Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am THAT Mom

I'm gonna dust off the ol' blog so I can join in on the unschooling bloggie fun.... thanks for the prompt!

I am That Mom....

I am that mom who still gets hugs from her teenage boys; and knows when a hug isn't welcome and respects that without reading into it. (Like today, when dropping Jonathan off for his first day of football camp. All throughout the gymnasium moms were filling their sons' ears with last-minute instructions, trying to hug them, brushing their hair out of their eyes, while their sons brushed away their hands, rolled their eyes, and practically crawled out of their skin with each doting embrace. How can they find the inner strength to tackle a day of football camp among total strangers when mom's attention is all soft and schmoopy?)

I am that mom who doesn't flinch when her child tells her he wants to cut his hair into a mohawk, or learn to ride a motorcycle, or promote hemp oil as a cancer cure, or sleep behind the couch for three months straight. I am that mom who sees her kids' interests and desires, no matter how unusual or dangerous, as valid, worthy, and do-able.

I am that mom who says, "How can we make this happen?"

I am that mom who gets physically and emotionally ill when I witness (or even hear about) a parent shame, berate, or threaten her child. I am that mom who some days can't go out in public because I'm not strong enough to navigate such interactions. I am that mom who, on those days, feels overwhelmed with gratitude for my relationship with my children.

I am that mom whose child says, "some of my friends need an escape, which makes sense. But I love my life and I love the people in it, and I can't relate to the need for escape."

I am that mom whom other parents thought (and some, probably, still think) was the irresponsible one, the one who'd "pay for it later" when my kids ran wild, became disrespectful, or couldn't function in public due to my "hands-off style" of parenting. I am that mom who knew all along that wasn't true. I am that mom who watches those controlling, authoritative, drastic-measures, zero-tolerance, 'my way or the highway' parents struggle today. I am that mom from whom they now seek advice. Advice I begin with "It's never too late."

I am that mom who knows that because I listened before passing judgement, my kids talk to me. That because I don't over-react, my kids trust me. That because I have no hard and fast rules, my kids seek my advice and input.

I am that mom who believes in 'people over principles' and 'relationship first' and 'everything is negotiable.' EVERYTHING.

I am that mom who will end friendships if they are detrimental to our family's well-being. I am that mom who understands that her children choose their friendships for their own reasons. I am that mom who will tell you to back down if you are infringing on my child's sense of self. I am also that mom who will empathize with YOU when you struggle, when you hurt, and when you want to be better.

I am that mom who can go from setting a proper table to having a sock-throwing fight (ewwwww, nasty!); from scrubbing a floor on hands and knees to watching the "most amazing video game replay ever"; from talking to listening at the moment it's necessary.

I am that mom who believes nothing - NOTHING - is more important than this family. Who'd live in a cardboard box before she gave up a minute of these growing-up years.

I am THAT mom.

Any questions? :)


debra said...

Nope, no questions at all; because I am one, too.

Heather said...

Yes I have a question! Why can't we live closer? ;) <3

dharmamama said...

Day-um! Saved up all your words until they became diamonds!! LOVED this post!

Frank said...

It's about time, woman! (wink) Nice addition to the carnival!

Flo said...

Fantastic, lovely, beautiful! You are an amazing mom.

Ronnie said...


lots more "I'm that mom/dad" entries

Heather said...

Well shit Laura. You win! Actually we all win! Wouldn't trade any of it for the world. :-D

Anonymous said...

and I am that DAD. LOL

Faith Void said...

"I am that mom who says, "How can we make this happen?"

I LOVE THIS. I love it all but this is my favorite line :-)

You are remarkable.

Silvia said...

You are an amazing mom. So glad you'll be at ARGH this time. Just want to give you a huge hug. Um, will you let me? Hehe. Great post btw.

Chris Burnett said...

then you are a mum i want to be:0)
love sam

Stephanie said...

You ROCK grrl!

Laura/CenterDownHome said...

A mom who is tuned in to her kids -- it makes me happy to read this! :)

Jen said...


You are a WONDERFUL mom! You have so many talents and good advice for many other young moms out there! CONGRADULATIONS EXCELLENT POST! You are one of the BEST! I hope too see you soon!

Lots of Love,

Silvia said...

