Parenting, Sentimientos

It’s Not A Competition

One of the things I frequently do to speed up the kids is make a simple task into a game.

Who can put away their things from school the fastest? Who can get all their winter gear on first? Who will be the first to get ready for bed?

Sometimes it works and other times someone gets distracted and leaves a backpack strewn on the floor, como salero, as my mom would say.

And still other times the kids object and remind me, “It’s not a competition!”

That little phrase comes to mind frequently. On the playground or school hallways it makes sense. Teachers don’t want kids tripping over themselves or fighting.

To me it’s a good reminder that I’m on my own path. So are my kids. It’s okay if my comadre’s daughter is reading well beyond grade level and my child is still learning sight words. It’s okay if my younger brother bought a home before I did. And it’s okay if a good friend gets a well-deserved promotion. Their success and talents have nothing to do with my own efforts.

Still, saying “it’s not a competition” – and believing it – hasn’t come easy. In graduate school I struggled with this. I always said my congratulations when a friend achieved an important milestone, but I didn’t feel very congratulatory. At the same time they were ticking off their goals I was struggling with motivation. I was unsure if it was the right path for me. As I saw their announcements it felt like others were finishing the race and leaving me behind.

Then I started running. I came to understand races differently. Of course there was a winner, but most of the people in the race had different goals. We wanted to finish, PR, negative split, avoid injury, take fun race photos, or just enjoy the process.

These days I still struggle with feeling like I’m behind. I talk about it with my therapist and we work on it by focusing on my strengths, accomplishments, and resources. I also remind myself that I have amazing family and friends who will support me when and if I want to work on a goal.

It’s not a competition, but that doesn’t mean I’m not moving forward and meeting my own goals on my own time.

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Parenting

If You’re Bored, You Can Clean

As the kids get older, I find myself sounding more and more like my parents. Thing I have said or wanted to say:

If you’re bored, you can clean.
I learned quickly as a kid that if I said I was bored, one of my parents would respond with “hay está la escoba, ponte a barrer”. It used to frustrate me, but now I get it. I didn’t have nearly the same amount of toys, books and other entertainment options as my kids — so many streaming options! But still, it must’ve been frustrating for my tired parents to hear that after they’d been working all day int he home and outside the home.

Church is only about an hour a week.
Before the pandemic, we went to Mass most weeks. That stopped two years ago with the pandemic when everything moved online. With Lent beginning a few weeks ago, I wanted to incorporate that into our family routine once again. The kids have a lot of complaints. I find myself using the same approach my mom did when I was a kid by rationalizing that we spent about an hour in church out of a whole week.

No one is in here, why is the light on?
This bugs me and I’m constantly turning off lights around our home. I can hear my dad’s voice. I’m also the one who opens all the blinds and curtains to allow the most natural light. I’m like my mom in that way.

Either comb your hair or you’ll have to cut it.
This is the phrase that inspired this post. I overheard Archie whining as Sean detangled his hair and added leave-in conditioner. He’s never had a haircut and also prefers for it to be loose, which means lots of tangles and occasional surprises (see: coming home with a nasty bur trapped in his hair). That would be okay if he didn’t complain about washing, detangling, etc. When I was 6 or 7 my mom made me get a haircut because I no longer wanted her to put it into braids or pigtails.

Felt like my mom once again right now when I just told one of the kids, “if I go and look and find your Batman, then I’m keeping it!”

— cindy mosqueda (@cindylu) December 23, 2021

If I go in there and find ___________, then I’m keeping it.
I’ve heard from friends with teens that the constantly losing things and not being able to find them phase continues well after early childhood years.

I guess we have a ghost.
There are times when I notice something like a scribble on the wall. I’ll ask both kids but neither one will ‘fess up to it. They stay silent and shake their heads just like my own parents used to do when something similar happened. Many years later, I still don’t think any one ever admitted to breaking a glass figurine on my mom’s dresser.

You think I like spending Saturday morning cleaning?
Sometimes the kids grumble when it’s to clean up.

Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sana hoy, sanará mañana.
I still use this gem with the kids and offer arnica for bruises and bumps. I also use my mom’s “cure” for hiccups.

Te calmas o te calmo.
I have wanted to say this so many times, but usually stop myself. For me, it implies using some kind of corporal punishment and we decided to use other methods of discipline. Plus, neither kid is bilingual so it wouldn’t mean anything to them.

Hay comida en la casa.
Okay, I say this more to myself or Sean than the kids.

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