Swamp Mother

Swamp mother. Noun. A female parent who does too much crap, gets really stressed out and whines a lot. And forgets the point of life.

That’s me. A swamp mother. A mother who is swamped with meetings and projects and genius ideas that no one else really understands (half the time). Two months ago I started to delegate some of these projects, assigning them here and there to willing hands. Some of this worked, some of it didn’t. Either way, I am here 6ish weeks later wondering why I am so busy. Why I am stressed, frenetic crazy brain, constantly in motion from one thing to the next. Last night my friend called me on it. She said my parenting style is often behavior management and my “busyness” is at the cost of my child. She said my son deserves my attention, a look in the eye for correction and affection. She said all that and neither of us batted an eye cause we knew it was true.

Not one to waste time implementing wisdom (usually), I took her advice. It was really good advice after all. I slowed down. I cancelled one meeting today and postponed another. I talked to my son slowly. I focused on him. I used patience, not anger. I chose not to attempt control over him (which never works – grrrr), but to redirect him, offer him choices, play, enjoy each other. 

Then suddenly, it hit me, how overwhelmed I am as a parent, how I have no idea what I’m doing. I felt like a new employee, first day on the job, looking at this kid like I was meeting him for the first time, and we’re just getting to know each other. Incompetent. I am supposed to teach this child everything he needs to know for life? Who thought this up? But it’s not about my knowledge, I guess. It’s mostly about relationship, about time and intention, value and affection. And my son got all that today – and the day was a success. How do I know?  Because before his morning nap, he climbed onto my lap, wrapped his chubby arms around me and gave me a big, long hug. A hug! Yes, that is success. And I think his IQ increased at least 10 points from all the positive attention because by 8pm he’d also learned the sound a sheep makes: “Baaaaa”, complete with the bleating sound. Smartypants. Maybe he’s gonna be a farmer.

Here are a few snaps of our mother-son day. The weather was frighteningly un-Marchish. So we made good use of the day by playing outside.

Here the curly-haired adorable surveys the house pooch and prepares his approach. Don’t you think he looks like a kid from a 1950’s TV show with that hair and cardigan. I may have done that on purpose.

That is a kid-sized basketball and it’s still huge. Happy he’s still so wee.

A sick papa and out of town mama brought Mr Ashford for a visit. The boys have been friends since the womb so we always love having him over. He’s quite polite. We expect him to have a wildly successful political career.

Oh my goodness. Did the boy find his thumb? All this time we allowed the “bink” to our chagrin only to avoid thumb usage. Drat.

Here he is, scaling the coffee table with the aid of a motor vehicle. (It really is motorized but he doesn’t drive it cause it freaks him out.) He is not allowed to climb on things after his stunt on the kitchen table this weekend. This picture was snapped seconds before we carted off his teddy bear bum to timeout. 

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