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You Get More than One Chance to Explain God

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Don't worry! You will get plenty of chances to talk about the tough stuff (and to screw it up as well).

woman talking to girl

Diana Landen: I spent way too much time worrying when my kids were little. Do I regret dragging my daughter out during naptime so her brother could have a playdate?

No, my biggest regret is that I didn't enjoy myself more.

There are enough things mothers really do need to worry about. Here are a few things you don't need to worry about:

1. You get more than one chance to explain God -- and sex, and racism and 9/11. I think I got everything wrong the first time. The time I explained it all perfectly? He was 3. He doesn't remember it.

Besides, they come up with their own interpretations of what you say. I know I never said that my husband put his penis near my uterus -- two times to make two babies, by the way.

The thing is, I got a second chance. We have our kids for 18 years. We can flub it a few times.

2. You don't have to be Arts-and-Crafts Mom. I always envied the moms who made lacy valentines with their children. I never seemed to get around to it. And why should I have? I can't even wrap a present properly. I wasn't good at arts and crafts when I was a kid, either. I just don't enjoy it.

You know what? I am a Book Mom. Our house overflows with books. For years, we read three bedtime stories to my son. Librarians know my children by name. I love being Book Mom.

3. Kids can play with guns and still grow up to be pacifist vegetarians. I was determined to keep my son pure -- no war toys, no violent TV, no bad influences from other kids.

My son had other ideas. He discovered books about castles before he even entered preschool. Not pretty princess castles with magic unicorns, but fortress castles with knights dumping hot oil off the battlements. It's been guns, swords, catapults, light sabers and fighter planes ever since. The first toy he bought with his allowance was a trashy plastic tank.

But my son announced that he wanted to be a vegetarian at a young age. He got along with other children and he didn't hit his little sister. He plays war games on the computer now, but he opposes real wars.

4. There's more than one good preschool. Really. I know you don't believe me right now, but it's true. Take a few calming breaths, step back from the competition and think about it. What is so much better about the "top" preschool that it is actually going to change your child's life? Will it help if I tell you that my children went to different preschools? They are both smart and kind and they both get good grades in school.

5. It's okay to move your children out of your bedroom so you can have sex. Not everyone manages to sneak off and make love on the floor. Some of us don't have the energy to move. Others need time away from our children to feel sexual in the first place. We're adults, we need sex. It it's not happening with the kids there, go ahead and move them. Sometimes you and your husband come first.

6. Preschoolers like gender roles.
They make life simpler. Don't despair if your son won't play with dolls anymore. It's nothing you did. He's trying to figure out how a boy should act. Be patient. One day your little girl will announce that this year she wants to be a witch for Halloween, not a princess. Pink, pink, pink-on-pink will give way to pink and purple and then blue and even red. Give your children freedom to be themselves and show them that you believe in equality. Then dive on in and enjoy the flower fairies while you can.

7. You didn't make homemade baby food?
Get over it. It took me years to get over my guilt that I never made baby food from scratch. I look at the healthy teenager towering over me and wonder why. We really can't do everything perfectly. Breastfeeding is good. Using cloth diapers is good. So is staying sane.

Now if only I could find someone to calm me down about teenagers.

next: Are You Raising a Future D-bag?
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