Psst--your link to the I'm THAT Mom page is broken. I think too many http's in there. Double check your url.

piscesgrrl said...

Thx for the heads-up on the link! And Heather, we don't live closer because you keep hugging the edges of the country and ignoring the middle. *pout* *wink*

Thx for the kind words everyone - ever one I've read has been amazing and inspiring!

nettlejuice said...

Thank you for this.
It's so great to read this from a mom of older boys. My three are are still very young and I as I move into the "school" years I crave inspiration from moms of older boys. Thank you. I'm bookmarking this one to refer to later.

Drew said...

Nice seeing u last night. I didn't get back to Lisle until almost 2AM because of all the fog. I realized I hadn't read your blog since I got a new computer. Well, it's bookmarked again. It's amazing how big both boys are growing. It seems like Forum was just yesterday, and u haven't changed a bit. You are the half of the Gemini who takes things the way they come and life doesn't bother her. I wish I could bring that part of the Pisces outta me. I've ditched the Thomas part of my name and took my mom's maiden name, so now I'm Andrew West. My e-mail is acwest@mail.com Keep in touch!

Lori said...

wow. so awesome. thanks for sharing. I am going to bookmark this , and return to reread every time i feel like im getting sucked into this society around me. This post gives me strength . and reminds me of how things are supposed to be. how i want them to be for me and my family. =)

p90x workout said...

Your children are very lucky that they have a great mom who is fully dedicated towards her family.

Carol said...

Beautifully said.

PhsycoFiddler said...

Your words brought me to tears, in all honesty.
I wish I had a mum like you.
I really do.
I'm sixteen and my mum and I don't talk, and whenever we do, she she always assumes, so she gets angry at me.
I'm an only child, so I have like NO ONE to talk to either.
I wish there were more mums like you.

piscesgrrl said...


"It's never too late." :)

A couple ideas, for what they're worth... print this out and leave it for your mum to find. Get a used copy of the book "Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach" (http://www.amazon.com/Parent-Teen-Breakthrough-Relationship-Approach/dp/0452266165) and leave it for her to find (or implore her to read it) - it's about how to create this kind of relationship with your teen. (Your mom is probably just defaulting into the typical parent/teen relationship because that, unfortunately, is "the norm" all around us.) Read up on unschooling, find an unschooling conference near you, and GO. You'll find community there. And finally, FIND someone to talk to. A friend, a relative, anyone - when our given family doesn't provide what we need, we find it in our chosen family.

How'd you stumble upon my blog? Hugs to you.

Beverly said...

Obviously, I haven't been reading blogs for awhile. Nice post! I am finding that the "you'll pay for it later" isn't true.

Karen James said...

So inspiring, thank you.

Magickal Housewife said...

I have been that mom, for the most part, too :) But I have also for the most part done things I am not proud of now: punished, berated, controlled.....but now I am on the path to unschooling, or moreso-radically unschooling my boys :)

Also, I know you from HOUSE :)

P90X Workout said...

I haven't been reading blogs for awhile. Nice post! I am finding that the "you'll pay for it later" isn't true.

Radialabs said...

I haven't been reading blogs for awhile. Nice post! I am finding that the "you'll pay for it later" isn't true.


Nina said...


Thank you for this beautiful post. We have been growing into unschooling for about 2 years using mainly the idea of saying 'Yes' more. It is going great, and just keeps getting better. I do have a question about part of your post:

-=-I am that mom who sees her kids' interests and desires, no matter how unusual or dangerous, as valid, worthy, and do-able.-=-

Will you give me an example of what you mean by 'dangerous' here and how you would help to make the interest/desire as one that is doable?

Here is what I am thinking you meant, please let me know if I am on track. If the interest was 'guns' - provide supervision/safety information and types of guns that are suitable for the child's maturity level? Beginning at nerf, maybe moving onto air soft, then bb guns, etc. as the child shows that he/she can use them safely.


Nina, Francisco, Joel (12), Julia (7)

P.S. I found your blog on the LIG conference website. We are hoping to be there next month!

PhsycoFiddler said...

I'm really sorry, I haven't been on this site for a while, thank you, I'm researching Unschooling now, no words can say thank you enough,

It just came up on 'blogs you might like', and I really do like your blog.


piscesgrrl said...

