I'm lucky on Mother's Day. I get to spend the day alone with my boys, which is kind of like any other day of the year, but different in that I get to boss everybody around. Okay, this Sunday's really like any other day of the year.
I didn't want to be a mom when I was younger. I never had a wedding/marriage/motherhood fantasy. All of my childhood dreams involved living in Paris ALONE as some type of artist. Getting married didn't occur to me until I was in college. I still never planned on it (as evidenced by how awful my wedding was--no class, no taste, no panache--just a thrown together mess of a ceremony and party) until the last minute. Having babies was part of the deal I made with Mr. D. You see, he really wanted kids. I didn't. We compromised by me agreeing to go from zero kids to two--he wanted to have ten. (I'll let you absorb that for a moment.)
Obviously the story ended differently, we have 3 boys. When Mr. T was born I felt pretty stunned when I first saw him. I didn't fall immediately in love with him like you see on TV or in movies. I looked at his tiny body and felt incredibly responsible, however. Loving him was a process that happened as we spent time together. (Don't fret, I adore my tribe, more and more as the years pass. The more time I spend with my boys, the more I get to know them, the more I love them. My point here is that I grew into motherhood, it's been a journey for me, not a destination.)
My sons are a gift and one of my main responsibilities is to keep them safe, healthy and growing strong. Moms have various methods in raising children, and I'm big into cool names and code words. Like "The Drill" is what you do before bed--go potty, wash your hands, brush your teeth, put on pajamas. "TFT" means "Total Free Time," which is what you earn when all your chores and homework is done and you can use TFT to do whatever you want. The big rule about nutrition at our house is "Eat something green every day." Whether we're in the pool or the Momvan, all rules fall under the blanket law "Safety First." This blanket law includes The Mom Code.
As students at a martial arts dojo, my tribe gets exposed to a lot of "Stranger Danger." Karate teachers love covering that stuff. But the truth is 90% of all assaults/kidnappings on children involve people the kids already know. Since I'm big into statistics, I always debriefed my kids after the "Stranger Danger" lessons, explaining to them that the nice man at the grocery store saying hi to them is NOT a scary stranger. He's just a nice man at the grocery store saying hi to them and they should smile and return the greeting. "Odds are, nobody's going to attack you and if they do, it'll be somebody you know. Don't be rude to people. Most strangers are like you or me, just ordinary nice people. But your body is your property and you always say NO and BACK OFF if someone's crowding your space or making you feel uncomfortable."
But then I make sure to cover The Mom Code. "What's the deal with your belly button?" I'll ask. "We have belly buttons because we have moms." "Exactly. Your belly button is proof that you have a mama who loves you." (Profound, right?)
"Now, if you're in trouble or lost, who do you go to for help?" "Another mom with kids," Team Testosterone answers because we've been over this before. "Exactly. That's because us moms have something special called The Mom Code. If some other mother's kid is in trouble, we have to help them out. So if you're in a store, at the park, wherever, you find another mom with kids and they will help you out. They have to--it's The Code."
Sure, police officers and store employees wearing badges are great, but they're not always around. And they're not always trustworthy. But you can almost always find another woman with kids wherever you go and that is the safest person for a kid to approach--and the statistics bear that out. After I explained this to Mr. O, he now includes The Mom Code as part of his Stranger Danger stuff in the dojo.
Happy Mother's Day to my fellow moms. I hope you enjoy a little TFT on Sunday.