I am a planner. A Serious planner.
You can ask anyone who knows me, I plan. I plan months in advance. I plan years in advance. I don't like when plans change but I've been doing SO MUCH better at rolling with the changes.
When we invite people over for a party or BBQ or dinner or whatever, I plan for weeks in advance. Seriously, I do.
I plan the food. I plan when I'll clean. I plan what time certain things need to be done by. I plan it all. It almost never goes exactly according to plan, but at least I have a rough outline of how I want things to go.
A few weeks ago we were invited to some friends house for a BBQ. Nothing fancy just a backyard, Sunday evening type of gathering. Friends enjoying each other's company. The party was supposed to start at 3ish.
Yesterday was said BBQ. It was a really good time. We had a lot of fun hanging outside, before the rain came. We had good conversation. Pretty good food. Good drink. And just a really nice time.
We arrived around 5:30 and figured that the party would be in full swing. It was not. Actually they were still cleaning and getting ready. It was weird.
It was not awkward. We felt very comfortable. We offered to help and do whatever we could to help them get ready. There were one or two other people there with us so it wasn't like we were alone. It was just weird. To me.
I started thinking about it last night. Our friends not being ready for us to arrive did not change the fact that we had a good time. It did not make us want to be there any less. It did not change our opinion of them.
Then I drew a connection.
I do things so differently when we have a party. Not better. Not worse. Just differently. People still have a good time. They still come back. They still enjoy themselves.
I also do things differently as a mom. I don't do the same things with or for my kids that other moms I know do. A friend of mine used to give her baby a bottle in bed to help him fall asleep. I don't do that. Does that make her practice better or worse? No. It just makes it different. Another friend won't drive beyond a certain distance alone in the car with her baby. Driving with my kids is a necessity for me. We're just different.
Our mothering practices are so different and varied. We take in information from the different moms and dads that we've encountered in our lives. We take in information from our doctors, our friends, the "experts" books, and of course, the well-meaning strangers. We take all of that in and process it and then we do what we feel is best for us. And while it may not work for everyone else, if it works for us we keep doing it.
My son is still working on potty training. It KILLS me that this kid is still crapping in his diaper but there is something holding him back from being ready to go in the potty. We work on it. We talk about it. We sit on the potty. We're getting closer. Some parents may be horrified that my almost 3.5 year old son is still in pull-ups and diapers but right now it is what works for him and us. I hate it but I have given up to it.
My daughter just recently started taking the pacifier again. She was off the bottle by 11.5 months and the pacifier followed shortly after. I finally had to accept that maybe, just maybe, I should have given my preemie daughter an extra month or two of sucking. She sucked her arm. She sucked her clothes. She sucked her tongue. I gave in about 4 weeks ago and now she sucks on a binky. When it's time for nap, she gets a bink and she sleeps peacefully. Maybe I'm nuts to have given her back the bink but it's what works for us.
Yesterday, we went to a party that was done drastically different from how I would have done it but it was just as enjoyable and fun. Everyday I do things that are probably drastically different from how other moms and dads do it but it works and my kids are thriving. In the simple act of going to a friend's BBQ it was reiterated to me that what's good for the goose is not always what is good for the gander.
Now, to just remember that.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I am a planner. A Serious planner.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:03 AM