Monday, December 07, 2009

Good, Better

I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a good mom. I tried doing some research to answer this question, but a lot of what is out there when you Google "good mom" is about giving yourself credit, not burning yourself out, not judging yourself by how clean your toilets are, and whatever else under appreciated, overworked moms need to hear. I'm not under appreciated or overworked, and I know I'm a good mom. But, I want to be an awesome mom.

How does one become an awesome mom? I started observing moms that I thought were awesome, and I started thinking about how it was mostly about making life special for your kids, which doesn't mean making making their desserts into dragons, getting them the greatest toys, or being cutsie-pie (because kids don't really appreciate that). But, what does that mean for me?

Then yesterday, I was reading The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs. In the book, he performs a series of social experiments in his own life. He decides to tell the truth for a month, live by George Washington's 110 rules of conduct for a month ("adjust not yourself in public"), do everything his wife tells him for a month, and he decides to unitask for a month. The unitasking chapter was a little bit of a revelation. Of course, it's humorous in the book how he describes tying himself to his chair so he doesn't get distracted, and wearing a blindfold when he talks on the phone, but the essence of it is that he becomes more mindful of what he's doing at any given time.

This is what I need.

So, I'm starting my own month-long unitasking experiment. Or, more like a Mindful Mothering experiment.

Day one objective: move the computer upstairs into the office. We have a laptop and I keep it in the kitchen, and in my minds eye, I can see the scene play out a million times in which I'm telling Lillian to do X, Y, or Z, and she's dilly-dallying because I'm playing on FaceBook or checking my email for the 20th time, and I get more and more upset with her because she's not doing what I'm asking, and then it's really time for us to leave and she hasn't got her shoes on, like I told her 10 times, but made no real effort to help her find them, or sort out which was right from left. I've tried to do this in the past (put the computer upstairs), but ended up hiding in there a lot, so we'll see how it goes. I'm hoping it will help me be more focused on my mothering tasks and not so distracted by the siren call of Ask Prudie.

5 comments:

Vivian said...

wait a second... how are you going to read this comments minutes after I post it if your computer is upstairs?
hmmm. maybe i could learn something here.

vwbabe said...

Dude, you are great. I love these little challenges you give yourself. Inspiring. I hope it goes well. You have inspired me to be more involved with my kids. Thanks!

Carrie G said...

I've thought about this too. I think it means finding the energy to augment the day somehow, not just all exist together in the house. Which is what you're saying about making it special. Something that makes it better for the kids to be with you instead of at daycare. Not that I know what that is, exactly, but I've gotten ideas from your blog about it frequently.

Patrick said...

I've read that book too! Loved it! You should out source bedtime story to Mr Naveen in India and have him read the Wall Street Journal to Lillian. Make sure you have a camera when you do this, I would love to see Lillian's facial expression when this happens. That is what I consider an awesome Mom!

Caitlin said...

I have read two chapters from the book you mentioned: the "Do Everything Your Wife Says" and "Unitasking" chapters. They were both very funny.

It is even more funny that neither one of them sparked the "I'm going to try that" mentality that they seem to have inspired you.

Let me know how it goes.

I am the LAST person to give advice on being awesome. I am in survival mode 90% of the time. Someday, after I graduate, when Della is in school longer than 3 hours, I have accumulated a years worth of food, finished tracing my family history back to Adam, and have lots of money, I will feel like an awesome mom.

In short, I think your idea of simply being aware of what you are doing during the day and taking time to improve the little things is the best way to implement awesomeness. Thanks for helping me realize this!

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