I’ve been re-reading Confessions of a Slacker Mom. This is a short little light narrative read that my mother in law gave me shortly after Catherine’s birth. I think her reasoning was to point out to me that parenting could be much simpler or much more difficult depending on the path I chose.
Or perhaps that wasn’t her point at all and she merely was sharing a fun read. Long after I had passed on all the pregnancy books to my friends who were now expecting and long after I had realized that these kids were MINE and if I was looking for a book to tell me what to do with them or relying on the opinion of my pediatrician to guide me then the entire process from infancy to adulthood was going to be extremely tedious, I held on the tiny little paperback copy of Confessions of a Slacker Mom. I wasn’t sure why at first. Initially I went so far as to blame the size that it was small as the reason but then I decided I would share it with a friend who had recently become a parent. When that friend’s son turned 3 and I realized I’d yet to loan her the book to read it finally hit me that I liked it. I wasn’t ready to part with it yet. It was short and a fast enough read to periodically allow me to indulge myself while at the same time clear my head and regroup so that I could get myself back on track again and not feel bad about some of the feelings that I had about parenthood and my kids in general.
I loved the author’s way of dealing with her children. Although even among her slacker tendencies I still felt like a bit of a slacker. Is it even possible to be a slacker among slackers?
This week I’ve found myself toting the book around again. This time I’ve strategically placed it in Catherine’s dance duffel bag so that I can use it not only to pass the time while she’s in class but also to deal with the pesky, overwhelming, and overbearing parents at dance class that I am jammed into a tiny waiting room with while our kids dance in the studio next door. It is pure hell for me each week and somehow sitting on the floor in the corner of the room reading about how to let my kids go and just experience the world around them while I watch swarms of parents elbow each other out of the way for window space to catch glimpses, continuously wave, take more pictures of the same activity from last week, and in some cases try to sneak into the studio to console children who at ages 3 and 4 aren’t able to let their parents out of their line of sight long enough to complete an hour long dance class makes me feel the tiniest bit smarter. I’ll admit it. Just a little.
I don’t mean to be so cocky as to say I’m a superior parent to these other people. I’m not. We’re all parents and all of us are trying to do the best we can with what resources we have and using the skills we know how to use. But I have to admit, I feel reassured in my decision not to listen to my coworkers a year ago when they tried to convince me to enroll Catherine in dance class just because she was old enough to attend. I didn’t think she was ready yet and now I’m convinced she wasn’t. She’s doing great now though. I’m amazed with how well she listens to the teacher, how involved she is in what’s happening, how she loves to practice at home, and how important it is to her. She’s been excellent about coming to get me if she needs to use the potty during class which was one concern I had. There have been no fits, meltdowns, or tantrums. She’s always waiting patiently with hands folded in her lap until it is her turn, and of course I always hear her voice singing above the rest with enthusiasm
(Yes, I have THAT child-the one you always hear singing louder than the rest in the elementary chorus-But it’s ok)