The Confidence Game

30 May

The Huffington Post is a great resource for well-written pieces about parenthood. They recently asked mothers to share some stories and insights about why you are a GOOD mother. Here is mine:

One of the good things I do as a mother is often the one that I get the most raised eyebrows for and the most sideway glances. You see, I let my kids get dirty.

Now let me be precise. I am not talking a little water on your shoe from splashing in a puddle or some remnants of blueberries left on your face. No, I am talking about letting my kid stand under a fountain in the water park across from the library wearing all of his clothes. He looked like he got dunked in the ocean. I got plenty of looks for that one – more so from the library patrons who were undoubtedly hoping we were not planning on browsing books that day. Or rolling around in the dusty paths at the lake wearing only underwear and sandals– you could barely make out my daughter’s true skin color.

I cannot remember when this started – if it was a conscious decision to let them be wild and free or if I just threw in the towel after pointless pleas for cleanliness. One thing I am certain about though is that getting grubby never ceases to bring a shrill of laughter from my children and that, my friends, lets me know I am doing a good job.

Beaming smiles always have a way of moving you to bend the rules a little bit and dirty smiles are no exception. In this respect, my children have taught me that true bliss may come from the simple act of total uninhibited mess making. I mean think about it, how awesome do you feel after baking up a storm in your kitchen or letting loose with the painting supplies? If you didn’t have the experience to know that messes mean hefty cleanup time, you would probably relish in it even longer. Luckily, ordering a bath or dunk in the pool is by no means seen as a drawback to the getting messy process – it may even be a part of its appeal.

The beauty behind this activity is that is requires very little in terms of forethought. You can wake up after a night of fitful sleep, drink little to no caffeine and still have that magic card to draw upon. Aside from bringing a change of clothes everywhere you go – you just never know when an opportunity for filthy exploration will pop up hence the very wet boy across from the library – all you need is a little water and a dusty corner and you just bought yourself at least twenty minutes of sheer delight from your little munchkins.

Joy, laughter and smiles are all I need to know that this mama is doing something right. So stare away my fellow park-goers – we have come to stomp in the pond guck, roll down the muddy hills and dig in the wooded peripheries. And we shall giggle all the way home.

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