Monday, July 8, 2013

More Than My Way

Something that never ceases to amaze me is how different we all are.  I know, like, this should be obvious, right?  But I have been reminded several times within the past few weeks that not everybody does it my way.  Not that I have been trying to impose my way on others (outside of my immediate family, and well, I’m mom, so my way is THE way), but I have had a few moments of “huh.” when the person I’m talking to about our plans for this, that, or the other thing looks at me in horror or screws up their face and says something like, “oh, that would just stress me out.” 


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I have friends who might call this an accident waiting to happen.  My kids, and my niece and nephew, called it fun.  Honorary Aunt Stephanie doesn’t seem to mind it, either.


Part of it, I suppose, is personality; some people like to host giant backyard barbeques for their two-year-old’s birthday because it makes them happy to feed so many people and see them all have fun in their space (this is me), while others think that sounds like the seventh circle of hell.  Part of it is probably upbringing; my mom cooked all the time, so I cook all the time.  Also, my children are heathens, so we don’t like to eat out anywhere that isn’t especially kid-friendly.  When I was a kid, we always went to the beach just for walks or to play with dogs or to drive up and look at interesting things that had washed up and we never bothered about sand in the car or wet clothing or dirt, so now I don’t pay too much attention to the aftermath of a beach trip.  We are not so firm in our schedules that a special thing, like letting the kids stay up WAY past their bedtimes to watch fireworks once a year, is a problem – they’ll sleep in the next day, or nap in the car, they’ll probably fight a bit more and someone will cry, but eventually the world will right itself.


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Dumping sand and water from the boots… before he took his wet clothing off and rode home naked.


But would you ever guess that NOT EVERYONE is like this?  Some people, whom I love and respect very much, do things differently.  My husband’s family ate out all the time when they were kids.  Look how much I love my husband anyway!  My sister-in-law and her family do not like sand in their car, so our beach-going styles are incompatible.  Plus, I want to get AWAY from the crowds and do not like taking my kids to the “main” beach during the season, and they do.  Look how much I love them anyway!  Their kids didn’t stay up for the fireworks on Saturday (yes, our hometown does two AMAZING fireworks shows, and I cannot even begin with the insanity and number of dollars spent on consumer fireworks) because the crankiness the next morning is not worth it in their eyes.  I understand that!  


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‘Lil Patriot is not enthused.


It’s good to remind myself that there is no right way of doing things, lest I get all self-righteous.  There are whole industries built on the “my way is the BEST way, the ONLY GOOD way” line of thought, and you know what?  They’re wrong.  Certainly, there are some BAD ways, like never having a bedtime ever for your kids is pretty detrimental, it actually stunts their intellectual and emotional development, and there are some bad ways of eating, and disciplining, and then there are the monstrous things that don’t bear mentioning because they’re so wrong, but there are many many many good ways to do things and sometimes they are incompatible and contradictory but that doesn’t make them bad.  People are different, and that’s a good thing.


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Don’t you wish you could just turn off the voices telling you “THIS.  THIS IS THE ONLY WAY.”  If I believed everything I heard or read, I would be paralyzed.  I would eat nothing but vegetables grown in my own garden, and maybe not those because my parents’ dog used to poop there.  I would think that my lack of artistic skill when it comes to craft projects and my dearth of time for learning how to sew is some sort of black mark on my character.  I would feel guilty all day for telling my son, as I did this morning, “Charles, I am frustrated right now because it is time to go to school and work and you are not following directions” because good moms don’t get frustrated with their kids and they don’t go to work, except when they have high-powered executive-level jobs at which they make a boatload of money, in which case working is actually setting a good example.


Maybe some days I just wish everything could be prefaced with “this worked for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way.”  But if that were the case, no one would ever be able to sell a weight-loss book.


Roger Holeman said...

We sure had a good time, didn't we?

Sarah said...

We had a great weekend. I wish we could have managed more time at the beach, but it just didn't work out. Maybe next time we will have fewer naps to contend with and more time for fun!