I've mentioned that I have style role models. They are Amanda Peet, Selma Blair, Franka Potente, and Maggy Gyllenhaall.
They are all close to my age and I think they're cool. But I probably wouldn't take parenting advice from them. Movie stars tend to be a little, oh what's the word, shallow. But these ladies are going to usher me into middle age impeccably--just you watch.
What follows is an annotated list of parenting role models and the good bits of Momness I've picked up from them. It's yours--I give it freely.
Harry and Barbara Terrill: Barbara was the first real friend I made as a mom. After we had Sam we moved to Tampa for 6 months of training for Price Waterhouse. I was housebound with no friends and a huge box of books and notes for the Master's Thesis I hadn't written yet. This was before blogs. It was depressing. Looking back I see now that I was depressed. If you just had a baby you probably are too even if you don't know it. So take it easy. After Tampa we moved to California where I met Barbara. She was encouraging and interesting and upbeat and wise. Her daughters babysat for me while I finished my thesis. Harry was our bishop and he was hard-working, smart, literary and a democrat with 6 kids. Barbara taught me how to be and have friends as a mom. Turns out, all it takes is a cordless phone.
Barbara shared some of Harry's insights on parenting with me and the thing I remember most from him is that fear is the opposite of faith. There's so much to worry about as a parent like crib death and obesity and sun damage and money and vitamins. It can be debilitating. It's hard to let go of the worry. In fact, at times the worry itself is what we think makes us good parents. Now, I'm not saying to be a big dummy about stuff but parent with faith instead of fear. Bad stuff might still happen. But being afraid doesn't help. All the Terrills are awesome and like each other. I hope my kids do too, although it's not looking so good right now. Eliza Terrill turned me on to blogging. Pheobe, Bonnie, and Hannah all blog as well. I bought the same car Bonnie has. I'm highly suggestible.
Mark and Julie Magleby: These guys were and are pretty formative in my momness. Julie's wise council to prepare the child for the path since you can't prepare the path for the child has helped me almost as much as her advice to buy candy for General Conference. Do both of these things and you're pretty much set. Mark is probably the best dad I know. When you are punishing your adorable little 2 year old for not making their bed think of Mark's advice to make "deposits" in your children's "accounts" as often as you can because when they are older you are going to have to start making some serious "withdrawals." You don't have to be the most permissive parent in the world but it really is harder to spoil them than you think.
Kelly Erickson: My neighbor, Kelly, told me a couple years ago that it is important to persuade your kids to do good--entice them to do good. When kids get bigger you can't pick them up and put them where you want them and sometimes it's hard to get them to do stuff. It's easy to think, well, they have a right to choose. It's free agency. Of course that is true but since we know that bad choices are often made to look enticing we must be there to talk them into doing good things. I studied Rhetoric in graduate school so I am very interested in the art of persuasion. Sometimes it's bad and manipulative but there are also good things which we can talk people into doing for good and right reasons. There's nothing wrong with it. It is the ultimate in parenting, I think. You know what they say, "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." I think we'll have butter and honey tonight for dinner, in fact. Kelly also coined the phrase, "Head, bed, dressed, no mess" to summarize her rules for showing up at the breakfast table.
Carly Paul: Honor quirks and pick your battles. I like Carly's kids. She'll be raising mine if I die. She's got pizazz.
Lisa Clark: Lisa has taught me that when it comes to mothering and housekeeping you just have to do it. There's really no way around it. You can have systems and motivation and all that but you still have to get up with kids at night and do dishes during the day. She looks cute every day, keeps a nice house, raises 5 likable kids, does PTA, runs marathons, stars in commercials, and babysits other people's kids--all with little fanfare because she makes it seem effortless. Well, it's not. Her life is her lesson.
My Mom: My mom was and is great. She worked full time for a dentist when we needed braces, worked full time at BYU when we needed college, and also made a roast every Sunday, sewed Easter dresses, made Christmas a huge deal, did every church calling 100%, never criticized me about what I wore or ate, built me a sandbox, had a business license and went to craft shows, made rocking chairs out of pvc pipe, took care of her parents when they got old, taught me to ride a horse, laughed at my jokes, bought us all Def Leppard t-shirts, sang out-loud duets with Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond, was in love with Tom Jones, still leaves Valentines on my front porch, buried all my dogs, wallpapered over concrete walls (twice) in my bedroom, drove a 20-foot Ryder truck to LA, mailed me an exer-saucer, dug post holes for my fence, and makes really good fudge. I hope I don't have to do all that to be a good mom because I'm much lazier than she is. We all have things we are working on.
Just a little more Momness for you--we're all in this together so feel free to share your own bits of momness.