Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Are you the perfect mom? Or dad?

I know. It's an utterly ridiculous concept. 'Cause guess what? No one is perfect. God even said so.

Yet parents today, especially mothers, face intense pressure to live up to ever-mounting standards that become increasingly impossible to achieve.

Of course, it depends on which camp you're in as to which set of standards you should follow. Maybe you're a follower of Dr. Sears and believe in Attachment Parenting. To you the ideal mom breastfeeds exclusively until the child self-weans even if he or she is five, co-sleeps, wears her child in a sling, and is never out of the child's sight.

Or maybe you're a Ferberite or Baby Wisefollower and believe your baby should be on a schedule, sleeping in her own crib and through the night by the time she's three-months old.

Maybe your best friend has her toddler signed up for every class from Kindermusic to Gymboree, but you question how much an 18-month old can really absorb. Or maybe you don't have the $100 extra the classes cost because you gave up the job that would have allowed you to pay for the classes so you could be at home with your child on a full-time basis.

Oh! And there it is...the mother of all I'm a better parent than you arguments: Working Mom vs. Stay-at-Home Mom.

Are you getting it now?

You know it. I know it. None of us are perfect. We're all just doing the best we can to be the best parents we can be for our kids. Making the choices that we think are right. But our choices don't make us perfect and if we make a few mistakes here and there, that doesn't mean we're not good parents. It means we're human.

Choosing to be self-righteous about our personal choices when it comes to parenting doesn't make us perfect. Far from it, in fact. If we convey that attitude to our children we're simply doing them the injustice of teaching them to be judgmental rather than looking at their peers or others through the eyes of love and compassion.

As parents, I think we're all better off if we see other parents as we hope to be seen: as parents who love their children and want the best for them and who weigh every decision we make, hoping we're doing the right things to keep our kids healthy, reasonably happy, and to promote their overall well-being.

I've been torturing myself and my poor husband for weeks now trying to decide if we should enter our neighborhood school's lottery for the magnet Kindergarten class. If Brendan got into the class it would mean he has French lessons every day plus an intensified math and science curriculum. It would also mean that he is stuck with the same 20 or so kids until he goes to high school. Which I kind of But it's possible the academic advantages outweigh the social implications. But I don't know.

If he doesn't join (or get in – it is a lottery!) the magnet class, he can always be tested for the school's gifted class. And then, there's the possibility that academics just aren't his bag. Who knows? He's 5.

Yet, this decision has been weighing on me for weeks. As if the choice I make regarding his Kindergarten class will impact his academic and social status for the rest of his life.

I also have been feeling some (self-inflicted) pressure as I see the looks on all the faces of the parents who know without a doubt they want their wee ones in the magnet class. When I've said I'm uncertain as to whether or not I want Brendan in the class, they look at me as if I've sprouted an extra head. I imagine they think I'm not too bright and that I don't value academics. But as a natural-born geek who was always known as the smart kid I have to admit, I want more for my kid. I'd rather he be the popular kid. Or really to be both. But that's not always realistic.

It's only after spending many wasted hours reflecting on all of this that I decided that I don't care what the other moms think of me. I'm doing the best I can and if I decide that the social limitations of being in the magnet class are a deterrent to my child's overall development and that outweighs whatever academic advantage he would gain by having a little extra math and science, that's my decision to make in concert with my husband. And it doesn't make me – or you – a bad mom if we don't follow a particular crowd.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tell Me When

Hey, Folks!

I wanted to remind you or let you know, as the case may be, that Scott will be playing this Thursday night, March 27, at 1Five0, 1000 Marietta Street, in Atlanta. That's near the intersection of Howell Mill Road.

Scott will be opening for The Lizardmen.

For those long-time Atlanta residents, you'll recognize the name Leslie Fram, formerly of The Morning X on 99.7. Leslie and her husband Lanny West are the owners of 1Five0.

The show is a benefit for Atlanta Pet Rescue, a no-kill shelter and costs $5. There will be free pizza, PBR, and popcorn.

Hope you'll all come out to support great local music and Atlanta's homeless pets.

See you there!


What a busy weekend we had around here!

On Friday, our friend J. and his son, E., who were passing through Atlanta on their way to visit an ailing grandparent, stopped by for a visit. They went with Beckett and me to my MOMS Club Easter egg hunt and we all had a great time.

After visiting with their family in another town that afternoon, J. and E., came back to spend the night with us. More friends came over and we ended up going out to buy curtains for our basement and installing them that night. Brendan and E. played amazingly well together, with baby brother Beckett tagging along as best he could, and had a wonderful time. We all ate pizza and laughed and talked and had a wonderfully relaxing night.

On Saturday morning, we had Brendan's soccer game at 9 a.m. and J. and E. came along with us to that. Brendan's team lost, but he played really well and had fun.

After the game, we all relaxed back at the ranch, had some lunch, then J. and E. headed up to J.'s in-laws house to meet his wife and daughter for the rest of Easter weekend. Scott, Brendan, Beckett, and I hung out at home, watching the Duke game (boo-hoo! I am very sad the team lost because they seem like a great group of kids.) and packing for our Easter trip to Montgomery. After the game we hit the road and got there in time for dinner. We were all so exhausted though, that within, 2 1/2 hours of getting there, we all fell asleep.

I was up at 5:30 on Sunday though, getting my Easter Bunny groove on, stuffing the baskets I bought last year at 70% off the markdown price (making the baskets that were originally $10 each, just $1.50 each!). By 6:30, I had stuffed both baskets, made a pot of coffee, put together a casserole for later in the day, and laid out both boys' Easter attire. And for once, we were all dressed and in the pew before Easter services began.

After church, we all headed over to Scott's brothers for a wonderful Easter dinner and egg hunt. The kids had fun. I enjoyed being with our family and just felt really close to both my sisters-in-law and all the kids. It was a really great day, I thought!

We were home by 8:30 p.m. with happy boys and leftovers for dinner. Brendan grew up it seemed and cheerfully offered to help Scott unpack the car. He ate well the whole weekend (a big concern for me is his poor appetite and picky palate).

He went to bed without a fuss and the weekend ended with all of us tired, but reasonably content.