I think the old saying may be true: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As soon as I start feeling like I’m succeeding as a mother, reality takes a sip of my Seltzer and spits it back in my face.
And I become….a Smother. (Yes, like Mrs. Goldberg, pictured below from the very funny modern-day-80’s-comedy.) I can’t help it! I just love my kids so much!
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I may no longer be new to motherhood, but I’m still hard on myself and often oblivious of my smothering. (Please keep reading and you’ll understand what I mean). (I promise, after this long Jackie-tangent, to get to a point!) 🙂
When my kids were really young, I was very hard on myself. If my son didn’t succeed at potty training every week, I felt like a failure. I honestly felt like I had failed as a mother. I have to admit, I got a little Smotherly in my potty training rituals.
As soon as I woke up, my boy was on that little potty. He was on it before play time, Callou time, before swim, after swim, before book time, before bed time. You get the idea.
And if he didn’t go, I wasn’t much fun to be around. Just ask my husband.
I was OBSESSED.
With my daughter, I was a little more relaxed at first. She was 20 months and started going on the potty successfully and I felt like I had won the Lottery. Then we flew home from Disney and I could smell a foul odor the minute we landed at TF Green Airport. Before I even had a chance to put her dirty tights in a plastic bag, I felt that familiar feeling. She went back to her old, smelly ways for several months.
I felt like I was the worst mother in the world.
My kids were behind. I thought for sure they would end up going to second grade in pull-ups.
But you know what?
Before their third birthdays, they each “got it”. Barely any accidents, boom, they were trained.
SMOTHERING hard work paid off.
So I guess I wasn’t the worst mother in the world after all.
Now, things have changed.
Or have they?
My kids are 10 and 13, and I’m proud of them. I try to back off and not smother them too much. (Well…sometimes.)
Yes, we took home a new eight-week-old puppy this weekend. A beautiful, English cream Golden Retriever who stole my heart the moment I saw her. And our five year old Golden, Marley, has been taking to our Maggie really well. Like any envious big brother with a gentle heart. He may give her questionable looks and steal her toys, but he also drops them on the floor to share with her as well.
I can’t help it. Having these two new “kids” reminds me of those early years as a new mother.
The first night, despite my putting Maggie in her crate at 11 p.m. and getting up at 3:45 a.m. and again at 5:30 a.m. to let her out to do her business. Each time, she ate snow or bounced around, came inside and did her business…inside. On a towel.
I felt like once again, I had failed as a mother.
So I removed the towel. Sprayed some “No Go” on the floor and tried again. Several more times.
This time, I froze …and tried to let it go. I watched Marley run outside, and allowed her to follow her big brother. She jumped up and watched Marley as he sniffed around for the perfect place to do his doody. Then she copied Marley. When he was done, she tucked in her backside, sniffed around and then..all I could see was YELLOW SNOW. She did it! Maggie PEED! She peed outside! I was literally hooting and hollering like a giddy girl. She did it!
She peed outside! Maggie did it!
She did it again and again, all day long.
So yay, I hadn’t failed as a mother
She needed to figure it out on her own. And the less I intervened…and relaxed a little, the better off she was.
I’m not going to lie, she woke up and had an accident on the floor today. Once. But I know it’s going to take time. She’s eight-and-a-half-weeks old for crying out loud.
True, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Once a mother
smother, always a smother mother.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to be a little less hard on myself. And them.