The Kind of Mom I Turned Out to Be

February 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

James and I love this new sitcom, The Goldbergs, about a quirky suburban family in the 80s. The kids are all a tad older than we were in the 80s, junior high and high school age, but we can still relate. And while I remember copious applications of Aqua Net, furious attempts at solving a Rubix Cube, and how Poltergeist scared the beejeezus out of me, do you know which character I truly relate to the most?

Mrs. Goldberg.

And not just because she’s a mom and I’m a mom. Beverly, hilariously portrayed by Reno 9-11’s finest, the talented Wendi McLendon-Covey, loves her children fiercely. She meddles in their affairs. She unabashedly reads her daughter’s diary. It’s killing her that her baby boy, at age 12, doesn’t want to cuddle anymore. She sticks up for them to the point of embarrassment. She tries desperately to connect with them, and the more she tries, the more “uncool” they think she is. But she never gives up. Yes, she’s nosy and overbearing. But those kids know damned well that they’re loved.

When I first entered into this “mom” gig, I pictured myself as one of those laissez faire, let’s talk about our feelings and work things out for ourselves kind of moms. I like to practice yoga, and I consider myself a pretty laid back, calm person. Surely my kid would respond well to that. But as all moms know, what you picture in your mind and what really happens rarely jives.

Liam’s personality as an infant was like his eyesight at birth: All those blurs slowly came into focus as he approached preschool age. And I learned early on that what I read from books and advice I garnered from other moms didn’t always work for us. At age three I’d read on BabyCenter how “my child” would be wanting to do things for himself. Put on his own clothes, put on his own shoes, get his own breakfast. But my kid needed to be pushed to do any of those things. Even getting him to use a spoon by himself was a battle.

Liam’s always been emotional, something I chalked up to being two. Then being three. Then, ummm, being four. But now that he’s five and he still screams his head off when a child inadvertently picks up one of his bowling balls at the bowling alley, I’m not sure he’s going to grow out of it. And my chilled out, laissez faire mom self finds herself swooping in, interfering, taking over. We talked about it afterward, how emotional he gets over small things, and I’m working on trying to get him to solve this on his own. But my knee-jerk reaction is to fix it for him. Too kiss his boo boo’s. To cuddle him until he stops crying.

My boy is growing up. It’s killing me that I only get one brief cuddle in the morning, and then he “needs some privacy, mom!” He still needs a lot of help with things, but he also likes to play in his room by himself. He’s getting more secretive about his time. I’m sure if Liam could write a diary, I’d be reading it.

As a mom, I’m trying so hard to shape my child. I limit his screen time. I monitor his bathroom habits. I stubbornly dictate what he can eat and what he can’t. As best I can with such a stubborn, picky eater, that is. But my child is also shaping me. And while being nosy and overbearing isn’t exactly what I aspire to be, perhaps I just need to own it. Because I also love him fiercely, and that’s what really matters.

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