what we're thinking

We're sitting in a row on the couch, three peas on a brown leather pod. We're watching America's Funniest Videos (or AFV!) and I keep thinking that maybe I shouldn't let my small children watch such a thing. A show where we sit and laugh at painful episodes of stupidity. I feel the mother guilt and try to shrug off the thoughts. I want to just sit, just sit for a while and not care, just for once. It seems I'm always fighting this or that or limiting this or that or explaining this or that. So I just sit.

And I start to think about a friend and what comes to mind is, I bet she never lets her kids watch this.
It seems I never just sit around with flashing thoughts of all the good things I do, the things that make me the good mom that I am. I just plain forget to think about them.

A man of impressive width is skate boarding across the screen. Someone is videotaping him, of course, in the hopes of winning ten grand. We three know what's about to happen. I squint a little and shake my head when the board slips out from under the man who falls forward, bouncing off the bumper of a car. I reach down to fold the next item in the basket at my feet.

Miles says, "Oh no! That big fat guy fell!"

I flinch and tell him it's not okay to say that. I start to explain why when I'm interrupted from the other side of me by Asher. "We should get a fat guy, Mama!" he says excitedly, and I can't help it, I cover my mouth and try to stifle it, but it rolls out, my laughter. I'm not laughing at anyone from the TV, and I know he isn't either. We're laughing at innocent three-year-old exuberance, a belief that if the man on the screen could cause such a response in the audience, we should probably get one of him.

I stop laughing and wonder if I should again try to explain why we don't call people fat. But I can't think of anything to say so I just sit there and picture my boys at school someday, calling people fat because their mother never told them why they can't.

The inevitable stream of wedding mishaps starts rolling next, so we see a hundred groups of bouncing bridesmaids fall on each other like bowling pins in their drunken efforts to be the next betrothed.

Next there's a groom who knocks down his new wife by taking "you may kiss the bride" just a little too far. They roll around at the front of the church, trying to untangle the groom from the gown and right then, for some reason Miles tells me I should marry him, the clumsy groom. I tell him that I can't because I'm already married to Daddy, and while I fold a towel corner to corner he retorts loudly. "Well, you could be doubly married!"

I laugh instead of explaining once again, because I'm tired and for some reason I can't find the bottom of the laundry basket.


Every mother, a thousand times a day, asks herself if she's doing the right thing and then doubts that she is. It helps me to remember the things I know I'm doing right for sure in the lives of my boys. Like...how I do my best to...feed them. One point for me!

Now it's your turn.

Seriously Mama friends, think on your good things along with me today, okay? Maybe we could practice thinking more about the goodness of our mothering selves. Maybe then we can doubt ourselves less, and live in the moment more.

Heather writes at The Extraordinary Ordinary

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