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Sometimes I Make Cookies Just to Eat the Dough: True Maternal Confessions
TV moms June Cleaver and Carol Brady have made motherhood incredibly easy and relatively stress-free. Whatever issues were encountered, they were dealt with within 30 minutes. These women always looked fresh and rushed, not a hair strayed, and they seemed to need little, if any, emotional support. With such images lodged deep in our minds, is it any wonder that so many parents or future parents experience anxiety at the very thought of raising a family? Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who became a parent through this and came out the other side unscathed. I haven’t been so lucky.
I started my journey as a mother believing that even though I would make mistakes, I would find the strength and moral will to stick together most of the time. This notion changed as soon as postpartum depression shook me to my core. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t immediately “in love” with my baby. I mean, I loved it, but that limp, warm feeling disappeared shortly after I left the hospital. My eldest son cried more than he did, and to my dismay, all of his cries sounded exactly the same, so I felt completely unable to understand him. I internalized my feelings of self-doubt and didn’t ask for help, mostly because I thought it would be an admission of failure as a mother.
Looking back 15 years, four children and four stepchildren later, I understand that what I had to do was allow myself to be human. I needed to give myself permission to make mistakes, not know everything about my son, and ask for help. I also needed to learn how to take care of myself in order to be strong and healthy for my family. I admit that along the way I discovered some survival strategies. I want to share these strategies with you today in hopes of inspiring you to be patient with yourself as you raise your children. Sometimes it’s the little things we do for ourselves that make a big difference.
Sometimes I bake cookies just to eat the dough.
There, I said it. I love chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s my vice. It’s my guilty pleasure. I sometimes enjoy dough more than baked cookies. I know cookie dough isn’t exactly good for one person, but how nutritious are cookies? If I want to indulge myself, I might as well enjoy the process to the fullest. I often wonder if June or Carol ate cookie dough. We never witnessed it, but maybe when the cameras stopped they gave off a pinch or two. I finally accepted this small indulgence, although I always try to find a valid answer when asked why the recipe did not produce more cookies.
I promised my kids candy for “good” behavior in the store.
This confession falls under the category “a mom should do what a mom should do”. It was a very powerful motivator, especially when candy was the essence of my children’s lives. Somehow the thought of a bag of M&M’s or a Tootsie Pop inspired good behavior. I also benefited because not only did my cherubs do well, but they were so happy to be able to choose a treat that they insisted it was only fair if I chose one as well. A happy mother equals happy children and vice versa, at least in my case. I look back and realize how lucky I was that all they asked for was candy. The demands have increased over the years, and I’m not sure a Tootsie Pop will satisfy like a new cell phone or a new car.
I stayed in my pajamas all day simply because I was too tired or unmotivated to get dressed.
I admit I tried to emulate June Cleaver and Carol Brady when I first brought my kids home from the hospital. I remember getting out of bed after my eldest was born and running to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for my day. In theory it was a wise thing to do but in reality I got up too fast and moved too suddenly or maybe I was just so weak from my c-section. Either way, I found myself standing outside the running shower with no clothes on and clinging to the shower curtain for my life for fear of fainting. After this little experience, I decided it was fine to take my time in the morning, especially if I had nowhere to go, and if I really had nowhere to go, it was fine to stay in pajamas all day. After all, babies do, and look how happy they are!
I turned several pages at a time in my children’s favorite book just so we could finish the book sooner.
Many children seem to cling to a favorite book and therefore want the book to be read several times a day. I’m a big fan of reading for and with children, so the prospect of raising bookworms excited me. On the other hand, I sometimes found myself wishing they increased their request list by a book or two, since the current reading list was quite short. Even an avid reader grows weary of the same material day after day. So sometimes I would skip a page here and there. What I learned about the “page break” was that I had to do it when the book was relatively new. If I waited until I read the book several times, my children would notice that I was taking a shortcut. I even realized that if I systematically skipped the same pages from the start, my children wouldn’t be any the wiser, at least not until they learned to read. It’s good to take a few shortcuts with your kids. Focus on the quality of your time together and focus on giving them your full attention when you can.
I said the words “because I said so” just like my mother.
I never understood why my mother used that phrase until I became a mother to a preschooler. As someone who has spent most of their adult years studying human behavior, I understand that phrase means almost nothing to a child except that parents have a lot of power. This leaves no room for negotiation or (hopefully) further discussion. I also know this phrase is used because, let’s face it, it works. Let me rephrase that. The phrase most often works when our children are young, so we use it and it becomes a habit. (As a side note, “because I said so” isn’t as effective with tweens and teens, at least that’s what I’ve heard – wink, wink) .
As a young child, I didn’t like my mom resorting to that classic parenting phrase. At the time, I remember feeling frustrated, but looking back, I think what I didn’t understand was that sometimes I had to obey my mother just because she was there. main authority in my life. I didn’t often give him enough credit for going through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. In short, I had a hard time accepting the voice of reason. Now that I’m also a parent, that phrase sounds much less threatening. It is so so that, as I said, I have used it myself. The only difference is that now my children are the ones who look at me as if to say “What exactly do you mean by that?” I answer back with “It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s like that”, and I realize once again that I’m becoming my mother, which scared me before, but now it’s not. not such a bad thing.
I want to leave you with a few words of encouragement. Please try to accept that as a parent you will make mistakes and there will be days when you question almost everything in your life. However, I have learned that there will also be many sunny days when you deeply believe that parenthood is the best decision you ever made. For the days in between, allow yourself to be human and find healthy ways to cope. Someone very wise told me one day that I should enjoy every moment with my children because too soon they will grow up and live their own lives. Mom, you were right again, and through your words of wisdom, I’m learning to live in the moment. And, yes, I still eat cookie dough.
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