Not too long ago I fretted over everything parenting.
When I was pregnant I fretted over the size of my baby, I fretted over labor and delivery, my mind overflowed with the all consuming role of motherhood as I felt my toes dangling over the edge of my expectant role, not quite ready to jump in.
During the newborn years I fretted over tummy time, sleep schedules, appropriate amounts of Baby Einstein, Your Baby Can Read and how many times I could get through the Jesus Storybook Bible so the redemptive story of Jesus would begin to grow in their little newborn minds.
When they were infants it was the screen time and the fretting to make it out the door on time for story time at the library. (I don’t think we made it on time a single stinkin’ week.)
When they were toddlers I fretted about delayed walking and delayed speech and my heart would race when they mixed up their “Nello Mello Peas” mid alphabet song.
In preschool it was my boys being unable to sit still and concerns that they needed to be coloring more and digging for worms less.
And the fretting over whether my sons would ever begin to use the toilet??? I can’t even talk about it. That was a dark, dark place for me.
Then something wonderful happened. I stopped fretting. I’m not completely recovered, I am a recovering fretter, the relapses are hard. But I have consciously made an effort to stop checking the milestone charts and have some more fun.
When I find myself fretting. I try to replace it with fun.
We sing and dance in the kitchen more, we take more impromptu trips to the donut shop on Saturday mornings and sometimes this mommy who said no wrestling would ever occur in her house will find herself wrestling with my three boys on our living room floor WWF Smack Down Style.
I have found a road to recovery from the fretting when spend more time beating my boys at Smash Brothers than thinking about whether they will survive kindergarten.
I believe recovery from living under the yoke of fretting is absolutely necessary for me as a mother. I could fret the days away and let them pass without ever finding fun.
I hope that I am not too late in this journey of finding fun and once my children are grown and gone they will remember how I was able to enjoy them, right where they were, wrestled on the floor or knee deep in the mud.
So I’m recovering from fretting and reaching for fun.
As a step toward finding more fun this year I have been surprising my boys at the bus stop randomly in costume. This started innocently when my Halloween Costume, Queen Amidala, arrived fifteen minutes before the bus came one day in the fall. I tried the costume on and as the bus came up the road I figured it would be fun to meet my kindergartner in costume.
Then randomly in December I tried to ease into the idea of Bus Stop Dress Up by using a superhero mask.
In February I tried a Mario Brothers Hat because my preschooler had joined my kindergartener on the bus and my preschooler loves Mario.
On St. Patrick’s Day I began to build up a little more courage and tried a hat “costume” which was a little more risky but I need something green so I found a Yoda costume hat in the dress up trunk.
And the latest bus stop costume was the riskiest. I was in full costume. White hooded sweatshirt, black leggings, tall boots and a toy Boba Fett Blaster. I’m not even a Star Wars fan but I have three sons so I’ve had to learn the names of all these different battle weapons.
I left guns and lightsabers in the yard so they could shoot and slash back at me. This was a really fun one.
And I’m planning something really big for the last day of school.
I also have big plans for my third son once he starts riding the bus and I am saving all the princess costume ideas for when my daughter reaches kindergarten age four years from now.
At first I fretted over this, what will the neighbors think? What will the bus driver think? What will my kids think? Will I traumatize them? But honestly, the neighbors laugh kindly and wave if they drive by, the bus driver and I have become good friends over this whole thing and my sons love it. It helps that they are the first drop off in the afternoon. They probably think everyone gets picked up by someone in costume.
And the fun cures the fretting. How could you not love shooting at your sons with toy guns when they get off the bus?
I fretted over the other stuff for too many years. And all my fretting was forward thinking. I was fretting forward instead of enjoying what I had right in my lap. I literally had a present in my lap and I was so busy fretting I forgot to have fun.
Hopefully fun can find me permanently and I can become completely recovered from the fretting.
Hopefully it’s not too late for me.