Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Yes, I brag on my children. You should too.

Recently, I received an email that stated that the sender was a long-time reader of my blog, but they were no longer ever going to give me any page views (I don't make money off this blog, so I guess the joke is on you!) because they were sick of my "humble bragging" about my children.

I got irritated by that and then later? I got more than irritated and moved to "downright pissed". Know why?

It's my right and my privilege as their mother to brag on them.

I'm not going to stop. Not ever.

Now, I'm not saying my children are perfect. Oh my God. Far from it.

For example?

My daughter has a "Bitch please" face that could knock a grown woman to her knees. Observe:

(Please note that in the second photograph her brother appears to be very intent on whatever I was saying and she was looking at me like, "Whatever")

She was seven years old when these two pictures were taken. SEVEN. She's spent many, many years perfecting this face of utter disgust. She throws it at me periodically. She also sometimes thinks I'm impossible. She listens to very little of my fashion advice. She says things like, "Women make babies and that's their superpower!" and I have to remind her, gently, that not every woman can make babies and that's not the only thing women should value themselves for. As many teens are, she is sometimes cranky. I'm sure she does not always tell me the truth.

And let's not forget my son. My son who at seven years old decided he would forge my signature on a document he needed to turn into school. Sadly for him, he did not know my initials and his subterfuge was soon discovered by his teacher who marched straight to my car in the pick-up lane and showed me what he had done. Too bad kid. If you didn't realize my name isn't actually "Mom" you might have gotten away with it.

My son never, ever listens to any of my fashion advice. I'm quite certain he doesn't always tell me the truth. He frequently purchases cookies at school prompting me to say, "Dude, I got ANOTHER auto-replenish notice for your school lunch account". He once said, "Most women don't know who the father of their baby is, right?" and I had to promptly shut that nonsense down (and turn off the Maury program, oy). He is rarely cranky, but often does not listen and his room frequently looks like it should be condemned. I need to take a nerve pill every time the child had to choose classes for the next marking period because he. cannot. make. a. decision.

My children? So not perfect.

Their mother? Also not perfect. Not even close.

So not perfect that her daughter called her out the other day and she totally deserved it. So not perfect that the smoke detector went off four times in the past week while she was cooking dinner. So not perfect that she didn't realize that her son had a huge hole in his shoe until he specifically pointed it out. So not perfect that she's spent a lot of years in therapy, trying to figure things out. She's spent more time working than a perfect mom would. Less time building tree forts and teaching driving.

Not perfect. Not even close.

I've noticed recently there seems to be this trend on social media to talk about how sucky your kids are and how much being a parent blows. People complain, somewhat unceasingly, about how difficult their child is. How hard it is make dinner or make cookies or get up to make sure they get to school on time. They wish their kid would stop talking, would go to sleep, would go outside and play, would stop asking for everything. They wish they could have their old lives back, wish they could sleep in, wish they could go to the gym whenever they felt like it, wish they could have wine. Lots and lots of wine.

And you know? There have been many times in my life I could identify with many of these things (except the wine part since I don't drink it). If you know my son, you know that he spent the years of 2004-2012 talking pretty much continually without taking a breath. There have been many days that I worked so many hours that the very thought of making dinner made me want to stab someone in the neck (and my husband would often helpfully say, "I'll take care of it!" and then order pizza, which made me want to stab him in the neck). I had twins. I think I slept a total of twenty-five minutes in 1998. I have fallen asleep in the shower. I have fallen asleep sitting on the toilet. I haven't seen the end of a movie we watched at home since the year 2000.

I get it. I really, really get it.

Our children are human, though. They are imperfect. They are messy, they are funny, and they are sometimes a pain in the ass.

My children are mine. Only for a little while, but still. They are mine.

They will have many years of people being harsh to them. Being cruel to them. Kicking them while they are down. Expecting things of them that they can never deliver on. Being mean to them for absolutely no reason. The world is often a very ugly, negative place.

My home does not have to be.

I want my children to know that there is no one, no one ever anywhere on this planet, who loves them as much as their mom. That even if they fail at something and they are kicking themselves about it, that I still love them. That I am so, so proud of them for even little things.

