They are the words most likely to strike fear into my heart.
Without my husband.
I know. I must be losing it, right?
But when my BFF (love you, girlie!) got a hotel in Daytona for a week and invited us to spend a day hanging out at the beach, I said yes. Because I love my best friend. Not because I love the beach.
The night before the Big Day, I actually found myself kinda dreading it.
I’m a “Type-A Mom”
I’ve realized a lot about myself in my almost 34 years of life.
One is that–while my personality lies somewhere in between “go-getter” and “go with the flow,” when it comes to parenting, I’m a Type-A Mom. I overthink. I research. I prepare.
I am the all-seeing eye.
So, rather than visions of sugar plums and crashing waves dancing through my head the night before our beach trip, my thoughts took a different turn.
Chasing my daughter down every time she bolts for the waves.
Dragging everything up to the hotel room and out to the beach.
IT’S GONNA BE SO HOT.
What am I gonna do about naptime?
What am I gonna do about dinner?
Did I mention how HOT Florida is in July?
After a few minutes of this, I had a lightbulb moment: I was totally Type-A-ing (I just coined a word!) myself into misery. Right then and there–yup, in the dark, cuddled under my blankie–I made a decision to be a Type-B Mom.
For a whole day.
What did “being a Type-B Mom” look like?
In order to make it all the way through the day without a mental breakdown, I knew I had to being a little Type-A in the morning. I prepped by getting myself dressed and ready before Baby Bear woke up, even finding time to pack things up and make her a PB&J for lunch.
But once we were ready, I forced (and I do mean forced) myself to just…chill.
We chatted over grapes in her play kitchen area without checking the time every 4 minutes.
We danced to “You’re Welcome” in the car without screaming about traffic.
Dang it I forgot the PB&J in the fridge! Nope, don’t go there. I’m Zen Mom today, remember? She’ll just have to eat a turkey sandwich instead.
We splashed in the waves. She learned it is super fun when mom holds you in the air and you can kick the ocean with both feet. We dug in the sand because mommy was exhausted.
No, we’re still digging in the sand do not run toward the ocean without me!
We splashed in the waves again.
We are digging now, honey, Mommy is tired.
We ran through the tide pools (see, you can still splash!) and dribbled mud on ourselves.
We splashed in the waves. Again. Type-A Mom would have been halfway home by now.
At lunchtime, she spit turkey sandwich on the ground no less than four times and ate mostly trail mix and potato chips and I only yelled at her once. See? Zen.
We chatted with a lovely girl named Elena in the pool about Moana, underwater handstands, and the fact that my daughter has hands and fingers. (Baby Bear was really excited to announce this.)
We left at the time my daughter usually wakes up from her nap. She slept the whole way home and I was really glad I didn’t bother to bring the Pack n’ Play.
I wanted to start the laundry and take a shower right away but no, Type-B Mom stops when she is tired. She makes a pot of tea and puts on Moana. We danced to “You’re Welcome.” Again.
I had my husband pick up Chick-Fil-A for dinner and didn’t worry about the nutritional value. It’s the Lord’s chicken, so it’s fine.
Bear got a bath from her dad so I could relax and finally take my shower.
All in all, it was a really great day.
What I Learned
For starters, I learned that it can be hard to go against every natural instinct you have.
If I hadn’t have made the conscious decision to be a Type B mom for the whole day, I don’t think I would have been able to do it. But you know what?
It was kinda easier than I thought…for that day, at least.
I’ve also since learned that I can’t be a Type B mom every day. It would lead to disaster.
I need to be hyper-vigilant about where my daughter is and what type of trouble she can get into. When I don’t, I lose her in a mall for
three weeks six minutes or she breaks something in a Joann Fabrics.
I need to plan ahead and pack lunches. When I don’t, I end up overpaying for food she doesn’t eat.
And I can’t let up on my discipline methods for a second. When I do, she senses that weakness like a Siberian wolf and everything falls apart.
Going forward, I honestly don’t expect to change my parenting approach. After all, I had to make a conscious choice every minute just to get through the day.
“Type A Mom” is just who I am.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t days when Type B Mom needs to make a comeback. Theme part trips. PMS days. We have a family vacation coming up in a few months. I have a feeling I’ll have to pack Zen Mom in the suitcase.