a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Few of Gail's Child-Raising Regrets

There are many things I never should have done; and looking back, can't believe I did . . .

Maybe/hopefully there is something you can glean from my mistakes.

In order of recollection, I 

  • Made very time-consuming, detailed skeleton  Halloween costumes for Heidi, Romm and Josh when they were little (I've admitted this before). But then made them, and their younger brothers, wear the same costumes year after year, even when the foot bones only came to their knees instead of their ankles.
  • Asked Heidi to sing quieter in Church
  • Made the boys wear the junior high school PE shirt one after another --- with each name crossed out and the next one added. Same with the pro duke.
  • Sometimes forgot they were sitting in the hall for "time out" and left them longer than I had planned. (Heidi told me years later they tried hard to be quiet and go to sleep because I felt so guilty later!)
  • Downplayed Halloween (obviously), Fourth of July, and some other holidays. They had fun but not as much fun as they could have if I made some extra effort.  
  • Occasionally gave in when I said I wouldn't (and I shouldn't have!)
  • When unhappy about one thing, I brought up all sorts of little past grievances I had harbored (didn't even realize this until it was pointed out by our fourth son. . . when he was 24!)
  • Strongly encouraged Heidi to wear dresses when pants became the "in" thing to do (although I still strongly believe 'we act how we dress.')
  • Overly subjected the kids to my will (see item just above!)
  • Ostensibly gave them a say, but had my mind already made up.
  • Didn't save a scrap from each outfit I made Heidi to later piece into a quilt.
  • Didn't give them enough credit for their own intelligence and maturity in what I considered questionable situations (hopefully I've improved on this one).
  • Bought five pair of make-believe-leather, really-plastic "dress" shoes with huge garish gold buckles for all the boys to wear to Church because they were only $1 per pair.
  • Didn't let Heidi shave her legs in junior high school.
  • Got upset when things got noisy and hectic.
  • Didn't let the kids climb trees or do other "dangerous" things when their dad wasn't home.
  • Was too much of a "fraidy cat" myself and attempted to hold back the kids because of my fears.
  • Ran admonitions and directions into the ground (and boy, I can really run things into the ground, even when I think I am doing it cleverly i.e. "Oh, did I remember to mention..." instead of "Remember to..." or worse yet, "Don't forget to...)
I want to tell you a little story about one of those times when I was overdoing the obvious. Heidi and Mike and their children were moving to California for his orthodontic school. I had done my usual "do you have his...and do you have that..." and they were all enduring me quite patiently. 

Finally they were all in the crew cab (needed so it would hold the two adults, two toddlers, and the parakeet); the car was on a trailer behind the van; tears were streaming down my face and Heidi's face; uncles and Papa were suddenly clearing their throats, and the little ones didn't quite understand the 2400 miles ahead of them and why we were crying when they got to take this great trip "riding way up high in the big truck."

Then, I just had to say something. . ."Is the back door (of the truck) closed?" All but Mike groaned. Mike got out of the driver's side, in what everyone thought was one final effort to humor his mother-in-law, and walked to the back of the truck. 

He sheepishly closed the back gate and locked it. My over doing it was finally, after all these years, vindicated and the tears of sadness changed to tears of laughter as they pulled away from the curb. Yes!!!

In spite of all of these things all six kids survived, and still even talk to me.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about a few of the things (I think) we somehow managed to do right.  In the meantime, please check out this past Monday's post and help me out. Pleeeze.

1 comment:

Norm and Heather said...

At least you made costumes! And yes, I wish I had saved scraps for quilts too!