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Yesterday was a milestone day for me in therapeutic mothering. It was the first time that I’ve left my kids with my husband for more than 12 hours and not worried about them or about him during the entire time that I was out (other than knowing that when I got home, hubby would be super cranky and tired).

Up until this point, any time I left my kids with my husband, I’d worry about how my kids would behave simply because they tend to turn into little monkeys when Dad’s in charge. I used to worry how my husband would handle the stress, what he would feed him, whether they’d get a nap, what condition the house would be in, and whether the dog crapped indoors (because hubs was too busy to take him out). But at 3 years old, my kids are somewhat self-helping – they ask us EXACTLY what they want (“I want goldfish!”) and tell us what they need (“I need to go poopoo!!!”), and although we obviously don’t always oblige, the guesswork which used to stress my husband has largely been eliminated. In addition, they are at an age where if they skip their naps, it’s no longer the end of the world – Dad can now schedule whatever activity that he wants to without having to worry about either getting them back to the house by a certain time or dealing with very unpleasant consequences later in the day. Life, as it relates to keeping them occupied, has suddenly gotten easier.

I tried to make things a little easier for my husband yesterday by preparing a variety of meals and snacks ahead of time, which I always do. However, unlike prior times, instead of being prescriptive about mealtimes, I just told him, “Here are a bunch of different things they can eat; you choose based on what they want…” I figured what was the worst that could happen…MAYBE my kids would scream for cookies or gummy candies and Dad would give in? But seriously, who cares? My mantra yesterday was: “If they eat nothing but junk, at least they will still be alive and happy when I get home…”

Throughout the day, I thought about my kids but only in the context of, “Wow, B would LOVE this…” or “A would get a big laugh out of this…” At one point, I even looked at my girlfriend, S, and asked, “Have you worried about your kids today??” to which she responded, “HELL NO!”

So, what did I do during my day yesterday? I met up with six other fabulous women, also known as “Patty’s Pals,” to participate in The Mudderella (mud run and obstacle course). These women are, to me, my role models and inspiration. In the context of motherhood, they have been my mentors; providing me with advice, observations and encouragement. They have shown me by example what true dedication as a mother really means – and the proof is that they all have very close relationships with their amazing , beautiful, smart, successful, and very well-grounded children. I can only hope that my own kids will be as awesome as theirs simply stemming from the fact that THESE are the women who have taught me what motherhood really is about. In the context of life, the women are true sisters who have taught me that anything is possible. We all come from different walks of life with varying degrees of “baggage,” and have different obstacles that we either have in the past, or have yet to overcome. Through this event, we “Owned Our Strong” and reminded ourselves that life is not a solitary journey – to achieve our goals, we need to lean on others, ask for help and work as a team. We bonded together to symbolically knock down our obstacles.

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The Patty’s Pals Team at Mudderella 2013 (Tamiment, PA) / Photo property of VLS

So, a special shout-out to the ladies of “Patty’s Pals” – Alison, Annbeth, Carol-Anne, Patty, Susan and Suzanne – thank you for an awesome day, thank you for helping me through the mud, and especially thank you for giving me my first experience of motherhood where I could comfortably be away from my children, enjoy the day, and never once have to worry. You ladies really rock!

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