Hi Nina,

(Long-delayed reply - sorry!)

You're on the right track. What I mean is that my immediate reaction to something dangerous (yes, a desire to use guns, or - to use some real examples of things my son currently wants to do - drive cross-country, or take a 3-day solo canoe trip) is not to say "that's crazy" or "OMG that is way too dangerous." I might say, "Hmmm, that's a cool idea! There are lots of details we need to figure out for that to happen."

I know some parents who seemingly support it by saying "if you do all the necessary preparation (safety, etc), then you can do this" but that still just puts it onto the kid and takes you out of the equation - not to mention it sets them up for failure because figuring out cross-country road trip logistics can be tricky - how will he pay for gas? How far can he travel in a day without getting sleepy? Where will he sleep? What about flat tires, oil changes, etc? Will he carry cash? Who do we know along the route?

Making them figure it all out on their own is a passive-agressive way of telling them no - because many kids will get derailed as soon as they try to figure out those logistics without help.

But it won't make him stop wanting to do it. :)

Instead, I am a welcome part of the equation if I help him work out those logistics - and it gives me peace of mind that if he chooses to do it (and he just drove 7 hrs to Ohio Monday night - not exactly cross-country for us, but it was a great warm-up road trip!) we've tried to plan for various scenarios and have our emergency plans in place.

As soon as you react with "no" or "that's too dangerous" you've put yourself and your child on different teams. Your reactionary decision won't make your child say "she's right - I shouldn't do this." It will, most likely, make her say "Mom never lets me do ANYTHING" or some other dividing thought.

Be your child's partner *no matter what*.

Will you be at Life is Good? If so, see you in a few days!

Extenze said...

Saved up all your words until they became diamonds!!

RevitaDerm Cream said...

I haven't been reading blogs for awhile. Nice post! I am finding that the "you'll pay for it later" isn't true.

Jamie said...

Nice Laura, but how do you handle your 16 year old son asking if his 16 year old girlfriend can go with on your Florida vacation when there's no extra bedrooms? Or we can't afford additional airfare. Do you negotiate that? Or how about when he gets mad at you because we won't buy him the loud muffler 2 seater sports car that is sure to land him tickets and inflate your already too high insurance rates. Would you negotiate that?

piscesgrrl said...

The short answer is Yes. :)
Of course I would discuss it. Why wouldn't I discuss it? The bigger the crisis - imagined or otherwise - the more important the need for discussion and dialogue and respect for opinions and thoughtful problem-solving as partners who are on the same team and who, presumably and hopefully, want each other to be happy. Why can't you get creative on the sleeping arrangements in FL? Can you really not afford additional airfare or is that just an excuse? What if she paid her own airfare? What are you REALLY concerned about? That you're being permissive? That the neighbors will talk? That they'll have sex? It would make sense to be open with what you're really worried about; I'm betting it's not money, and I'm certain you can get creative on sleeping space. And if you're worried about sex, please - if they want to have sex, they'll find a way to have it.

If you squash dialogue in favor of "I said no and that's final" you remove yourself as a person who is reasonable and willing to consider - REALLY consider - your son's thoughts on the matter. Don't you want to be the person he talks to? Asks for advice? Shares fears? If you want your son to be reasonable and thoughtful when making decisions, be reasonable and thoughtful in how you discuss these hot button issues. Model what you want.

People like to use their adult status as a free pass - as in "I know best, so what I say goes." In my opinion, as the adults, we should have more control of our wild assumptions, more creativity in problem-solving, and more wisdom to share.

For a longer version on keeping dialogue open and being a person your teen will trust, read this book. Seriously. READ IT. I did. It's amazing. http://www.amazon.com/Parent-Teen-Breakthrough-Relationship-Approach/dp/0452266165

Jamie said...

Thanks! I'll try to be more open and yes I am worried about all those things. Sometimes if you give in a little too much I think you might just get taken advantage of. Maybe if we state reasons why we don't think we should allow it then he will see it from our perspective instead of just saying no. But every time we try to have open discussions he tunes us out or walks away. I always try to be open minded and give consideration to his requests. Mom not so much and that's when the real conflict begins! Thanks for the advice