must learn to be completely honest with ourselves about who we are as an individual. Yes, yes, I said it. That lost policy, known as honesty has to come out of hide and seek mode. We have to learn to accept who we are fundamentally and still be able to find ways to grow aside from our children. That may be accepting that we may not have been blessed with an impeccable sense of style (ladies, an infinity scarf does not automatically mean “Best Dressed List”) or the best dance moves. But that does not mean we should not be proud and accepting of who we are, including our limitations. And that certainly does not mean we have to give up on improving ourselves. In fact, it’s quite necessary that we allow for necessary updates, much like our iPhones and Notebooks. No postponing. Take a dance lesson. Go to a local fashion show or link with someone whose style you adore and learn their secrets. Grow as much as possible. But make sure it is YOUR growth and not something you unknowingly try to manifest in your children. Your personal growth is so vital to bettering your relationship with yourself and your children. And it coincidentally gives them the courage and strength they will need to be accepting and proud of themselves. And that in turn helps to build character and the ability to be in touch with their true interest and desires. The more they are allowed to grow uninterrupted the more capable they will be of adjusting to any challenges life throws their way. Provide the support, guidance, love they need to follow their passions and be bold in who they are. Just do it without the eyeliner!