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Military mama: Being mom means letting little things slide

There’s something about motherhood that makes becoming a public spectacle acceptable, as long as that cranky child turns his or her sobs to giggles. Those moments in the grocery store when the last nap and next meal are just too far apart for your little one to maintain composure. Suddenly mommy has to think quickly and put on a show. Singing a song, doing a little jig, blowing raspberries on a little Buddha belly; whatever it takes to keep that child from wailing. The fact that you are in public surrounded by strangers, or worse yet, acquaintances, doesn’t even register. Any performance you have give to keep that kid happy is going to cause less of a scene than an all out temper tantrum.

I have to admit, there have been many moments when my timing was not quite right, I hesitated just long enough for my son to cross the line from disgruntled to manic. The lesson I learned is that, I’d rather look like a fool than get the “bad parent glare” as those near the meltdown scowl their disapproval. There is nothing more humiliating than having to abandon a cart full of goods to drag a kicking, screaming child out to the car and then drive home in shame from a completely wasted shopping trip.

Even at home or in my car I will give in to simple requests when the annoyance range is less than the potential disaster level. For example recently my son’s Guitar Hero obsession has left me listening to “Dream Police,” “School’s Out for Summer,” or “Slow Ride” approximately seventeen times in a row, each. I can tune out the classic rock monotony far easier than I can ignore a screaming fit. And if on our drive I have to point out every cow, tractor and train in the western hemisphere I may just do so to keep the little man distracted and pleasant.

Back when I commended my son for dropping his drawers and peeing on the lawn, I was just glad he hadn’t gone in his undies. When my son hid eggs all over the house because Easter was coming up, I pretended that it didn’t matter that they hadn’t been hard boiled and that it took a few days to find the final stink bombs. And when my son to pretended to be a dog and sniffed you while barking, may have seemed odd. However, it is all part of growing up. And sometimes letting the kids win the little battles will help mommy win the war, even if it means letting a few little things slide.

So if you see me out and about acting like a fool to keep my kidlets smiling feel free to join in, I could always use some back up dancers!