Sunday, June 29, 2008

I’m Different from the Other Moms

It’s not because I have so many children that I feel they’re interchangeable. When I only had Bri my friend Teri said that I was significantly mellower than a first time mom. Part of this has to do with growing up in the west and thinking I was invincible for most of my life. I remember climbing on my roof when I was five or six years old and walking around. When I tell my children to get down from neighbors’ roofs it’s because I know that my neighbors will freak out, not because it necessarily worries me. Hey, it was one story and not very steep.

Eastern moms tend to be more neurotic. I tend more towards the If you’re not bugging me and it doesn’t involve poop do what you want school of thought. I also push independence. Unfortunately for my children, sometimes I say “fly little bird” before they have feathers. Then I scrape them off the pavement and brush off the dirt.

I really started noticing the difference when Lizzy was in pre-school. One day they had a "Ride the Bus to the School Day." I took Lizzy. The other mothers were taking pictures. It didn’t occur to me to bring my camera. Lizzy got on the bus. We wave to each other for a while until I got bored and started looking around. The other moms and their entourages are still waving to their children. I saw that one of my friends was crying because her daughter was riding a bus. Keep in mind this wasn’t the first day of kindergarten! This was still pre-school. Kindergarten was months away! About this time, it occurred to me that if I was going to go to Target and be back in time to pick Lizzy up I better leave. So, I did. And I noticed that the bus pulled out of the parking lot right behind me. I couldn’t recover from that. I was the only parent to leave before the actual bus and even I knew that leaving before the bus was not good.

But the longer I live in the East the more neurotic I become. Last summer, I visited some family in Utah. I was at the park with the kids and I saw a lot of unsupervised kids. And I became Eastern. My brain disapproved. Where were their parents? Why would they let small children play unsupervised? I was not Eastern enough to actually say anything when someone came over. But if she had been able to read my mind she would have gotten a tongue lashing! But if this trend towards neuroticism continues, I will develop “first time mom” syndrome right about the time they all start college.

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