11/5/19 - Take the W
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
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Things I learned in high school: it only counts if you don’t take credit - just wait around! Someone will DEFINITELY give it to you!
Hi! This is Coach Sarah, and this is the Morning Mantra!
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Hi, my name is Sarah Axelrod. I'm a run coach and a lover of poetry, and a person who cares about your well-being. You don't have to be an athlete to be #coachedandloved, and if you need an anchor to hold onto as you move through a tough situation, you've come to the right place.
Today’s mantra is - take the W.
In preparation for an almost-7-hour flight with my 4-year-old, I bought a pair of pink kid headphones and I downloaded Frozen onto the tablet. I was as thrilled as she was when we boarded the plane and I announced that she could watch Frozen even though it was her bedtime. It felt like one of my greatest parenting triumphs to date. Hashtag, screen time!
You know what else? I got her a Frozen backpack, which is something she’s asked for, oh, about 50 times in the past year.
“I’ve sold out,” I texted my friends on the way out of Target, only slightly joking. “Totally cheating.”
Am I totally cheating? What is cheating exactly? I believe i have stopped somewhere short of injecting EPO directly into my veins, and yet somehow I feel guilty about buying my child a totally affordable thing that I know she will love (and she did love it, and I believe it may have even made her behave better a time or two).
I am tired of parenting always having to be hard for the sake of being hard. If I’m not doing it the hardest possible way, then am I really doing it? Mommy Internet doles out a lot of shame for buying our kids the things we want, letting them have *gasp* junk food and *shocking* screen time and getting them toys they don’t strictly *need*. The mom of the internet meme is always giving in to things she doesn’t want to give in to, and often drinking wine while doing so. Why, again, do we #momsohard we apparently lose control? Why do we feel tempted to ridicule ourselves for this?
A little while ago I read a piece by Tracy Clark-Flory on Jezebel, a review of the book #IMOMSOHARD. She takes a step back and examines the sad incompetent and always harassed mom schtick, and she points out in a very clarifying way that this mom culture that has seeped into our pores “thoroughly fails to engage, even lightly, with the ideologies and inequalities that turn moms into martyred, wine-swilling jokes.”
It seems harmless to continue to poke fun at the caricature of the desperate and sexless and yet eternally overachieving mom figure, but I worry about perpetuating it at the expense of pushing back against it. And even I - and what do I do except reflect on my thoughts and feelings? - find myself thoughtlessly making fun of myself for getting my kid the backpack I know she wants and letting her watch movies for a whole plane ride. Calling myself a weak-willed sellout, believing even just for a moment that it would somehow be better to demand that a four-year-old be quiet and pleasant for the entirety of a 7-hour flight just because skipping the headphone aisle supposedly confers some sense of superiority?
All my life I have hated wanting things, because when I was a kid I was ashamed of wanting things and HATED asking for things. But acting like wanting things is shameful is NOT the way to make yourself want them less. One of the things i want is better for my kid.
Maybe that’s why I love getting her hot chocolate when we go to the coffee shop and watching her face light up when she drinks it. I love letting her choose the things she wants whenever it is possible to do so, even if the thing she wants is wearing the same freaking dress every day (the dress which is actually a nightgown, which other parents at times think I should be ashamed of letting her wear to school). She is FOUR, and she does a lot of things on other people’s terms, as so many little kids do. Not only am I not lesser for giving her the things she wants sometimes, but she is not lesser for wanting them, either.
“Take the easy parts of parenting,” one of my closest friends and knowers of my daughter texted me in response to my self-deprecation over the backpack. “They are not that many.”
So, the mantra. Easy wins are not just great, they are smart. Nothing SHOULD ever be a purity contest and there are no medals for doing everything in the hardest way. Accepting those wins when they come is glorious. When someone says “great job” and you start to say “actually…” hear MY voice in the back of your head saying TAKE THE W! I don’t care how easy it was - it is no less yours.
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You are Coached. You are Loooved, and you ARE winning at life. And if you need MOAR reasons to believe that, follow @morningmantrapod on Instagram.