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Ten Things I Probably Should Care About as a Mom but Totally Don’t

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I was at a cookout with faculty and students last night and I sat with a friend talking about life.  She has two rather stimulated dogs and needed to keep them out of the fray, so we sat to the side and found ourselves drawing parallels between mothering of people babies and mothering of doggie babies, whether or not either was technically a baby.  She was talking about the times when she feels like her bodily boundaries become totally breached by her dogs and how it reminded her of my work on the topic with children, in which I talk about being home with a breastfeeding infant all day and telling my partner who comes in for an “I’m home from work” kiss, something to the effect of I love you.  Do not touch me.  I have been mauled all day; I can’t stand the feel of another person’s skin on mine right now. The conversation with my friend moved to how things change in time, and how your very perceptions and positions change, and how little it makes sense to worry about how you’ll handle something in the future since you won’t be the same anyway, so your approach to it will be different than it is now.  In reflecting on that conversation this morning over coffee, I’m thinking of some ways my maternal thinking or approaches have changed over time, so I’ve gathered a list of things I slowly came to not care much about, perhaps because I purposefully reconsidered them or because I just got tired.  Fatigue can be a beautiful thing.

  1. Dirty bedrooms.  My mother quite wisely recruited the labor of the children into caring for our home but she really didn’t focus much on our bedrooms.  I remember the space beneath my bed being crammed with I don’t know what.  Initially, I connected the shape of my children’s rooms to my own maternal value but I’m happy to say I got over it. Every once in a very great while I’ll say Dude. Your room. Lookin’ good. Which is code or Could you make a path at least so I can enter and talk to you?  But other than that, don’t care.
  2. Swearing.  As I’ve mentioned in my post “Curses,” my concern here is more about strategic placement of swearing than on its presence  per se.  If you’re strategic and wise about where you place profanity, don’t care.
  3. Teen alone time.  I found it difficult to not care about this one, but I’ve managed to figure out how over time and across two children.  My kids spent/spend a lot of time alone in their rooms engaged in some combination of creating music, doing homework, playing video games, and connecting on Facebook.  Now, other than calling children downstairs to eat dinner and/or watch a show with the fam (sometimes simultaneously and sometimes not), and occasional queries about whether there is any “Columbine” action going on up there, don’t care.
  4. What (else) gets pushed out when you’re birthing a baby.  When I was in late pregnancy and learned from a girlfriend who had a 2 year-old that one’s body was indiscriminate when it pushed out expellable contents at birth, I was mortified.  I called my mother so that she would tell me it wasn’t so.  She didn’t.  She did say You will have to trust me on this:  you. will. not. care. about what else ends up on that table.  She was totally right. Didn’t care.
  5. Kids sleeping in on the weekend.  My childhood best friend, Elaine, had a rule at her house about 9:00.  At that time on non-school days, her parents made the kids get up and out of bed.  Just because.  This seemed weird to me then.  When I had kids I thought maybe it wasn’t a bad idea to keep kids from sleeping till noon and sometimes after that on a weekends. I got over it.  Don’t care.
  6. Making up snow days.  The school is obligated to hold school on Saturdays when we’ve missed in-class hours due to snow.  But I’m not obligated to drag my otherwise sleeping-in kids, and more importantly self, in to school for that silliness. Not gonna do it. Don’t care.
  7. Kids wearing pajama pants to school.  Just kidding.  Totally care about this one.  Not gonna happen.
  8. My children’s friends calling me by my first name.  Just kidding on this one too.  Totally hate it.
  9. Whether or not young children give their grandparents a hug or kiss.  I’ve never told my kids to give their relatives a kiss or a hug.  I think it teaches them to ignore their own sense of bodily boundaries and to let other people tell them who can touch them and how they should feel about that.  I did tell them things like “tell Grammy goodbye” and most typically they would give her a big ol’ smooch, but not because they were so required.  If they chose to simply say goodbye without hugs or kisses and exercise agency about who they want their body to touch, don’t care.
  10. Loud music.  If their is music amped up at my house and bass is vibrating the walls, it means a child is safe in her/his home, enjoying being bathed in their music, and probably creating it themselves.  So as long as it’s not happening after my bedtime, don’t care.
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