Thursday, May 28, 2015

Balancing the Helicopter vs Free Range Mom Type

Have you ever been to the park and noticed the two ladies sitting on a bench chatting and not paying any attention to their kids? These moms drive me crazy.  They are in a deep conversation about what their husband did (or didn't do) last week and can't be bothered to stop their kids from throwing rocks.

We had an incident a few weeks ago where two ladies were doing just that and their kids were off hauling large rocks from the park landscaping around and throwing them on the grass. Throwing rocks looks like fun and guess whose kids wanted to join in?  MINE.  I'm sorry, but we are not throwing rocks around at the park.  It's not appropriate behavior for one and two, mine will drop a rock on their foot and then we'll have a new problem.  I had a hell of a time convincing my kids to not follow along in the rock throwing behavior.  We actually ended up leaving shortly after this incident because Evan got pissed he couldn't join in the rock throwing and threw a fit.  You throw a fit, won't listen to mom and act crazy at the park and we leave. I have a low tolerance for acting crazy in public...

I'm sure you have also seen the ladies who are terrified of everything their kids do. They are constantly saying 'be careful, watch your fingers, look where you are going, take your time, you're too little for that, let me help you etc.'  They drive me crazy too.  I think kids need to learn, play and explore.  They may fall down and get hurt, but isn't that how they learn?  When we spend time with my in-laws this is my number one complaint.  They are constantly worried about what the kids are doing that may hurt them.  Meanwhile, I'm watching them and have zero concern over their behavior.  Kids play rough.  They fall.  They get scratches.  To me, that's part of being a kid.

I like to play and interact with my kids when we are out.  Even if I am with someone, I cannot shut out what my kids are doing and focus on having an adult conversation.  My kids are wild and need my attention.  Evan is in a weird bullying state where he will run and play with older kids, but any younger kids he will try to block from climbing equipment.  I'm not going to just sit back and let our kids do whatever they want.  There are rules to follow and a certain standard of behavior I want them to learn to follow.  I don't want to be too involved though.  I want them to run and play independently.  I want them to explore the world without me hovering over them constantly.

When we are out I tend to try to stick close to them, but then I tell myself not to hover.  However, I can't get too far from them because they are 2 and need me to watch them.  I guess we lean more toward the free range parenting idea, but I am not about to let them walk to the grocery store by themselves so I have a little helicopter in me.  Does anyone else find this a struggle?

This has been on my mind as we are spending a lot of time at parks lately.  Last week they played with a 3.5 year old for almost 45 minutes at the park.  The three of them ran around and played games together.  It was a beautiful thing.  I did something I have never done before at the park, I sat on a bench! I sat next to the little boy's mom and we chatted while the kids ran and played.  It felt incredibly wrong to just sit there, but incredibly liberating at the same time.  I guess I am struggling with where my parental involvement should be at this age.  They obviously need me, but they are growing more independent and want to run and play on their own.  I guess I'll keep flip flopping between the two extremes for the time being.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mom Friends

Years ago when I was walking around with two babies growing in my belly I had fantasized what life would be like after their arrival. Before babies I was working full time nights as a Respiratory Therapist. I was giving up my FT night hours to stay home with the babies. I was ecstatic about the transition! I pictured endless play dates with new mom friends.  I thought I'd be running errands without makeup, my hair up and two littles in tow. I could foresee coffee dates and gossip about mom life with my fellow mom friends. I pictured an easy transition to staying home and thought it was going to be the best thing ever!

Well, here we are 2.5 years post the twins arrival. Reality has set it. I am still staying home with the twins, but the stay at home mom life is not as glorious as I pictured it to be. I have a few mom friends, but none that I would call best friends. I couldn't call them up and be comfortable having them over to my messy house at any time. I am certainly not out breezily running errands or chatting up friends at a coffee shop. 

Taking the kids on a play date means I have to keep a close eye on Evan because he is in a 'does not share well with others' phase. Both of my kids are energetic. VERY energetic. They are always the wild kids. ALWAYS. I have always left play dates feeling frustrated from my kid's behavior. These two have a zest for life. I love it most of the time, but taking them out places alone can be challenging. They are always the most energetic kids in group settings and I always feel the other moms are judging me. Come on, they are 2!

All of this being said, I do not sit at home with them. We go out all the time. I have made plans with friends and met them out, but honestly, I'm so busy chasing my kids around I barely have time to chat with the other moms. I find it is much easier to just head out on an adventure with the 3 of us. I can chat a little with other moms that are out, but I don't feel the need to talk the entire time we are out. I find this frustrating, but I haven't found any moms I've really connected with who also stay home with their kids.

Was I dreaming too much about how wonderful mom life would be? Whenever we go out, it seems there are always groups of moms hanging out chatting. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in some of these places without a friend. I guess I feel lonely sometimes staying home. I thought we'd be out hanging out with other moms more. Maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on this. Maybe it is something that will happen as the kids grow up and need less of my attention. 

Whenever I should have 20 minutes to myself it never fails, one of the kids will wake up early from a nap... ah!!! I've been trying to write this for over a week, so although it's not really finished I'm going to go ahead and hit publish!!