I had no idea what being a mini-mom was going to be like, or that family life was what I was missing, that loving and being loved by people who didn’t have to be someone other than themselves and worked together to move the group along, calmed my heart and cleared my head. Chase had no idea that I would be so great for Tegan, initially supposing that exposing her to a fiercely independent, intelligent, sagacious woman as a role model would be a gift that he could give her. But it was easy for me to sleepily butter toast in the mornings, pack school lunches, tutor math homework, and all around lovingly but authoritatively structure growth and affection.
Both Tegan and Chase noticed that I had a strong interest in her success, and that I operated with responsibility and a dependability that they could bet on.
You should see the two of them when I leave town! It gets very pathetic, dinner becoming Mac and Cheese and the both of them pouting to me through Skype, “When are you coming home?”
Once, when I pulled up in a rental car, Tegan gingerly approached the unknown vehicle, trying to figure out just who was inside, before bursting into recognition and excitement, shouting my name and leaping into my arms, Chase feeling everything but bashful in his excitement over seeing me again.
People have said to me, you’re so affectionate!
Having Tegan has easily made me more so. I kiss my friend’s children on the top of their heads, holding their small hands, softening my voice.
Here are what were some of my initial stages of becoming a “Mom”
Being a Mom (in additon to an adult) means
- Having an organized car
- Orchestrating a reliable snack system
- Dresses! Holiday, brunch, museum, date night – casual yet sophisticated that can be dressed up or layered with colors
- Large tote bags with maximum function and no excess pockets – if your bag is stuffed- get a bigger or smaller bag!
Being a mother to me is having a secret stash of presents for birthday parties for rewards, I delight in collecting these little treasures to be divided out or combined according to occasion. And I know a six year old gleans no reward from the packaging of a gift, only its contents, the wrapping is just expected, but I buy a few cute bags and foils because it’s rewarding in turn to me to see my present presented so favorably, to see my offering packaged so prettily. I know it’s temporary anyway so I can enjoy. Inexpensive too! Oversized bows with sequence attached to headbands, notebooks, art easels, glass beads, cards, children sized tool sets and art crafts and play swords. A panda themed face towel and shower sponge for a cheeky gift to another mother. Little trinkets and tokens.
Also – bribes for good behavior, think treasure chest! Kids can work towards a goal of picking something from the treasure chest. I’ve tried several paper-based systems but play cash is great; it’s fun and easy to give out and count, especially because the incrememnts are already built in, and it practices a good skill of counting money and exchanging coins and bills for larger denominations. Lakeshore has great educational money.
The House! What a battle.
Mirror, Coat hooks, Toy catcher, Shoe rack, Art, Mail box, Sunglasses, Key dish, Wallet plate, Glass jar, Table or Floating Surface, Trash can, Bench with under storage, Inside door, periwinkle blue, Rope mat, Mailbox key rings!
A childhood home is a magical place.
Build room for the magic!
A dreamscape for future reference
A backdrop, a landscape, heuristics
It’s almost been (only!) a year that I moved down here to sunny Southern California on the invitation of a handsome smart-as-hell guy that was head over heels about me.
Tegan is extremely strong. She uses this strength and stubbornness to get what she wants, which concludes in a lot of fighting between the three of us, but as she continues to grow she will continue to identify what she wants, and she isn’t afraid to figure out how to get it. I’ve seen Tegan in some pretty serious situations, in an emergency room with a neck brace and needles and tubes and fresh stitches, helpfully chatting to the doctors and teasing the nurses. I took the next few days off from work and stuck by her the entire time, answering each question and helping her imagine the different scenarios that didn’t happen, so that she could process the car crash that did. I brought her to buy flowers, to visit her mom in the hospital, I took her for a walk when she became uncomfortable, anticipating her needs. Her anxiety about separating away from adults is something that we work on and struggle against often, but I knew that then was not the time and held her hand down each hallway, followed her through aisles and accompanied her to the bathrooms without her having to ask. We were super grateful that she was okay, and she in turn realized that she could trust me, that I was someone that she loved and I had finally been figured out to be an important person to her. “Ashley,” her voice conveyed surprise and contemplation. “You’re the best person that I know.”
We hang out all the time, literally, if I want a gym buddy, to go get something to eat, or chat about which new movies I’d like to see, Tegan is my 8 year old best friend. When Tegan has a school friend that she really likes, she introduces me to that girl’s mom, saying well my friend and I have a lot in common so probably you and her mom do too! And it’s true. We’re usually all the same kind of weird awesome fun.
When she’s in her twenties I hope I’m not an old fart and that we’ll still chill.
I took this Mom job, overnight. I really wanted to not have babies. As in, not be impregnated, have my bladder sat upon by heavy baby humans, and then enjoy the aftermath of their tearing through my currently small and lovely vaginal opening. I know there’s a huge chance of “bouncing back” but there is a body that has given birth, then there is me. I may very well Takes a while to get good at it, but even though I’m a terrible person, turns out that giving ‘being a great mom’ your personal best makes you a great mom. Moms’ need frequent and sincere shows of appreciation, because this woman could easily be doing something else other than making all of your lives easier and nicer. It’s the role that holds a household in warmth, lightness, and looking-after, and somehow this form of love can easily be taken for granted. Not that I am a warm yellow light that pours over this family and everyone we loved…