Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Better Type of Mommy

Last night we took our daughter to her weekly gymnastics class. Hubby and I both love to watch her, and she’s getting so much better even in the 3 weeks she’s been going. But it is always a chore trying to entertain our son at the same time. He just doesn’t get sitting there for 40 minutes to watch sissy do gymnastics. His favorite phrase to me is “I go in there when I get bigger.” The gym actually has a child’s area that he could play in, and a swingset* outside, but like I said…hubby and I both love to watch our daughter, so we don’t want to leave the area just so our son can play.

So the weekly tradition has been when my daughter is warming up, I take my son to the vending machine and get him emmies (M&M’s). He entertains himself eating those for most of the class. Last night I felt like every mom was just staring at me…giving me a look that said “I can’t believe you’re giving such a young child M&M’s.” Even the lady next to me who had told me my son was "so cute" kept giving me the evil eye. Then my son dropped the bag of M&M’s on the floor not once, but twice – and of course I helped him pick them up and put them back in the bag to eat, ‘cause I’m a great mom like that.

So while he was having a blast eating his emmies and sharing with hubby and I, I cheered on my daughter while she had an amazing class. She would wave to me, and call for me to watch her do something she was particularly proud of, and oh yeah, I was videotaping the whole class. When she was done I got down on the floor and put my arms out and gave her a gigantic hug and told her I was so proud of her and how her cartwheel looked so good and her arms were so strong that she could hold her chin-up for so long! Then we gathered everything up and headed out the door.

I realized something. In that gym there were two types of moms (and dads): The group that doesn’t give their kids sugar and wouldn’t dream of letting their kids eat off the floor, but who also didn’t hear when their child called for them because they were busy talking, and when they did respond it was very unenthusiastic. And then there were the type that didn’t care about a little sugar or dirt, but that outwardly showed their kids how proud they were of them and how much they loved them (the ones that were cheering very loudly the whole time!). On the way home I decided that it’s better for my kids to have some sugar and other “not-so-great-stuff” and to know how much I love them, and how proud of them they are, and that they always have my attention.

*if you google “swingset” it’s actually spelled both ways equally, so I have no idea which way is correct (“swingset” or “swing set”).


Anonymous said...

EVERY parent gives their kid some form of something to entertain themselves with so they can focus. EVERY parent will pick something up off the floor and give it back to their kid to eat (well, within reason....you know what I mean).

Your daughter knew you guys were watching intently. Your son? He didn't give a rat's tushy...he had emmies to eat and share and at the end of the night? Both kids were happy because Mommy and Daddy did something with them and THAT'S what matters :)

a happier girl said...

I'm definitely the kind of mom that lets the kid eat the m&ms off the floor. Sometimes you're desperate. And sometimes those are the only m&ms you have and throwing them away will lead to a full scale meltdown. And is the floor really that much dirtier than a kid's hands which they shove in their mouth all the time anyway.

Amy W said...

We have issues entertaining Audrey while Ashley is at soccer, she justs wants out on the field!

And I am so the parent who doesn't care about sugar or dirt either!!

Julie said...

A little dirt or sugar didn't hurt anyone - regardless of their age. At least that is the theory I subscribe to? : ) Haven't those parents heard of the 5 sec rule - which recently I heard it's more like the 30 sec rule.

Jennifer said...

You're there, watching your daughter, cheering her on, and giving her encouragement. I really don't think that giving your son M&Ms negates the good things you do. Don't worry about it.

Sherry said...

See, now this is why I love to read your blogs. You are down to earth, so caring and such a wonderful mommy to your darling children.
Picking up m&m's off the floor , hey just adds more flavor to them right??? God made dirt and dirt don't hurt!!!!
Your focus on your daughter reinforces your lover for her and the pride you have for her, she knows and that's why she is doing so fantastic in gymnastics. She will exceed in anything she does thanks to you and daddy showing her that you are truly interested. Your son will soon love to go to her classes just as long as that vending machine has his emmies!!!
The "snobby" mom's that care about sugar , dirt etc right how fake is that!!!! Like you said so concerned about the nutrition but not caring enough to actually watch their children and root for them, show them the pride and love. I feel sorry for the child and the parent.
Your blog just restores the family values in life that I grew up with and still live by to this day, so a HUGE thank you for being you!!!

Rachel said...

M&Ms are good for everyone!!!!! Sometimes you have to do things like that. And, it's nobody's business but your own!

Mommyca said...

A little dirt never hurt..right?:o) And yeah, we give our daughter m&m's too!(and other candy too)

Shari said...

My brother called them emmie's when he was little too. LOL, I'm so the mom that doesn't care about a little sugar or a little dirt. The 5 second rule is in full effect in my house.

And you are absolutely right about the two kind of moms... You know what is worse? I know some who give their kids the sugar so they can unenthusiastically ignore them all together.

Dani said...

I have to say that in general, I ban sugar crap from our house. That way when we are home we eat healthy.
But when we're out and about? Anything that will keep him calm and occupied works. Plus, the bonus is that since he doesn't get it at home, it's a great treat when we're out.
As for eating off the floor. My son ate sand last week because I wasn't fast enough to intervene.
Sand, crabapples, chalk, why would a little dirt matter? Let him enjoy his emmies!

radioactive girl said...

I think I am the same kind of parent that you are. I try really hard not to judge anyone, and sometimes I think it would be awesome if people would think about that before they judge a little snippit of life that they see when we are out. Emmies aren't going to hurt him, and both of your kids seem extremely happy. That is awesome! You are such a great mom!

Edie C said...

You are totally right. The most important thing is to show your kids how much you love them and how proud you are of them. If people judge you b/c of a little sugar or dirt, then they have the problem, not you.

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