And the Winner Is . . .
I’m Too Tired to Fight
My kids watch these gaming videos that I do not condone, and yet they seem the lesser of the many evils that are out there in screen land. In these videos, the gamers curse and maintain a running dialogue while playing different video games, like Minecraft, Pokémon, or whatever else.
I’m sure you can imagine that these typically male commentators, who may or may not have large helpings of ADD, are not very cordial to each other, and there’s a lot of smack talk. And as you can further imagine, said smack talk is not appropriate for anyone, much less two young boys aged 9 and 12. But still, it’s what they want to watch and I’m tired and they’re not watching violent shooter games. I’ve picked my battles, and I prefer foul language over first-person shooter games. I’m not saying I’m rational—I’m just saying I’ve made a decision and I’m sticking to it.
I’m too tired to fight the long fight of learning what’s appropriate or not. I’ve listened to most of these videos, cringed, and accepted “Sky” and “Rage” into our lives. There are a few fellows I do not allow, and my boys are very good about staying away from them. And the language and insults? Well, “They’re boys,” I try to convince myself . . .
As we’re getting ready for bed one fine evening, Michael lays one of these “gamer” insults on me. I don’t even know it’s an actual insult until Mason says, “Michael, don’t insult Mom. She’s the nicest mom.”
I’m the Nicest Mom!
I’m jolted for a moment. My very contrary yet Buddha-like nine-year-old son just stood up for me AND he called me “the nicest mom.” I certainly wouldn’t give myself that label. It was just last night that I was yelling at them about cleaning up the living room. If I were the nicest mom, I would have calmly and gently asked them to pick up after themselves, and I would not have threatened to throw away anything left on the floor.
So after Mason stands up for me, declaring my niceness, my peacock feathers are all a bustle and showing.
Then . . .
Michael continues their conversation with, “She’s not the nicest mom. She’s the best mom.”
I now have whiplash because Michael immediately stripped me of my “Nicest Mom” title, even though I had just been granted it, and replaced it with “Best Mom.” Clearly, I have entered into some contests I didn’t even know were being judged this fine night. I’m already in my pajamas . . . I didn’t even dress for my awards ceremony, dangit.
This correction is most likely because Michael is so analytical; everything has to make sense and be “correct” and the “truth.” Because different brain and all.
I’m completely and utterly enthralled in this whole conversation, and I haven’t spoken one word. Michael finished up with something to the effect of, “When someone’s too nice that can be unhealthy for the other person. But Mommy gives us all that we need . . .”
I’m fascinated and I’m in shock. How amazing to listen to my children label me—with such worthy titles!
As for nicest mom, I think that title might come from my children watching my interactions with the outside world. I give money to the homeless people in our arts district anytime we go there. I hug my elderly neighbor as often as I can after explaining to my kids how important “touch” is and how elderly people are not touched enough usually. It might be that I take the time to write a check when Michael gets an environmental advertisement in the mail so he can feel better about the polar bears.
Eleven Ways to Be the Best Mom
I do believe that boundaries are one of the most important things we can give to our children, and anyone we’re in a relationship with really. So I understand where Michael’s coming from with his “Best Mom” title. Here’s a quick list of “Best Mom” qualities I try my darnedest to live by:
- I will love you.
- I will not hurt you intentionally.
- I will not allow you to hurt me.
- I announce that we will make mistakes, and that is awesome!
- If we make a mistake, we will clean it up.
- I will love you still and try to show you with words or your favorite candy or a card or something else as often as I can.
- If you need something, I will help you get it.
- If you are ill, I will nurse you to healthy again.
- If you have a tantrum, I will love you through it—and then we will learn from it. Afterward I will get you a drink of water and silence or whatever is healthiest for all of us.
- I will not slander your father (I did not indicate it was easy being the best mom).
- I will make beautiful and gorgeous mistakes, and I will apologize, explain, hug, and care for myself and you.
After Michael launches into why being too nice is not healthy for others, I find that I am enchanted by these children. I’m grateful for these labels of Nicest Mom and Best Mom. I am honored by their casual exploration of how they perceive me.
Alas, my tiara is invisible this night. If you imagine it just right, you’ll see the sparkles on your screen.
The Best Mom (and maybe the nicest mom too)
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