Last fall, I wrote about the very enjoyable experience of witnessing some down-in-the-trenches mothering that soothed my grumpy heart. I decided to reprint it here today in celebration of Mother's Day. Some people mistakenly think that because I write and rail so much about narcissistic, over-involved parenting that I just don't like kids. It's quite the opposite. The problem for me is that I love kids. I always have, and they love me. It's parents that I don't like!

Anyway, onto my weekend at Auntlori's last fall...

"Auntlori," a regular reader and occasional contributor to this blog, is forty-three, and has two beautiful baby boys, ages two and a half and one year. Both boys are healthy and adorable, but more importantly, they don't exhibit the kind of anxious, aggressive, hyper energy that so many young children do, nor are they overly docile or passive at the other end of the spectrum. In other words, their spirits are not being broken by what euphemistically passes for child-rearing in our culture.

Auntlori, in other words, is doing mothering right!

What do I mean by "right?" I mean that she understands that her own self-actualization must always come first or she could not possibly be a mother that would be giving her children the smoothest road possible to their own developing selfhood.

Auntlori had her first baby at age forty. She had a career as a college English professor, and had a private hair-cutting practice prior to becoming a mother. She got married, for the second time, a couple of years earlier and her relationship with her husband is thriving. Auntlori has traveled, has experienced loss and death in her life; she has and is experiencing love, Eros and sex AND she has some years of therapy and self-work under her belt. These factors are what I consider to be healthy and sane prerequisites to a decision to have children. She has lived enough to have attained some wisdom, and knows and loves herself enough to truly be able to give to another. And of course, she knows that her own growth and self-care cannot get put on hold, now, because she has two little children.

Does she read to her kids, play music and videos for them and otherwise provide stimulation? Yes. Does she worry about what college they will be able to get into or what they might end up doing for a living one day? No.

Do her children cry, have tantrums, get sick, throw a little food around? Of course. Does she take her kids to fine restaurants? NO!

Here's an eye-opener, folks, though it shouldn't be. Your kids don't thrive to the degree that you dote on them or live for them or sacrifice for them. They thrive to the degree that you do.

That's right. More than anything you do for them, your kids learn from you as role models what it is to be an adult. Now, try and imagine what a kid might be thinking when they witness parents who have forgone their sex-lives and creative expression, who bend over backwards to respond to every whimper and demand from their children, adults, in other words, who live lives of quiet desperation, unfulfilled except to the degree that they are focused on their kids twenty-four-seven. Logically, said children, seeing such parents, would have to decide that growing up isn't such a great deal. Think about it. Kids are much more utilitarian and sensible than we realize: "Hmm... I could grow up and be like Mommy, a full-time servant, who looks subtly (or not so subtly) tense, sad or angry a lot of the time, or... I could just stay a kid and be waited on hand and foot. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Pass the narcissism please!"

I've said it before, too many time for most parents, and I'll celebrate Mother's Day by saying it again: Do your kids a favor, parents - Get a life!

Thank you, Auntlori, for giving me hope!

I may even try going back to Provini for dinner tonight!

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