Keep it real

Be real. I am trying to just be real to my kids. It’s easy as a 3-, 5- or 7-yr-old to view your mom as a perpetual “grown-up.” Someone who has always been just exactly as you see me now. Someone who knows all, never made mistakes, and can’t see life through the eyes of a child.

But guess what, guys? I was a kid once too. Every time I tell stories to my children about my childhood, it astounds them. They are amazed to think that at one time I too was nervous about the first day of school, or was terribly distraught over a fight with a best friend, or had a hard time falling asleep when there was a thunderstorm outside, or loved to have my mom snuggle me in a warm blanket on the couch when I was home sick from school.

When I share with them these real and vulnerable stories about myself, I catch a glimmer in my children’s eyes. Suddenly, it clicks. My mom was once a child just like me. She can understand me. She is human; and somehow finding out about all of my silly habits and goofy stories as a child endears me to them in a way that nothing else has.

I remember one day after reprimanding Ethan for a lie he told, I told him a story about when I was young and had lied about breaking my sister’s record player. Of course the point was to illustrate that I felt really bad inside not just for breaking something special that was hers, but more so for lying about it. I was taken aback by Ethan’s reaction. A grin spread across his face and he threw his arms around me, emphatically declaring, “I love you mom!”

One night all of the kids were grumbling about something yucky I had made for dinner. Could have been any number of nights. I found myself getting angry that they weren’t even trying it. Then I recounted to them the story of when I was a kid and was really hating my mom’s dinner. I had stuffed a bunch in my mouth then asked “May I be excused to go to the bathroom?” Then I promptly ran in and spit everything out in the toilet.

Uproarious laughter ensued.

And you know what? After that, they all tried my dinner.

rawlins-pic.jpgBridget Rawlins is a mom to three young children and lives in the Portland, Oregon area. Her passions include reading, working out, traveling, blogging, partying with friends and dancing to loud obnoxious 80’s music with her family. She writes at A Day in the Life.

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9 responses to “Keep it real

  1. This is wonderful.

    I agree…my mom is a wonderful storyteller and used her zany experiences to teach her children all kinds of lessons. We learned just as much from her mistakes as we did from her good example!

  2. I loved this. What a great lesson to remember – both as a parent and a daughter. Bridget is just the best. I’m so glad I know her in real life. Loved reading these wise, simple words.

  3. Ah, I remember my niece and her friend walking by me and my sister-in-law. She promptly said something to her friend, looked over at us and rolled her eyes. It was then I realized that she saw us as “moms.” I wanted to run over to her and say, “Hey, I am not a ‘mom’! I am a cool young chick and so is Jaime!” I remember looking at my mom like my niece looked at us… the experience was terrifying.

  4. The story my mom told of burning a hole in her sister’s skirt (while ironing it after she wore it without asking) still makes me smile. I loved knowing she was mischievous.

  5. I do the same type of things. I haven’t recieved a big hug and “I Love You!” like you did, but maybe one day? Every time I cook something my son doesn’t like he retells the story of how my mom would make me eat fish and I would use an entire bottle of tartar sauce to choke it down. :0)

  6. If I could only remember stories from my childhood…Ryan is the king of stories and when they are left with me, and I finish a “story” up, they always say: “Is that all?”

  7. That was so great! I love how you got them to try dinner…by just being so honest, funny and real. I think my kids expect me to never make mistakes because, well, I am the mom…I am an adult. I need to share some more of my childhood with my kids so they can realize I am just learning, too.

  8. SO true!! I always loved it when my parents would share stories about their childhood. I hope my kids will love it too.

  9. Thanks for sharing that, Bridget. Your kids are so blessed to have you. I will try your method.

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