As a blogger for this site, I try to provide the perspective of a mother with older kids (the perspective of a smart-ass sometimes just slips out).
Beth Falkenstein: It is from that vantage point of experience that I thought I would address any interested new mothers out there -- and share some lies I told myself when I first became a mother 14 years ago.
Big lie. Around age 10, their hearing starts to go bad and they can't hear sounds spoken in a normal tone of voice. I'm told full auditory function is restored when they leave for college and have to call you for more money.
2) I told myself that if I ever criticize, it will be constructive.
When your child walks into the kitchen in the morning dressed for school wearing high tops, soccer socks, capri pants, and the T-shirt from her summer camp (the one with all the Sharpie autographs on it) and asks how she looks, there is no way to be constructive.
3) I told myself I will not compare my child to other children.
This one is almost impossible. The catch is not doing it out loud.
4) I told myself I will always make time for my child.
Aside from the times when I make them lunch, drive them to school, pick them up from school, drive them to dance classes, pick them up from dance classes, help them with homework, make them dinner, watch "Glee" with them, I confess that I am not very good in the quality time department. I blame this on the fact that my mother did not make playtime for me either, so I don't have an example to follow. Fortunately, their father is very childish and makes up for my shortcomings in that department.
5) I told myself I won't make the same mistakes my mother made.
See number 4, above.
6) I told myself I will only feed my children healthy food.
Actually, this wasn't a lie. I really did only feed them healthy food for a long time. Unfortunately, my children eventually figured out the "feed themselves" loophole, and the whole plan was shot to hell.
7) I told myself I will respect my children's decisions and opinions.
In my defense, this is the generation that made Britney Spears a star. Not every decision deserves respect. I can say this with impunity because I used to listen to disco.
8) I told myself I will keep a detailed journal of my children's early development.
I get half credit for this one. I kept a touching, detailed journal for my first child. I'm going to give a copy of it to my second child and tell her to just add three years.
9) I told myself I will respect my children's privacy and will never snoop.
Sorry to say, my curiosity has gotten the better of me at times. But I paid the price. Here is an exact transcript of one of my daughter's more revealing text threads: "Ssup?" "Bored" "Me 2" "Uggghhh!" "GTG" "IM l8tr?" "Mkay." It was painful to realize that I was paying an extra $5 per month to T-Mobile for that!
10) I told myself I will be a perfect mother and my children will never have any reason to complain about me to their friends.
Sadly, this also turned out not to be true. But it's okay. My kids know I'm a nosy, critical yeller who loves them very much. And I'm sure they'll appreciate me for that some day.
At least that's what I tell myself.
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 14 and 11), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|