How does one become an edgy mama? There are many answers to that question.
My answer? Be a weed.
Not just any weed, but that toughest, most persistent, prickly and beautiful weed of them all.
Be a dandelion.
Dandelions bend in the wind. Then they pop right back. They’re tensile, like moms.
Like a flower, you chose to let one (or more) of the seeds you’ve been carrying in your ovaries since you were a fetus to be fertilized and sprout into one or more little humans. Or you may have become a mother by adopting or choosing to care for someone else’s seedling.
So now that you’ve got them, let ‘em grow.
This is the edgiest part of mamahood. And the most difficult.
As parents, we work so hard to be supportive, nurturing and responsive. Then we have to learn to handle these independent beings, who have their own opinions and ideas and ways of doing things. Which is what we thought we wanted, right?
Have you ever seen a vine wrapped up and around a dandelion, its searching tip reaching out beyond the flower’s head for the nearest branch to climb? That’s you and your kids. When your little vines grow out and onto a nearby tree, you have to let them. They may seem fragile, but remember, their roots and stems are still intertwined with yours.
Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was an edgy daddy, once said: “Rules are for ordinary people. I’m not ordinary.”
Frankie said this as he was leaving his wife and five kids to go live in Europe with his girlfriend, so maybe that’s not a great example of rule bending. But edgy mamas aren’t ordinary either.
Edgy mamas learn early in life how to be weeds in the wind—dandelions on green milky stalks. We’re all about flexibility.
Bending the rules means raising your kids your way, without Dr. Spock or even Dr. Sears looking over your shoulder. If it’s the middle of the night and your kid is freaking out because he wants a sippy cup of juice, give him one. No one else has to know. As my brilliant pediatrician once said: “Do whatever it takes so everyone in the family gets enough sleep. If you’ve all had enough sleep, the rest of life will be easier. If you haven’t …” Fill in the blank.
Nurse them until they’re in kindergarten; sleep with them into pre-adolescence (just don’t complain about your sex life if you do); honor their emotions and uniqueness. Give them what they need. Then let go.
Another famous person, actress Meryl Streep, said: “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.”
Food, water, sleep, shelter and love are the essentials we offer our offspring. The rest is icing. Not to mix metaphors, but who needs cake when you have milk?
That said, edgy mamas know how to take care of themselves as well as their families. Being edgy means having fun while being safe. Have that glass of wine at noon if you need it. Just not every day. Buy something extravagant and foolish for yourself every once in a while. Eat chocolate for breakfast. Is three days in a row too much? OK, then. Hide the chocolate and try to forget where you hid it. You probably still have Momnesia, so this tactic might work.
Remember our new mantra: Be the dandelion. Be strong, be tough, show up in places you’re not supposed to, grow on rocky soil, turn your face to the sun. But be flexible. Let the sweet, salty wind that is your kids’ breath blow you.
But don’t let it break you.
Be extraordinary, not ordinary. Be edgy. Oh, and have fun.