August 4 06

if you’re a mamablogger, chances are good that you’ve seen this article.

I think it’s great that Helen Kirwan-Taylor feels comfortable enough to be brutally honest with her audience and let her “dirty little secret” out of the bag. i’m sure there are many mothers reading, nodding their heads, and saying, “thank you” i’m glad you spoke up for me. and i’m sure there are mothers blasting her. how could she??!! what a horrible mother.

i guess i fall somewhere in between.

I believe in a “kids first, me second” approach to parenting. This, in a nutshell, means that yes, i do, in fact, make some time for myself to do things with my friends or with my husband or all alone, but at the end of the day, the KIDS COME FIRST. The ones who are probably blasting Helen for her thoughts are those who believe in a “kids only” approach. their kids are their lives – 100% of the time.

It seems that Helen, however, believes in a “me only” appraoch to parenting, which comes across as being selfish.

I agree that there are parts of parenting that are less than glamorous, or exciting. there are the school plays, and recitals, and struggling at dinnertime, and having to watch the wiggles over and over and over (when all i really want to watch is oprah) and trips to the park, and playing barbies, and reading bedtime stories, and carpool, and birthday parties.

but, folks, these are things that you KNOW come with the territory when you have kids. When you have children, you are saying that you realize that you are putting their needs in front of your own. why have kids at all if you are just going to hire a nanny to do all of those things?

i do, however, feel that putting your chidren’s needs in front of yours does not mean that you are required to be down-and-dirty on the floor, with your children, 24 hours a day. i think some “me” time is necessary for a mother’s sanity. i don’t see anything wrong with taking some time to yourself to grocery shop in peace without having to worry about your children running off, or grabbing things, or the constant, “i want this! i want this!” and i don’t see anything wrong with saying no when your son asks you to read the 400 page Shrek book for the 40th time in a week.

There are times when i wonder if i’m less of a mother because i work, or because i don’t play polly pockets (i do not. on principle. but i play barbies, and many other less than thrilling 5-year-old games with my daughter) or because i allow my children to have fun at the park and run wild and free. but, the older i get, and the older my children get, i realize that this makes me a better mother. without the “me” time, i was overwhelmed and tired and frustrated (but certainly not bored….) most of the time, and didn’t get to appreciate how much fun my kids are and how much i enjoy being around them and spending time with them.

PS – this is why i need to get off blogger. i’ve been trying to post this ALL freakin’ morning.

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