In the spirit of A Prayer for My Daughter in the book Bossypants, (which if you haven’t read you must read right now!) http://www.parents.com/blogs/goodyblog/2011/05/tina-feys-a-mothers-prayer-for-her-daughter/ by one of the smartest, wittiest women alive today, Tina Fey, I have written a little something for myself as a mother.
THE MOTHER’S PROMISE:*
I, _________________, do solemnly swear to fulfill to the best of my sleep-depraved (yes, depraved) ability this covenant between me and my child(ren) 24/7, 365 days a year.
I will strive to create days that are filled with laughter, bonding, play, new experiences, learning, nutritious meals and snacks and on-schedule rest for all. I will make playdates with other mamas and babes, for they keep us all sane.
Yet if there be a day filled with crying, sibling rivalry, boredom, junk food and failed naps, I will accept this, and work for a better tomorrow. I will not consume an entire bag of M&Ms/chips/gummy bears to erase my pain, as that will merely expand my ass. I will rely via text on the comfort of my friends, and get the kids out of doors immediately. And if there be rain and we cannot go outside, I will not feel persecuted by the universe. I will devise another plan, even if that plan consists only of a visit to Target.
I will endeavor to be frugal, in the hallowed halls of Target as well as in other stores. I will not be led into temptation by an $8 box of organic cookies at Whole Paycheck. I will employ the aid of the Internet, magazines and word-of-mouth for free or low cost things to do. I will actively enlist the word of Groupon on my quest to never pay full price for any activity.
I will avoid the Land of No, turning instead to the land of positive requests. I will demonstrate the wisdom to empathize, not chastise, to tell, not yell, to supervise, not patronize and to breathe, not seethe. Thank you, Jesse Jackson.
I will schedule myself time to exercise so as to avoid bitchiness and the 4-months-pregnant belly that necessitates a new wardrobe. I will have the sense to schedule personal time for myself at regular intervals. And if this personal time come not soon enough, and I feel desperation creeping in, I will make a plan, enlist childcare, don exercise wear or cocktail wear and leave my residence.
In case of meltdowns, I will remain calm and firm. I will not get sucked into the tornado into which my child has morphed. I will give him/her time alone or hold him/her as the situation merits. I will keep him/her from breaking bones by stealthily placing a blanket or towel nearby as he thrashes like a junkie with the DTs.
I will, come Sunday, organize a list of dinners for the upcoming week so that I am not a stressed out mess every day at 5:00 p.m.
I will get as much sleep as possible. If I plan to rest, I will take this rest, AS SOON AS THE CHILDREN GO DOWN FOR THEIR NAP. I will not clean, write, make phone calls, answer e-mails, search the Web, or go astray on the pages of Facebook, only to find that my unpredictable napper has awoken earlier than estimated and stolen my sleep. I will set an alarm if need be, so that I can putter about or prep dinner(!) after some power zzz’s.
I will realize that potty training is a process and that, long though it may take, my children will not cast their first presidential election ballot in diapers.
I will enlist the power of the elephant-in-the-armoire, the TV, in moderation. And I will not be afraid to do so, for PBS is good.
I will endeavor to devote some energy to my relationship with my husband so that we might enjoy our co-existence as husband and wife, and not only mother and father.
I will remain educated and up to date on the latest scholarship and ideas in parenting. I will strive to be more June Cleaver than Roseanne. I will refuse to, however, beat myself up for the forgot to dos, could not do under the circumstances and cannot dos. I will remember that though I may fail, though I may yell, though my kids might watch over an hour of Caillou daily, I am a good mother, dammit.
Bow. exit stage left.
*Adapted from MNS post "The Mother's Promise," premiere July 20, 2011.