“While Eeyore frets ……and Piglet hesitates… and Rabbit calculates… and Owl pontificates…Pooh just is.” —The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoffman.
I am a mother. I fret. And hesitate, and calculate, and pontificate. Not to mention cuisinate, laundrinate, and referee sibling-gate. I’m like the whole freaking Hundred Acre Woods rolled up into one. I am never just “is”. There is no time to just be “is”.
Having never actually read The Tao of Pooh, I’m reasonably sure I’m missing the entire point. But let’s save that for another day. Today let’s talk about The Tao of Mom.
I don’t claim to be an expert at parenting. Not by half. There are days when I am pleased I managed to refrain from shouting “Please, just please, for the love of God and all that is holy, please just SHUT UP!” There are days when I think if it were legal to sell your offspring on eBay I may seriously contemplate it, at a deep discount. There are days when if one more person asks me for one more thing I think that I may splinter and crack along the seams and break into a million little pieces. Then there are other days when I think, “Hey! Just wait a minute! I’m pretty good at this. Yes, I actually ROCK at this Mom stuff.” The majority of days fall somewhere in the middle, made up of lots of little “For real?” moments balanced with sweet little note moments.
It’s tough work, this parenting. It’s tiring. It’s ceaseless. It’s never-ending. It would be so much easier if there was a sort of indoctrination camp that kids could go to, one that would teach them the tenets of living a harmonious existence with their parents. Sure, it’s a little creepy and Scientology sounding, but what a time-saver! Barring that, there should be a book like The Tao of Pooh which explains family balance and harmony. Maybe it could use cute, little woodland creatures. Or maybe Super-heroes. That would be slightly less creepy.
We need a Tao of Mom. In my head, it would go something like this:
If you are hungry, open the fridge. No, it’s not the Keebler Elves that make sure when you get there the cupboard’s not bare. It’s me. And it’s me that peels and washes the carrots and puts fruit in the fruit bowl. Yes, it’s even me that buys that bag of chips and double sleeve of Oreos. So if you are hungry, you don’t need to tell me, just open door and see what’s behind door number 2.
Don’t be afraid to ask a question, but be prepared to accept the answer.
Try to do it for yourself before you ask for help. You’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.
When you’re bored, read a book. Play a game. Do a puzzle. Use your imagination. Boredom is GOOD. You’ll learn something, feel something, feel a sense of accomplishment.
Don’t ask for anything before a minimum (to be established by parent) amount of coffee has been imbibed. Unless it’s a severed limb, it can probably wait.
Walk away. From your brother who is teasing you, from your peers who are pressuring you, from something that just doesn’t feel right. It’s almost always the right thing to do.
Unless you are bleeding from the eyes, you’re going to school.
Just because I don’t see it, acknowledge it, praise it or judge it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Shake you own groove thing kiddos. Just like you don’t want to go shoe shopping with me, I don’t want to see how your Hogwarts Castle is being built brick by brick. I’d love to see the finished product, but go have fun with your $200 toy. By yourselves.
You don’t have to be a leader. You don’t have to be a follower. You just have to be yourself.
Just because you can say the word “Mom” 57 times before you need to take a breath doesn’t mean you should. The same holds true for burping the alphabet.
Remember I have the power to embarrass you. Naked baby pictures, funny stories involving snot and poop. Spastic dance moves in front of your friends. Never forget.
I can and will take you down if you get too uppity. I love you buddies, but I’m not your buddy. And don’t think just because one of your friends is tagging along that you’ll get off easier. See: Above
Just because something doesn’t necessarily look appetizing doesn’t mean it’s gross. Case in point: lasagna. And even if it is gross eat it. It’s dinner.
There are very few acceptable excuses for waking up prior to 6 am. See: severed limbs, bleeding from eyes above.
I know you probably know more swear words then me. And in more languages. Don’t use them in front of your younger siblings, your teachers, your grandparents, or any other adult and well, you’ll probably be ok. Maybe.
Life isn’t fair. It’s true. And it sucks. But accepting that the times you draw the short straw are usually balanced by the times you don’t—- well, you’ll be a happier, more content person. Life has a funny way of working out.
Know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. This Kenny Rogers lesson has enough oomph between the lines to be its own post, but for now it belongs here. Know when it’s in your best interest to push and know when it’s best to walk away. When you tell a funny joke and we laugh, it’s genuine. But when you tell it 100 times in a row? Then we’re just faking it. Know when to fold ’em, kids. With jokes, with negotiations, with requests for more computer time, cookies, later bedtimes, etc., etc.
Let fault be a word for seismologists . Let go of the notion that everything has to be someone’s fault, that there is always someone to blame. Life, as the bumper sticker says, happens. Like Pooh apparently, it just “IS”.
Maybe the superheroes would help really drive home the message. But then you’d have to deal with the whole trademark issue. For now, let’s just say it’s enough to get it out there in the universe. To let it go. In true Taoist style.