Free Range Parenting

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I’m trying not to be an old mom. Really, I am.

I remember crossing paths with “old” moms when I was a first-time mother at 18.

They weren’t any different when my second child was born, at 24.

The smug air around them rarely invites you in, so it was a rare occasion that I found myself with a group of “old” moms. One memorable occasion still sticks in my craw. A friend of mine had an accidental baby in her late forties, and we were all regularly tortured by their presence as a result. She loved to drop him off at my house with a satisfied smirk around my messy life. She patted me on the back one day and said “Oh honey… you’ll have so much more patience when you’re an older mother.”

My blood boiled.

Her little prince was more like a case of Shingles, and we’d had him for 8 hours that day… about 7 hours too long.

Why?

Because he didn’t have rules, he had “loving guidelines”. He didn’t have to share if he didn’t feel like it, even when the toys he was deciding whether or not to share, didn’t belong to him. He didn’t have to nap, didn’t have to eat his food, didn’t have to take a bath if he didn’t feel like it and didn’t have any sort of behavioral expectations, either.

He was a garden variety spoiled brat, in my book. All the touchy feel-y words in the world can’t make a spade anything but a spade.

I refused to accept her judgement, and moved on. We saw them less and less, thankfully.

Then I had a baby at 37 and realized that she was kind of, sort of, right about everything.

I feel bad for my older kids for having such a demanding mom with too many ideas in her head about how things had to be, and how it had to look and why we had to go to church and blah, blah, blah.

None of that shit was important, and I wasted so many precious moments, barking. That one last baby, has taught me how vitally important it is, to listen.

So if she only eats her noodles with butter and parmesan cheese, ignoring the homegrown veggie medley I harvested, washed and roasted for her… Oh well. Maybe next time. I even let her have the ice cream anyway. I’ve completely gone soft.

Childhood is so painfully short. You should eat all the ice cream you can.

I’ve learned which battles aren’t worth more than a giggle and which demand a firm resolve.

My eldest children are successful and beautiful members of society. They work hard and I am very proud. I hope their little sister follows in their impeccable example.

Being an old mom means you’ve learned that despite your best efforts, your children grow up to be who THEY are. The secret is learning to just enjoy it. To treasure each moment even if it looks nothing like you thought it would.

Days here are wild. I wake up to her screaming “MOMMMMMMMMMMMY!!!!!!”

After the adrenaline subsides and I explain to her (again) that I think she’s in danger when she screams my name when I’m sleeping, she wraps her tiny arms around my neck and says:

B-I love you SOOOOO much.

Which is totally worth the mild heart attack & reminds me again that the most important thing is this snugly time spent together because the rules sort themselves out. Life is too short to be a grouchy, demanding mom at ANY age.

I try to love more & yell less whilst doing my best to not raise a free range asshole. ♥

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