My View: The ‘mom network’ comes to the rescue

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So little time to write. Last week, I promised the Alexandria Times that I would scrape together some time to write a column. I have a multitude of ideas floating in my head the problem is finding the time to sit down and actually punch out the letters on the keyboard I find so intimidating. Little pieces of paper is how I describe all the thoughts, ideas and to-do lists scattered in my head.

It was a recent chaperoning endeavor that prompted this piece. During a pool party of 30 or so 13-year-olds, we were discussing the behavior of our children when a fellow mother grabbed my arm and said, You make me feel so good and normal! I thought I was in this alone. Then and there it dawned on me that so many parents dont feel comfortable talking about the issues facing our kids and / or the issues they cause us to face with their behavior. What drives this lack of discussion?

My family is not perfect by any stretch. My husband and I have five very different children that create a number of interesting situations for us individually and collectively as a family. The often rude and disrespectful behavior some of our kids throw at us does not easily rattle him. I, on the other hand, find it very difficult to cope with. My co-chaperoning mom was commenting on the same issue. She is much like me quick to notice and be truly offended by the rudeness of her son as well as in amazement that any one person could be so thoughtless. I assured her that my situation was no different and that I often ended up in tears at the level of thoughtlessness shown by any one of my three teenagers. You cannot imagine the sigh of relief that gasped out of her mouth.

This brings me to the fact that as parents, perhaps we should be a bit more willing to share our ideas, solutions, and strategies to the host of problems our children can create. Perhaps if more parents felt comfortable in admitting there is no perfect family and that problems arise on any given day, then the world would be a better place. I gather most of my information from my mom network that loosely structured group of women that I see at book club, bridge, the pool, Safeway, on the street walking their dogs or waiting in carpool lines.

These valuable exchanges can be the difference between a bad day and a great day; deciding if what you have been told by your teen is fact or fiction, or knowing perhaps that your childs actions are not the worst scenario that someone elses kid holds that title. Sometimes it is the simple reassurance of knowing you and your child are normal (whatever that may be).

I realize some families face extreme situations that may need more help / advice than the mom network can provide. Truly though, I do believe that a simple conversation with another mom can often cure me of the lurking thoughts of weirdness that sometimes invade my brain. I hope I can provide the same reassurance to someone else.

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