Friday, May 11, 2012

the mom code

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.

18 comments:

  1. I always used to tell my kids that, too...go find a Mom and she will help you. Unless she's in a really bad mood, so they should probably pick one whose kids aren't acting like brats.

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  2. Happy Mother's Day!
    This is so intelligent and caring. I love this Mom post as it sounds truly like you.

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  3. I like the Mom Code. I've always found it a hard line to walk, between letting Emma know about the danger, and not scaring the bejesus out of her.

    I could have gone either way on the becoming-a-mom thing. And I feel that I had that same experience of feeling responsible for this little helpless being we created immediately, but falling in love with her as her personality emerged. And, as I often tell her, I like her more and more as the years go by :-)

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  4. Hy beautiful! Love your post! what do u say about following each other?:X

    FashionSpot.ro

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  5. HMD to you!
    I wanted to be a wife and mommy early on...and then I WAS a wife and mommy early on (age 18!)-and then I was just a mommy (age 21!). I always felt like it was right and was my plan in life.

    I love that Mom Code! It really is so very true. And you might have some bad guy dressed up as a cop, but you would rarely find someone of the bad nature who could convince kids to also be a bad person...genuis!

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  6. absolutely loved this post! this is how i felt about having kids - they were never really on my radar. i grew into motherhood. of course, i love my kids beyond belief but i never thought i would be a mom of three. n.e.v.e.r.

    happy mother's day!

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  7. Love it! I can remember being about 6 months pregnant with my oldest and crying that I didn't want to be a mom, that I wasn't ready to give up the freedoms of having no kids. I'm glad to see others who aren't scared to admit to those feelings!

    I love your explanation of the belly button!

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  8. Love this post! I'm a big fan of "The Mom Code". I'll be telling that one to Dennis so we can use it when our little guy comes in August - or rather when he gets old enough to understand what I'm talking about! (I'll also have a version of team testosterone around here - husband, son, and two male cats... although the cats are kind of androgynous after the whole neutering thing.)

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  9. I loved the Little Critter book "Little Critter is Lost"--when it happened to my boys my older son knew just what to do--look for a mom with kids.

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  10. Very good point about The Mom Code. I am a mom who gives her kids a lot more freedom and independence than the other moms in my neighborhood. I think common sense is learned by being in situations where a kid must choose for themselves. At the same time, I strongly believe coaching is a great help, and I will tell mine about The Mom Code.

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  11. Awesome. I have a new way to view the belly button. Ahhhh..Mothers Day. Have a happy one!

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  12. I love the mom code, it definitely sounds like something every kid should be taught. And the belly button story is adorable. Of course, when I was a kid, my mom used to tell us if you unscrew your belly button, your butt would fall off. I think your story is sweeter.

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  13. I always knew I wanted to have children, probably because I did a lot of babysitting in high school and college. I started off saying I wanted four and topped out after two. :-)

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  14. Happy Mother's Day! I hope you are enjoying your boys today!

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  15. Nice life journey... I'm sure no one is prepared to be parent, and, in real life, is pretty difficult to follow any code. You seem to do a great job, and I'm sure your kids love you and respect their heirloom.

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  16. You are a very smart mama. I hope you had a great Mother's Day, even if it was same/same. :)

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  17. You sure are smart! Happy (belated) Mother's Day! :)

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