One More Mommy

Thoughts of a mom and her husband, son, daughter, pets, friends, job (or lack thereof), house, family, trying to be more ecologically aware...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Many Moms Make Light Work

The best thing about a moms group is that you can do things with your kids without feeling as if you're slowly losing your mind. Going to the park with a toddler is fun, but the shelf life on pushing a child on the swing is a lot shorter when you have only that (non-verbal) child to talk to. Many of our mom group events are simply park dates and play dates, a time for moms to chat and play while the kids “gain valuable interpersonal skills”, not to mention wear themselves out so they'll go in their car seats and cribs and other containment devices willingly.

Friendship in the mom-realm is different than the non-mom realm because now you are not merely concerned if you like the person, but also if you like the way they act with their children, and by extension, your children. At play dates you see the evidence of a mom's parenting style - how she reacts to her child doing things they should not be doing, how she plays with her child, etc. I think some moms are too strict, but so far I haven’t encountered a mom who screamed invectives or hit her child, though I have met a few who aren’t at the top of my babysitting list (not that I’ve actually had another mom watch Luke yet, because we have minimal lives).

The past two times at the park have made me question my parenting style, as in, am I too laid back? Luke is an active child who loves to climb and go, and gets himself at the top of any slide he can. I've learned that typically straight slides are bad for him, because he goes far too fast, but the spiral slides are good. I also let Luke run a good distance from me before I worry about reeling him back in.

At these park dates, moms have reeled him in for me, helped him up stairs, and guarded him from falling off play structures. I certainly don't mind moms keeping an eye on my kid, but I don't want to be 'that mom' who doesn't watch her kid close enough. So I’ve put a check on myself to make sure I’m not a ‘permissive’ mother.

Because of play dates, Luke is exposed to many more moms and he's recognizing them and is excited to see them, even if he pushes the other children out of the way in his quest up the stairs. I can only think that having more 'mom like people' in his life is good for him from an emotional and developmental level, because I do believe in the whole ‘village’ concept. Different people will add different levels to Luke’s personality as it develops.

As Luke grows through interactions, so do I, as a mother. My comfort level on being goofy with other people's children - which was always very low growing up and pre-Luke, grows each time I see and play with other people’s children. I can see myself becoming the crazy mom to Luke's friends, and I'm thrilled to see that development. At 8, he'll hate it, I'm sure. But it feels like I’m reclaiming a part of myself that was lost in being adult.

I can read a hell of a lot into an hour at the park once a week, can’t I?


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