There is enough time to be kicked around by the world. They deserve this safe place to fall.

My children deserve to know they can fail and they will still be loved. My children deserve to know that mama has their back. My children deserve to know that home is the place you can be yourself, whoever that might be.

Your kids deserve that too.

So I'm not going to stop bragging on my children. I'm not going to stop being proud. I'm not ever going to think they are perfect, but I'm going to be really happy at how perfect they are to me.

I would be so happy if you would do the same.


diane rene said...



all kids need to be bragged on, and every now and then they even need to hear/see how absolutely proud we are of them.

and in my case, how amazed I am that they are still living in spite of my many imperfections ;0)

Karen O. said...

It absolutely never fails to astound me that because you write a public blog, other people think they have the right to tell you what to write! I mean, you have the right to post about blue elephants all day long if you want, and if you don't want to read about blue elephants, then don't read! For goodness sake, why do people find it so confoundingly necessary to TELL you that 1) Your blog doesn't live up to their expectations and 2) They are going to stop reading it. I mean do they think that they are so all fired important that you will immediately fall on your knees and beg forgiveness and swear to never brag on them again? What unhappiness is in that person's life that they feel they have to tell you so self-righteously that they are no longer going to read your blog. I mean, read or don't read, just move along if you don't like it. Sheesh!

Devon said...

well said... and something i needed to hear myself. i have been running on empty with my 2 lately and been very impatient.... i guess i need to check myself before i wreck them! thanks for pointing that out... i truly needed to hear it!

dspence said...

LOVE this! None of us are perfect and that's okay. No need to point out each others flaws or tear others down! Instead, focus your thoughts and energy on building others up! Especially your family. :-)

CPA Mom said...

I completely get what you are saying and I love this post (and you!). I brag about my kids too whenever possible and I don't apologize for it anymore than you do. I agree that home should be a safe harbor and I've had that very discussion with my husband. Because it should be a safe harbor for us as parents too. And our home? Is often not a safe harbor (a place of rest and rejuvenation) for me and my husband.

When you (and everyone else) read posts about people complaining about their kids and such though, I beg you to consider that some of us are struggling mightily with special needs kiddos and are truly convinced we are getting it all completely wrong. Some days it feels like I'm living a nightmare and the only way to convince myself that I am awake is to say out-loud, maybe on social media to friends or in my private journal, that I am tired and being a mom to a child with these needs has sapped every bit of my being out of me. I'm not complaining because it's a trend. I'm venting and looking for validation. I do try to put most of it in my private journal these days though because I'm fairly confident that most people in my life, are sick of hearing me. I know I need to focus on my blessings but truly, that is so very hard these days.

Lisa in NJ said...

Brag away. It's your space, no one has the right to tell you what to say and how to say it. I love how you brag on your kids, it's nice to see a mom doing that. I also helps me on a bad day to remember the good my child is. So to the person who won't give you page views...SEE YA!!!

Kathy said...

Last I checked the tile of this sweet little blog is Stephanie Snowe: The Blog so Brag On my friend.....Brag On!!!

Jana Holdeman Frerichs said...

LOVE IT! I love the things you say about your children. The pride you have shines through your words and I think that's beautiful. You are 100% right!!

Anonymous said...

... and I read your blog... and don't know you or live in the same state.. because you brag on your children.. You love them and as you say.. they are yours and you are raising them to be smart, thinking, intelligent human beings while too many are not involved with their children and those, too often, have not learned to think. You encourage that and that in itself is awesome. My four are older than your two, but I like to read your blog because it reminds me of those days. Mine still come home when they can, a couple more than the other two, because they can. Yours will too... because you loved them and taught them to think.. Brag on!!!

Anonymous said...

If someone doesn't like the things you write about, fine. It's their prerogative to click that little X in the upper right hand corner (or if you're on a Mac like me, the red X in the upper left). It's not rocket science. If you don't like something, don't read it. But why do people find it necessary to be rude? That's the part I just don't get.

I love you, I love your kids, and I love your humble bragging. Everyone else can go flip sand.