Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recipe for Success

I made cookies last night.  I followed the same recipe that I have followed for twelve years.  I methodically prepared the ingredients, measuring each carefully and consulting the scrap of chocolate chip packaging where the instructions were located.  I checked and double checked that the recipe called for 1 & 1/3 cups of flour.  I hesitated before adding each ingredient, checking one final time to be sure I was doing it right.

I am like this about instructions.  I read the manuals that accompany DVD Players and coffee makers, even though I know how to use them.  I follow all rules and guidelines because that is safe and smart. That is what responsible people do.

There is no instruction manual that accompanies parenthood.

When I found out that I was pregnant, like many new mothers, I purchased a pregnancy book.  Then a second and a third.  I read voraciously, anything that I could get my hands on that had to do with pregnancy and motherhood.  I stalked the interwebz searching desperately for a definitive answers to my questions. 

After three babies and six years of motherhood, what I have learned is that there is no recipe for raising the perfect child.  My main focus used to rest in having children that were respectful and well behaved.  Good sleepers and good eaters.  I wanted children who were a reflection of the values instilled in them by wonderful parents, rule followers and role models.  I wanted to do it right.

What I have today are children who sometimes eat chips for breakfast but know they are loved just because they are here.  I have children who occasionally bite and frequently spit but always say please and thank you.  Children who use potty words at the dinner table and have difficulty keeping hands to themselves but are not afraid to try new things.  I have children who will deliver a punch to anyone who messes with their siblings and will deliver a hug to anyone in need of care and compassion.

Each day brings new adventures, new challenges, new questions. My focus is no longer on how other people perceive my children, but now rests in how my children perceive themselves. I hope that they know how special they are, how much they are loved, how proud they make me.   

If they do, then I'll know that I did something right.


  1. This brought tears to my eyes - you could write a instruction manual on parenting. because half of it is accepting that you have only a small amount of control and you just have to trust and believe not only in yourself but also in God that it will turn out alright. After being loved is no samll thing!!

  2. the last line should read.... After all being loved is no SMALL thing!!
    Love you

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words - If I can write an instruction manual on parenting it is only after watching you and my mom all these years:)

    Love you!

  4. This is very sweet. And I can be the same about reading the instruction manuals. It drives those who know me crazy.

  5. You are such a good mommy and you are doing so much right!!

  6. If there is a manual to be written, it is you and my mom who taught me how to write it!!

    I learned all my good tricks from watching you guys!! LOVE YOU!

  7. Thanks love - It means so much coming from my ORIGINAL "mommy friend" - LOVE YOU!

  8. Thanks! I keep all instruction manuals (just in case) it is a little obsessive but hey...that's me:)