Every once in a while, I come across a mom who embodies what I like to call “The Earth Mother” spirit. Earth Mothers are calm, graceful and manage to control their households with a kind of quiet force. They hand out smiles and soothing gestures to their screaming toddlers and other children, seeing this grace under fire, flock to them to feed off of their calming energy (picture Snow White in the forest here). I watch these Earth Mothers wistfully knowing that their parenting style is something that I could never embody.
You see, my parenting energy is more akin to a militant Jack Russell terrier. I stand in the middle of my kitchen wielding a spatula and commanding the troops.
To Parker: “Are your shoes in the middle of the floor? Is that where they belong? Let’s put them in their place and get some order around here. Move soldier, move! Please.”
To my husband: “This weekend, I want to switch around the downstairs guest room and Parker’s playroom. I’ll need you downstairs at 0800 hours to assist with this task. Your compliance will be rewarded with biscuits and gravy. Are we clear? Oh and please and thank you.”
I even have a 2nd in command. Nona, my militant corgi, stands by my side as I issue orders and punctuates my commands with barks. If the person in question isn’t complying fast enough, she’ll get in their face and give him a piece of her mind.
“Woof. Woo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooof. Woof woof woof. WOOF!” (Translation: Momma said to MOVE IT you slug. Now get it in gear and comply with your orders NOW!”)
Now don’t get me wrong, I have tried the calm approach. I found books on how to parent quietly and calmly and I even had a mantra (“Think Softly”). Unfortunately, while I can maintain a calm and playful demeanor when it’s just me and Parker in a private setting, it goes right out the window whenever we’re out and about or when there are any other variables introduced.
I think there are a couple of factors that prevent me from being an Earth Mother. First, I come by my militantness naturally. There was a reason why my brother and I called our mother “Little Napoleon.” Talk about commanding the troops! As an aside, that’s also probably part of the reason why I have such an affinity for Napoleon himself and spent my college years fascinated by the French ruler. I think the second reason why the Earth Mother thing isn’t going to fly in my house is the fact that the sheer volume produced by 2 barky dogs, 2 cats chasing each other and 2 loud boys would drown out any calmly and softly spoken words.
In other words, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will never maintain a zen level of tranquility. Instead, I shoot for making sure that the vein on my forehead does not explode on any given day. I think that’s a realistic goal to have. Hopefully, Parker will aspire to gain enough education to get a well paying job. He’ll need the income to pay for the therapy he’ll need down the line.