Slice of Life Day 6

SOL

When I gave birth to my daughter almost a year ago, I was wearing bowling socks.  Seriously, feet up, on either side of my OB’s head. Bowling socks. Yep.

I am NOT a bowler, in fact I am terrible at the sport, but sometime in 2013 or 14 we went bowling. I had forgotten socks, bought a pair for $1 and apparently as I went into labor the morning of 3/30/14, I thought my bowling socks would be the perfect complement to my hospital gown.

The next morning, when the doctor visited my hospital room, she asked about my bowling ability. She really thought that I was quite the bowler to have socks with red pins on them!

Bowling is a funny game…it is hard for me, I can never throw that ball down the lane consistently.  Though most of my balls end up in the gutter, I still hope for that strike.  I try to will the ball to the center pin, waving my arms wildly to the left after each roll. Every single time I go up for my turn, I think, “This is it, my chance to get a strike.” I don’t get hard on myself because I know I am not a bowling expert.  I don’t have the years of experience, I don’t practice often, I don’t throw a fit when eight out of ten balls have gone directly into the gutter in a single game.

When I think of the job I do as a Mom, I am the exact opposite.  I am hard on myself when my kids struggle or throw fits. I beat myself up when my parenting lands in the gutter.  I never give myself those little pep talks, like I do on the bowling lane. And when things are going off course, the only arm waving that happens is me acting like a lunatic.

I think it is pretty interesting that I can have so much fun in a game I am terrible at but sometimes I forget to have fun doing something I am actually pretty good at, being a Mom.  After all, about 80% of the time, my kids are kind, smart, love to learn, make really good choices, and are funny, man they are funny. It’s the 20% that I focus on, as if their crankiness, whining, bossing, drama, sass, and miserable moments define my parenting.

This is akin to me thinking that the two decent rolls of the bowling ball that I actually manage prove that I am an amazing bowler when they just don’t.  In the same respect, the 20% of “ugh parenting moments” don’t prove that I am a terrible Mom.

Just trying to remember to be less hard on myself today, on this third snow day in a row.

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4 thoughts on “Slice of Life Day 6

  1. Isn’t that what we all do? Do you think it’s because it doesn’t matter if you stink at bowling, but it does matter if you are a crappy parent. Perfection is a nice thing to have in front of you, but reality says it’s not possible 100% of the time. You do your best and the next time you do a little better. Your kids will be fine, I’m guessing they won’t ever be on the pro-bowler tour. 🙂

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  2. I once read that an essay is “a journey of thought” and that is what your Slice reminded me of. You took your reader on a real journey here from your crazy socks on the side of your OB’s head to your experience with bowling to your innermost feelings as a mom.

    I really enjoyed this and the honesty in this Slice!

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  3. I’m with Elsie: bowling doesn’t matter nearly as much as parenting. That’s why bowling can just be fun! We need the fun to get us through the hard.

    Love the bowling story! I wave my arms too! (It never helps.)

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  4. Love your opening, about giving birth in the bowling socks! It makes this such a special piece. Great, unexpected comparison.
    Thoughtful and well said.
    One tip- try, whenever possible, to take a different perspective. Get your kids with relatives or friends and watch them with outsiders eyes and see how precious they are. You so honestly write about what we all do- focus on the negative. Because we are responsible, of course- that’s true.
    I try to do this with my students as well- see them in a different light, how funny and dear they are, rather than the usual worrying about all my worries about them 🙂

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