Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Motherhood Performance Anxiety: Relevant Worry Wart

As parents (I should say moms, we're really the neurotic ones, let's face it) these days we are so obsessed with "getting it right" with our kids; the right foods, the right education, the right activities. We analyze our every move. One of my wisest and oldest friends visiting with me today bemoaned the "motherhood performance anxiety" which makes the most confident of mothers fret what the "others" must be thinking when their kid does something for which we expect judgement in public. I'm definitely not immune.

I have a confession to make. I don't play well with my kid. What I mean is that I rarely feel I have the inspired activities to foster his young mind. I get (gasp) bored at times. I've got inspired cultural and political commentary, but I'm thinking that stage is about oh fifteen or so years off, if he even wants to stick around to talk about it at all in that "I know it all stage." So, scratch that, it's about maybe thirty-five years off. I'm all for pre-planning. Planning I CAN do, and quite creatively I might add.

In the meantime I feel like I should be putting him in "something" more equipped than me to inspire creativity, intelligence and good social skills. But this same friend reminded me that he's learning from me all the time, not just when I sit down with a determined "it is now the playtime portion of our day" agenda in mind. Right, let's try out some of these handy activities the three books I bought on the subject, and the ten sites I visited on the Internet generated. No? Continue to shove the Legos into the big truck it is kiddo! Carry on. And the thing is he seems to be coming along just fine.

I thought all the time that he spends puttering around me as I go about the business of the day was somehow not stimulating enough. But researchers are now saying on the contrary, good old fashioned "free play" is important, in fact our lack of it may somehow hold us back in the global economy! It is actually my citizen mother duty to raise a kid that can find interesting things to do with the paper towel roller, some random papers "I allowed" him to snatch off my desk, and his giraffe wooden puzzle piece he is especially fond of and carts around. And watching him do just this blissfully today was, I have to say, inspiring.

Right, so now I feel better about that, but now it is on to worrying about which way he faces in the stroller and the impact upon his future development, which is apparently a BIG deal according to advocates in the U.K.

Great, at this rate I'll have an MBA in "MPA."

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